The Christian’s right to wear a cross must be defended as fiercely as any other religious liberty
… I favour a … approach that is based on human rights and resonates well with a society such as Britain’s. Here the struggle for religious freedom has been strongly connected with the struggle for democracy itself.
I believe that human beings are creatures of both faith and logic, emotion and reason and it is as well that the law reflects this. It may be true that religion has caused much war and prejudice but it has also inspired much art, music and compassion. And it is also true that scientists and engineers have produced some of the greatest advances in human history, but also some of the stuff of nightmares.
If we really believe in freedom of thought, conscience and religion, this must include the right to the faith or belief of one’s choice, the right to no faith and to be a heretic. Proportionate limits on this precious liberty don’t arise because a minority causes irritation or even offence. We interfere when someone is harming others, or in the workplace when, for instance, their faith or clothing prevents them doing their job.
The public seem to agree. A Liberty-ComRes poll published today shows that 86 per cent of British Christians polled disagreed with BA’s treatment of Ms Eweida and 80 per cent agreed that her case sets a dangerous precedent. Even more encouragingly, 96 per cent think that everybody should have freedom of thought, conscience and religion as long as they do not harm others; 85 per cent say that regardless of your faith, the law should protect the right to wear its symbols as long as they do not harm others.