Cameron urged to back nurse's crucifix fight
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey is urging the Government to back Christians involved in a landmark legal fight over alleged religious discrimination.
Lobby group Christian Concern said Lord Carey was among tens of thousands writing to David Cameron calling on him to support a Westcountry Christian nurse and a marriage counsellor who have taken a high profile religious discrimination case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Shirley Chaplin was moved to a paperwork role by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital after refusing to remove a necklace bearing a crucifix and Gary McFarlane, from Bristol, was sacked for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexuals. Their case has been joined by registrar Lilian Ladele who was disciplined after refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies and Nadia Eweida, a British Airways worker sent home for refusing to remove a necklace with a cross or hide it.
An employment tribunal ruled Ms Eweida had not suffered religious discrimination, but the airline changed its uniform policy after the case to allow all religious symbols, including crosses.
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In his submission to the European Court of Human Rights, Lord Carey said: “In a country where Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by state bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong.”
Christian Concern said the Government has until the end of the month to state its position in relation to the cases.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission said earlier this year it sought to intervene in the case and planned to argue existing human rights and equality law has been “insufficiently” interpreted by judges to protect freedom of religion or belief.