Victories for common sense
The recent European Court of Human Rights ruling on religious “discrimination” cases was just one of several significant victories. The Daily Mail, among others, reported that BA staff member Nadia Eweida had won her right to wear a crucifix to work, despite the fact that BA had already changed its uniform policy, but made less of the fact that the three other litigants, Chaplin, Ladele and McFarlane, were unsuccessful in claiming that UK courts had discriminated against them on religious grounds.
The Home Secretary Theresa May has agreed to accept a House of Lords amendment removing the word “insulting ” from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Section 5 has a low prosecution threshold and there have been prosecutions for ridiculously trivial remarks made in public, such as when a student was arrested for telling a mounted policeman that his horse was gay.
In Scotland, a Catholic adoption agency has been told by the Charity Regulator that if it doesn’t lift its ban on applications from gay couples it will lose its charitable status, because it is discriminating against them.
The British Humanist Association (BHA) has won its case against the Department for Education (DfE) over its refusal to publish a list of all groups proposing to establish Free Schools. The BHA is concerned that religious organisations, some with very strange ideas, are hoping to exploit Education Secretary Michael Gove’s enthusiasm for free schools to gain access to state funds for faith schools, contrary to the DfE’s guidelines.