The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has described the decision not to allow a female hospital worker to wear a tiny cross at her neck as “bureaucratic silliness” but even more – it shows just how loony life in Britain has become.

Muslims may wear the niqab, Sikhs may wear the kirpan (a short bladed traditional dagger) but a Christian has been ordered by an employment tribunal not to wear the symbol of her faith.

I hold nothing whatsoever against religious minorities in the United Kingdom – indeed the contrary – but as a Christian citizen, I`m appalled. This decision is nothing less than madness, yet no one dares speak up for fear of being classified as either a religious bigot or a racist. Or both.

Management at the hospital concerned have suggested a compromise where the woman, 54 year old Mrs Shirley Chaplin would be allowed to pin her tiny cross to her uniform, or to wear it on a lanyard. What utter rubbish is that!

The Christian Legal Centre plans an appeal.
Praise the Lord!
Image: www.worldreligions.co.uk

About Travels with My Hat

Australian photojournalist and author. Used London as a base for nearly forty years while freelancing in the Middle East, Arabian peninsular, Africa and South Asia. Have written and illustrated more than a dozen books and travel guides. Operates a well regarded religious images stock photo library: www.worldreligions.co.uk. Live in Leura in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.
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  1. Jules says:

    Pretty bloody silly… it's only a matter of time before all religious apparel is declared unsuitable for public display. In Sydney, the Lakembaroos womens soccer team is allowed to wear the hijab, contrary to FIFA's regulation on no head gear.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A Muslim woman who insists on wearing the hijab while playing soccer is taking religious beliefs a trifle far, is it not? Perhaps she also wears it to bed.

  3. Jane says:

    A young Sydney Muslim mother has died after her hijab became entangled in a go-kart. The woman suffered severe neck and throat injuries. Harks of Isadora Duncan`s accident when her scarf was caught in the wheel of a sportscar.And I`m sure there`ll be other accidents involving the hijab if women insist on wearing it when doing various things. It could even become caught up in a vacum cleaner.

  4. AMA says:

    I understood this to be a kind of safety measure to prevent any pulling of the chain by accident by patient { or perhaps not even by accident but intent ! }When I worked as crew with a large airline uniform regulations were very strict, very little jewellery of any kind was permitted, safety reasons again.

  5. C.O. says:

    I was wearing a stethoscope around my neck on night duty (as medical people do) when it was grabbed by a patient who tried to throttle me with it.Difference: it would not break (being leather straps) but should someone grab a small neck chain, it would certainly snap. I therefore don`t support `safety` as an argument but thanks for dropping by.

  6. Sunday Times carried a piece about the nurse wearing a cross which says she wears it on a `long chain`. Well, this puts a rather different perspective on the case I was making for a short neck chain. It has now become a rather petty argument: long or short.But as for Muslim medics being provided with special elasticised elbow-length gloves, to preserve modesty, all I can say is I am fed up with UK management`s grovelling to appease the requirements of staff of this persuasion. Muslim doctors and nurses know the essential requirement to wash after procedures. And for Muslim women nurses to say exposing their lower arms is invasive of their privacy is utter poppycock.

  7. AMA says:

    .COThe fact that the nurse was wearing a long chain makes it even more of a risk, think of the danger of it being caught up in equipment, may even endanger life. Totally agree with comments on the Muslim medics however .

  8. Usman says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Usman says:

    So sorry to hear about about this bureaucratic silliness. I like to see Christians wearing cross, celebrating long Christmas holidays etc. In fact I don't mind seeing any symbol of Christianity in public. I quite appreciate it.I am actually the responsible of that bureaucratic silliness. I mean I am a Muslim. Let me know how can I resolve this problem. Should I apologize or what?..Let me know. ThanksA Muslim

  10. C.O. says:

    Thanks for dropping in Usman. It is my own belief that people who wish to express their religious beliefs in terms of wearing some form of apparel, or symbol, should be free to do so unless, like the niqab it conceals the face – the mirror of our feelings.

  11. Usman says:

    First of all, you didn't answer my question. Should I apologize to you because your government, is going too "politically correct" to "please" minorities? And It is my own belief that niqab is certainly unnecessary and a foolish practice. But if anybody want to wear it, she can wear it except on places where security or identification is the issue. eg Airport, Bank etc. People are not subject wear the clothes suitable to your "feelings".

  12. Anonymous says:

    In a western society, it is considered ill mannered to even keep sunglasses on, when in conversation with another. So much for the niqab..And it is for you to decide whether you should apologise to `our government`. I suppose you could always stand in Whitehall and hold up a sign..

  13. Usman says:

    I live in a western country and frequently encounter westerners who keep sunglasses, keep smoking while talking to others. They are probably not subject to take off the glasses simply because it offend you or me.Go rant somewhere else!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I would seem you are not mixing with very well brought up people.

  15. C.O. says:

    I was shopping today in South London when a woman approached me wearing a complete niqab. Could not see anything, not even her eyes. I felt as though I had been brushed by the Grim Reaper. No more complaints about the way tourists dress on holidays in Muslim countries when a woman can behave like this. What an attention seeker. What a controller! I`ll guarantee she`s never even opened the Holy Qur`an. Normally I`m very tolerant but not to even expose her eyes is a deliberateprovocation and also extremely rude. By the appearance of her young children she was either from Somalia or Ethiopia which has a considerable Muslim community.

  16. Usman says:

    C.O.I have already made my statement clear about wearing niqab in the comment above.I will not mind if UK makes certain immigration laws to reduce immigration from a particular civilization which UK deems uncomfortable to be mixing with.

  17. Mimi Forsyth says:

    In our increasingly insecure times, being able to see a person's face- or at least the eyes!-is necessary. In the USofA, do not enter a bank wearing sunglasses! Washing the forearms in hospital service also is necessary for hygienic reasons. We can all do as we please in our own precincts and on our own time.I don't see how government can regulate these sensitive issues. Let common sense prevail? I am neither Christian nor Muslim. Maybe the nurse with the cross could wear it on a longer chain so, when she bends over a patient, it doesn't hit him/her in the face.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I don`t think you get the point at all. People smoking and talking to you while keeping on their sunglasses are simply ignorant,like the niqab-wearers. The English, broadly speaking, are most courteous and there is no more generous country in providing benefits to `new arrivals` – often ahead of our own citizens.What other country would allow a protest tent city on the lawn of its Houses of Parliament?Never mind the security aspect. It is considered ill mannered to walk around with a black bag over your head. No more, no less than that Usman so stop all this smug bullshitting about civilisation etc.

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