Monday, October 16, 2006

BA Worker Sent Home For Refusing to Hide Cross

Given all of the reports that I receive daily of Christians being arrested, beaten and even killed for their faith, it is easy to overlook a story like the one that can in over the weekend of a British Airways worker who was sent home for refusing to conceal a small Christian cross while on duty. Nadia Eweida, 55, has told to either remove or hide the small cross which she wears around her neck. When she refused, she was told to go home for (according to a letter given to her) failing "to comply with a reasonable request."

On Saturday, Eweida told the Daily Mail that she has decided to sue her employer for religious discrimination after having been suspended without pay for three weeks. Eweida has been a British Airways employee for seven years and works at the BA check-in counter at London's Heathrow Airport. "I will not hide my belief in the Lord Jesus. British Airways permits Muslims to wear a headscarf, Sikhs to wear a turban and other faiths religious apparel," Eweida told the paper. "Only Christians are forbidden to express their faith."

As someone who often flies with British Airways, this news concerns me, of course. Apparently, it is causing quite a row across the pond, as well, if the online versions of the British papers are to be believed. Apparently, nearly 400 BA staff members signed a petition in support of Eweida. Even some British politicians are calling the actions of BA "loopy" and pandering to policial correctness.

I must agree. This is just plain silly, on BA's part. Who gets offended by someone wearing a cross, for Pete's sake? The only people that I can think of are other Christians who have convictions about the appropriateness of crucifixes and crosses. But even they are unlikely to go into a mouth foaming fury at the sight of a small cross around the neck of a check-in counter worker in a public airport.

I suspect that BA is going to back down from this, given the public fury. I hope so. There are already some Christians in the UK who are urging a boycott of the airline because of this incident and the BA policy against employees wearing religious symbols publicly. As a loyal BA customer, I have mixed feelings about that. I do believe that the uniform policy of the airline is a silly, paranoid one. As such, I do not believe that the policy is specifically geared towards Christians, although Christians are likely to be the ones most effected by it. Neither am I convinced that this is a hill worth dying on. I do wish Eweida success. Silly policies should be challenged and protested against, just as this one is. But nor should they be over-reacted to by the Christian public as evidence that persecution were now on the verge of raging through the streets of London. This policy is evidence of the response of society to the fear of religious offense; either pander to the minority at the expense of the majority or secularize everything. BA is trying to the last, albeit poorly. It is something they need not do at all. Why can't religion have a part in normal life, especially when it really isn't bothering anyone anyway?


Nick said...

Thanks for posting this story, Glenn.

As I listened to the report here on my local news (Australia) I cringed to hear the BA employee's defence - that it should be like a mulsim woman's right to wear hijab.

We had a similar case here a few weeks ago, with a teenage schoolgirl suspended for wearing a cross.


Why did I cringe? Well, when did things change, that Christians started to appeal to Islam to define & defend their rights?.

When did we forget that it was the salt and light of the gospel that led us out of the dark ages, and gave us human rights, freedom, democracy, "...praising God & having favour with all the people." (Acts 2:47)

The Israelites sinned by making a golden calf and declaring that it was the god that saved them from Egypt. (Exodus 32:4) I don't think I'm pushing the parallel application far to suggest that if we allow Islam to become the defender of our rights and faith, we might fall to the same judgement as the Israelites that day.

Let us not deny our God by accepting the 'peace' offered by self-imposed dhimmitude to the golden calf of Islam.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure I would agree that this is a capitulation to Islam an "appeal to Islam to define and defend their rights." I read this as someone asking for equality. If Muslims can wear a hijab, why can't Christians wear a cross?

I must admit, though, that this is a change from the way things were in years gone by. In the past, Muslims and others had to appeal for equality. Now Christians have to do the same, asking to at least have the same rights.