Landmark Rulings Mixed Blessing for UK Christians

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LONDON -- Landmark rulings on the cases of four Christian workers were decided Tuesday in The European Court of Human Rights, setting an historic precedent for religious freedom.

The court has ruled that the United Kingdom had failed to protect the freedom of a British Airways worker to wear her cross to work.

But they rejected the case of Christian nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was refused the right to wear her cross for health and safety reasons.

Is similar persecution coming to North America? Greg Musselman, with Voice of the Martyrs Canada, talks about this and much more, on Christian World News, Jan. 18.

Following the rulings, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "delighted" that the "principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld," adding that people "shouldn't suffer discrimination due to religious beliefs."

However, Chaplin, whose case was supported by the Christian Legal Centre, said she's very disappointed that her religious principles hadn't been upheld.

Despite her case being rejected Chaplin said she was encouraged by the court's decision to acknowledge that the cross is a Christian symbol.

Two other cases of Christian workers were rejected by the European Court of Human Rights, including that of relationship counselor Gary McFarlane. He was sacked for saying he might not be comfortable giving sex counseling to homosexual couples. 

McFarlane, who is also being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, said he's not disappointed by Tuesday's decision.

Meanwhile, the Christian Legal Centre's Andrea Williams said they won't give up on these cases.

As the legal group continues to fight for the rights of Christians to express their beliefs in the workplace, many believers remain deeply concerned that the European Court's ruling means these freedoms continue to hang in the balance.

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Peter Wooding

CBN News United Kingdom Correspondent

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