No place for ex­cuses

The Church of England - - ENGLAND ON SUNDAY -

It’s not like the Daily Mail to find good things to say about the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights. And the pa­per man­aged not to, while prais­ing its de­ci­sion to al­low Chris­tian crosses to be worn openly at work. “Ev­ery once in a while, even the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights makes a just de­ci­sion,” con­ceded the Mail leader writer grudg­ingly, be­fore re­peat­ing a fa­mil­iar mantra: “Of course, this is not to say that the un­ac­count­able for­eign judges of Stras­bourg have any busi­ness dic­tat­ing the laws of the UK.”

The Mail was as pleased as the rest of Fleet Street that the ECHR had up­held the right of Bri­tish Air­ways check-in worker Na­dia Eweida, 60, from Twick­en­ham, south-west Lon­don, to wear her cross. The Daily Mir­ror, mean­while, won­dered why “David Cameron and other Cab­i­net min­is­ters were so quick to con­grat­u­late the Court on its rul­ing when the Government had spent a for­tune on lawyers to con­test the case.”

Miss Eweida, a Cop­tic Chris­tian, was sent home in Septem­ber 2006 for dis­play­ing a sil­ver cross on a chain round her neck. A tri­bunal found against her when she claimed re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion and that de­ci­sion was up­held by the Court of Ap­peal and the Supreme Court. The ECHR over­turned that, r uling BA had in­ter­fered with her right to ex­press her re­li­gion. Bri­tish Air­ways has since changed its uni­form pol­icy on jew­ellery.

“The irony here is that this tabloid hero has found vin­di­ca­tion in the tabloid bo­gey­man of the Euro­pean court,” ob­served The Guardian. “Let us hope this does not go un­no­ticed. Balancing re­li­gious and other rights is hor­ri­ble work, which some­body’s got to do. Stras­bourg re­minded us that it does it as well as any­one else.”

But The Guardian was wrong to think this might be enough to pla­cate the Mail. The Mail was not so happy at the ECHR rul­ing that a de­ci­sion by the Royal Devon and

Faith is the art of hold­ing on to things your rea­son has once ac­cepted in spite of your chang­ing moods.

CS Lewis Ur­ban Myths The story is told about the bap­tism of King Aen­gus by St Pa­trick in the mid­dle of the fifth cen­tury.

Some­time dur­ing the rite, St Pa­trick leaned on his sharp-pointed staff and in­ad­ver­tently stabbed the king’s foot.

Af­ter the bap­tism was over, St. Pa­trick looked down at all the blood, re­al­ized what he had done, and begged the king’s for­give­ness. Why did you suf­fer this pain in si­lence, the Saint wanted to know.

The king replied, “I thought it was part of the rit­ual.”

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