BHA: Government right to challenge case that ‘upholds a confected and false narrative of Christian persecution’

Responding to reports of an intervention by the government into a case before the European Court of Human Right (ECHR), the British Humanist Association (BHA) has said that ‘the government is correct to uphold principles of equality in response to a case being used to uphold a confected and false narrative of Christian persecution’.

The government intervention will reportedly be made in the joint case of Nadia Eweida, who has repeatedly lost her claims of religious discrimination against her employer British Airways, and of Shirley Chaplin, who claimed that a uniform code violated her human rights as a Christian

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said ‘It is important to be clear that UK courts have not found discrimination in both these instances. British Airways consulted their workforce and adapted their uniform policy to accommodate the wearing of crosses, and the NHS hospital that employed Ms Chaplin gave her permission to wear a the symbol of a cross, but not on a chain around her neck because of safety concerns related to nursing.

Mr Copson continued, ‘Where reasonable accommodation can be made for religious practices and symbols without affecting the rights and freedoms of others, it can take place. However, religious practices should not be used as an argument by individuals to ride roughshod over justified rules that apply to everyone equally.

‘There are debates to be had over the role of states and courts in defining what constitutes religious practice, however, this case is not legitimate example of these concerns. It is disappointing to see politicised religious lobby groups yet again using misleading and provocative arguments whenever the role of religion in public life is discussed.’


For further comment or information contact BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson on 07534 258596 or at

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief————–