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Government under fire from former Archbishop of Canterbury

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The Government has been heavily criticised by Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, over its decision not to back four British Christians who have taken their cases to the European Court of Human Rights.

Lord Carey had appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron, asking him to support the four Christians who were ruled against by British Courts. Among these were Shirley Chaplin and Gary McFarlane, whose cases were handled by the Christian Legal Centre.

Two of the four cases relate to the freedom of Christians to wear a cross in the workplace and two concern instances where the freedom of Christians to act in accordance with their conscience has been trumped by homosexual rights.

The Government has stood by the British courts and argued that these Christian individuals have not been discriminated against.

It further argued, in a 40 page document drafted by the Foreign Office, that neither the wearing of a cross nor the following of conscience are an integral part of the Christian faith.

Lord Carey responded: “I am very disappointed for the individuals concerned who have simply followed their conscience. 

“Such is the result of a liberal establishment that has become deeply illiberal.” 

The treatment of Christians in Britain is receiving an increasing amount of attention. The Government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has told the European Court that it supports the appeals of Shirley Chaplin and Nadia Eweida, the two Christians who faced disciplinary action for wearing a cross at work.

The Commission also initially backed the other two individuals, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele, but later withdrew its support after internal disagreements resulted in a U-turn.

Tory MP Gary Streeter is currently leading a cross-party group of parliamentarians who are conducting an inquiry into discrimination against Christians. It is a massive opportunity for MP's to challenge the Government to acknowledge Christian conscience in the public square.

The decision by the European Court will have huge consequences for the freedom of Christians in the UK and Europe to publically manifest their beliefs. Christian lawyers say that these freedoms should be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said:

“Sharing faith in the public square goes to the centre, the heart, of a Christian’s life and belief – it’s who they are. 

“The Government’s interpretation is not backed by the overwhelming majority of people who want to live in a country where people are free to disagree.”


Daily Mail


Christian Concern: Religious Freedom