I saw it at World Net Daily but This is Local London has a full story that presents facts with less bias. Nadia Eweida made headlines back in 2006 for refusing to remove or hide her cross necklace while working as a baggage clerk at British Airways. She was home without pay for a good long while and is now appealing a tribunal decision. Her argument seems to be of the “it’s not fair!!WHAA!” variety where they point to hijabs and items from other faiths to demonstrate what must so obviously be discrimination. From Local London’s article:
Human rights organisation Liberty have supported Miss Eweida and will represent her at the hearing, being held at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Twickenham MP Vince Cable and senior MPs David Davis and John Reid are expected to turn up and offer their support.
Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty, said: “This woman’s cross was as important to her as a turban or hijab to other people in our country.
Okay, but here’s the thing. Turbans and hijabs are built into the rules of those faiths. They must be worn. WND brings up Sikh bracelets which do sound like jewelry until you read about why the band, called a kara, must be worn:
The kara is a steel or iron bangle worn on the wrist and is one of five kakar, the articles of faith required to be worn by the Amritdhari Sikh, a Sikh who has been initiated into the order of Khalsa.
* The kara is a bracelet made of pure steel or iron.
* The kara is to be worn on the body by the Amritdhari at all times.
Crosses are optional. Crosses have always been optional. Seeing people wearing crosses might be as common as finding no toilet paper in public restrooms but it is by no means a rule or law that they must. (It just feels that way when you scramble for something..anything…not even a tissue? Crap…)
WND quotes Ingrid Simler, the airline’s legal counselor:
“Ms. Eweida reflects her religious belief in a way similar to the way people wear symbols for … gay rights – that it reflects their core beliefs but it has nothing to do with religion.”
It’s religiously inspired, but not religiously required. From a Telegraph blog byGeorge Pitcher, an Anglican priest (breaks and bolding added):
Since other news today tells us that a full 96.6 per cent of Britain’s 3.6 million regular churchgoers “look forward” to a sermon, I have a very quick, three-point sermon to make:
1) BA’s uniform policy was bloody silly in the first place and it subsequently revised it so that cross necklaces could be worn. Ms Eweida served a very useful purpose in making that happen.
2) Of course we should be allowed to wear crosses around our necks. But we should distinguish between cultural requirement and the vanity of jewellery. Schools have got into trouble supposedly for banning crucifixes, when in reality they have simply said that jewellery isn’t allowed.
3) Can anyone tell me that BA didn’t have bigger priorities at Heathrow Terminal 5 in 2006 than what a member of staff was wearing on her necklace? “Hmm. Let me think. Our customer service is rubbish and we’re losing hundreds of millions of pounds a year. I know, let’s send Nadia home for wearing a cross.”
Oh, and actually there’s a fourth point: Ms Eweida is seeking £120,000 in damages and lost wages. So actually today’s day in court is about money. She should naturally have her wages, but if she’s after damages she’s rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. And, as it happens, I don’t think you wear a cross to make a fast buck.
Money and media attention – that’s all a modern martyr seems to need.