The following post is an update on the story of four Christians who took their discrimination cases to the European court of human rights. I first blogged about it back in September last year. For background on the story, read the original news story of which I wrote. I promised to blog again once the verdict had been announced, so here goes…
The verdict of the judges was that they only found in favour of one of the cases, and for me it was somewhat odd. Two of the stories, regarding wearing crosses, were similar. Why find in favour of one, and not the other? My reasoning for not taking these cases that seriously, is that for me, wearing a cross is not a central part of how I choose to express my faith, and that’s just it, it isn’t a requirement it’s personal choice and can therefore be removed if necessary. I have other reasons for thinking this way, which you can read previous post.
As for the other two cases, I have just finished reading a press release from The Evangelical Alliance in which they chose to concentrate on their reaction to, what for them was the most significant case, that of Lilian Leasdale, a registrar who asked not to officiate at st her case same-sex ceremonies as it went against her beliefs. I believe I judged her case too harshly at the time, and in large part agree with what the Evangelical Alliance said, in terms of the courts needing to understand better what 24:7 lived out Christian faith looks like and how it interacts with society. However, this too is different for every individual, and to my mind is therefore a minefield for the courts. Relying on what they think Christian faith looks like or should look like however, isn’t good enough, a balance needs to be found.
The Evangelical Alliance also acknowledge the difficulty of judging in such cases in a way that does not prejudice either side. I get all of that, but still feel this will give those who support the judges ruling more opportunity to speak against the position of the likes of the Evangelical Alliance, potentially doing more harm than good, as was my opinion at the time. I am unsure what the way forward is for those, including myself whose faith permeates every aspect of their lives, or should do, at least. How do we honour, and hold to what we believe, obeying God’s word, the Bible, and God himself, while being careful not to antagonise others unnecessarily or to sound as though the needle on the record is stuck? Reaching out in love would certainly be a start. I will certainly be praying for the four Christians whose cases were decided today, that they will clearly know what do next, and react in a way that brings the honour and the glory to God, which is what the Church, God’s people, should be doing anyway.