The European Court of Human Rights is hearing the cases of four British Christians who claim they were fired because of discrimination against their religious beliefs. You remember them. The two Christian women who insisted on wearing necklaces with a cross attached when their jobs required no jewelry. (Here’s a thing, which I hadn’t noticed before. Two women. Necklaces. This doesn’t come up with men. So in fact…it really is a matter of jewelry, not religious belief. It’s a matter of Gender Custom that women can wear necklaces and men can’t, so somehow it becomes a “religious obligation” for women to wear a necklace with a cross attached, while that’s not a “religious obligation” for men. That doesn’t make any sense. You might as well say it’s a “religious obligation” for women to wear four-inch heels with a cross stiched into the left one.) The relationship counsellor who said he had a conscientious objection to giving sex therapy advice to gay couples. The registrar who refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.
[A] lawyer for the government, James Eadie, said employees’ rights have to be limited in order to protect the rights of others.
He said: “These four linked cases at their core raise questions about the rights, and the limits to the rights, of employees to force their employers to alter employment conditions, so as to accommodate the employees’ religious practices.
“My submission will be that the court’s jurisprudence is clear and consistent, it is to this effect the convention protects individuals’ rights to manifest their religion outside their professional sphere.
“However, that does not mean that in the context of his or her employment an individual can insist on being able to manifest their beliefs in any way they choose. Other rights, other interests are in play and are to be respected.”
It seems bizarre that all four are being heard as one case, when the first two seem both so different from and so much less important than the second two. First two: dangly jewelry is prohibited for good reasons, find some other way to wear a cross. Second two: if you don’t want to do your job, then find another job. Amateur judging, at your service.