Today (Tues 15th) at 9am GMT the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will announce its judgement on four applications that UK law has failed to adequately protect the applicants’ right to manifest their religion, contrary to Articles 9 (freedom of religion) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
The National Secular Society and Equality and Human Rights Commission have both filed intervening submissions under Rule 44 §3.
Christian Concern made this comment in an email yesterday:
“These are landmark cases and we have waited a long time to get to this point. At stake is not only the future shape of Christian involvement in community life but the protection of important personal freedoms in a diverse society.”
In fact, these cases are viewed as so important even the Russian Orthodox Church has offered UK Christians moral support.
There’s one thing we can be assured of when this ruling is published, irrespective of the outcome. And that is there will be a flurry of ill-informed, polemic, alarmist headlines, and articles.
As with all things legal, it is often far more complex and nuanced than it first appears and that is why I won’t be personally attempting any analysis. I know my limitations and will await the experts in such matters.
I’m planning to create a list of links here on this post to opinion pieces and analysis. I know some bloggers have already begun formulating their posts and I will ensure they’re linked to here.
So perhaps bookmark this page and check back periodically over the next few days as the ruling is read, digested, blogged, and then linked to from here.
In the meantime, I’m out and about quite a bit today, so if you come across any good links on this matter, or if you write a piece yourself, let me know in the comments.
THE JUDGMENT HAS NOW BEEN PUBLISHED
CASE OF EWEIDA AND OTHERS v. THE UNITED KINGDOM
Ewedia (BA worker Christian Cross) wins, other three lose in European Court of Human Rights religious rights judgments hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/page…
— Adam Wagner (@AdamWagner1) January 15, 2013
Back in September I said:
The case that I have most sympathy with is Nadia Eweida, the British Airways employee who was asked to stop wearing a cross at work. To me, this may be the most clear-cut case of religious discrimination and that is because of a potential disparity between the treatment of Eweida and other employees of different faiths.
The argument in Eweida’s case is that if other faiths are permitted to wear religious paraphernalia, as they were at BA, and this does not constitute a health and safety risk, then it is wrong to discriminate against one particular expression of faith.
We have to remember that in Eweida’s case the tribunal used the argument that there was no religious discrimination as “Christians generally” do not consider wearing a cross as a religious “requirement”. We have to watch for judgements using this reasoning, as it is secular courts pontificating on theological necessities. Complex and fraught indeed.
Also individual rights and freedoms do not depend on how many people agree with your conscience or speech.
Analysis and opinion Links
We understand the two Christians seeking the right not to provide services to gay people are to appeal today’s ECHR decision against them.
— Secularism UK (@NatSecSoc) January 15, 2013
New piece on Ekklesia, written by Simon Barrow and comes complete with a quote from me!
Religion Law Blog (Barrister At Law – Neil Addison) - Eweida and Others – First Views
Religion Clause - European Court of Human Rights Vindicates Britain In 3 of 4 Cases Denying Accommodation of Christian Beliefs
Head of Legal - Strasbourg judgment: Eweida and others v UK
First Things - European Court’s Judgment in UK Religious Freedom Cases: A First Read
God and Politics - Letting employees wear a cross won’t destroy your business
Oxford Human Rights Hub - Religious Rights in the Balance: Eweida and Others v UK
Law and Lawyers - Eweida and others v UK ~ a look at what is being said?
Mrs Markleham - Eweida: what it all means
UK Constitutional Law Group – Ronan McCrea: Strasbourg Judgement in Eweida and Others v United Kingdom
A Range of Reasonable Responses – Eweida & Co: the Decision
Law and Religion UK - Chaplin, Eweida, Ladele and McFarlane: the judgment
Danny Webster - Legal right and religious wrongs