News: The Right to Offend is Crucial

Added Tuesday 11th September 2012

The cases of Christians being taken to the European Court of Human Rights are all, in their way, extremely curious. First, all four could have been amicably settled and so the prosecutions are aggressive: BA isn't that strict with its jewellery policy; a nurse could shorten her cross chain; a sex counsellor and a Registrar could multi task.

In the Eweida and Chaplin cases it needs to be established that the right to offend is not a crime but is crucial in a multi-cultural society exercising freedom of speech. Christians are a minority in our multi-cultural society and require the same protection as Muslims. In cases such as these I always ask: would that have happened to Muslims?

In the McFarlane and Ladele cases it is surely possible for job responsibilities to be juggled; it happens in the case of NHS objectors to abortion and you can bet your life it would happen to Muslim shelf stackers refusing to handle alcohol.

Multi culturalism has to find ways of conferring rights on gay couples but also retaining the rights of those who have serious problems with it; bullying conscientious objectors won't work any better than bullying victims.

Although Evangelicals can sometimes go overboard in litigation, on this occasion they deserved and got scant support from a Church of England which can't even encourage us to wear our crosses on the outside of our clothing. Will you?