David Cameron has badly let down his fellow Christians
The PM promised to make it possible for people to wear a cross at work – but he has done nothing
WHAT do David Cameron's government and Count Dracula have in common? They both hate people displaying the Christian cross. Let's hope they don't share any other nasty habits. If you don't believe me, read on.
Mrs Nadia Eweida was suspended from her job with British Airways in 2009 for wearing the cross on duty – despite the fact that other religions are allowed to wear religious paraphernalia while working at BA.
In 2010, Shirley Chaplin, a 56-year-old nurse with a lifetime of service on the wards, was moved to a desk job by the NHS in Exeter for the same reason. They believe this to be unfair and discriminatory and have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg.
That loyal and devout subjects of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, By the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith, should have to appeal to such a court at all is in itself an insult. But no further remedies were available from a militantly anti-Christian English judiciary that consistently found against both women. The Supreme Court even refused to hear Mrs Eweida's case.
In front of the ECHR on Wednesday, James Eadie, QC, First Treasury Counsel - the top barrister who handles the government's most important business in the courts - argued that Christians in England and Wales do not have the right to wear the cross at work. The colloquial term for his plum and well-paid job is appropriately the ‘Treasury Devil'.
Eadie's argument went like this: prohibiting both individuals from wearing a visible cross "did not prevent either of them practising religion in private" and Christians "under difficulty" from the ban were not discriminated against if they had the choice of "resigning and moving to a different job".
He added that the wearing of a cross was not a "scriptural requirement" or a "generally recognised" act of worship such as wearing the Muslim headscarf or Sikh turban and employers were therefore exempt from a legal obligation to accommodate the practice.
Eadie's arguments are a masterclass in the politically correct modern legal mind – he got the job in 2009 under Labour. The discriminatory malice towards Christianity, dressed up as legal reasoning, is breathtaking. The bullying tone of the government's case is shameful and the ignorance astonishing. If the wearing of a cross is not "a generally recognised" act of Christian worship, I'm a Dutchman.
Needless to say Eadie's fat fee for spouting this drivel is paid by the hard-pressed taxpayer. I don't suppose he is staying in a budget B&B in Strasbourg either. Mrs Eweida and Mrs Chaplin's legal fees are being paid by a Christian charity.
Apparently, the prime minister disapproves. At Easter this year, he told church leaders at a Downing Street reception that the nation needed Christian values and that he supported those who wanted to wear a cross:
"I think we see the fight-back in this very strong stance that I've taken and others have taken in terms of the right to wear a crucifix. I think this is important. People should be able to express their faith…"
He also told the House of Commons in July that the right to wear the cross was an "absolute freedom" and promised to amend legislation to "make clear that people can wear religious symbols at work."
But he has done nothing. One email to the Attorney General's office could have called off this legal madness.
There are millions of people in this country who believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and millions more, probably, who can't quite believe but try to lead their lives according to Christian principles. I wonder how many intend to vote for David Cameron at the next election.
As Adlai Stevenson once said of President Nixon, "He is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation."