The Telegraph's headline screams "Christians have no right to wear cross at work, says Government"!
Personally, I think it's good that the Government is standing up for secular values. I also like the cognitive dissonance which this case must be causing the right-wing as it seems to be about the religious right using the much derided "Human Rights!" Act. Whoever wins, they lose.
What struck me was this statement from Andrea Williams, the director of the bullies at the Christian Legal Centre.
"What next? Will our courts overrule the Ten Commandments?”
I struggle to sink down to the depths of the mind which uttered those words. Does she really think that the Ten Commandments are enacted in civil law in this country? What does she think would happen if they were "overruled"?
Well, let's take a look! The Ten Commandments are (depending on who you believe) as follows:
- Thou shalt have no other gods
Well, Andrea, in this country we are free to worship whichever gods we want. Or none at all.
- No graven images or likenesses
Given all the paintings of the Chirstians' god & messiah I see in the UK's churches, this seems redundant.
- Not take the LORD's name in vain
Andrea thinks that it's illegal to say the word Jehovah. I hate to break it to her, but it isn't.
- Remember the sabbath day
Since the introduction of Sunday trading laws, this commandment has also fallen by the wayside.
- Honour thy father and thy mother
I'm not entirely sure how one legislates either for or against this. It's nice to be good to your parents - but it hardly seems necessary to compel people to do so. Five down, five to go!
- Thou shalt not kill
I can agree with this commandment. I think all civilised societies can. As much as I dislike the current coalition - I can't see them repealing the murder laws.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
This has been legal for a very long time. True, it's grounds for divorce - but I don't think anyone needs to be stoned to death for it.
- Thou shalt not steal
A pretty good commandment! Let's hope the government keep this one too!
- Thou shalt not bear false witness
Perjury is a crime - and is likely to remain so if we want our legal system to keep functioning.
- Thou shalt not covet
Does Andrea seriously think it's against the law for me to look jealously on my neighbour's iPhone?
So, of the 10 commandments, there are currently only 3 which are legally enforceable in the UK. No killing, stealing, or perjuring. Let's be generous and add a half of a commandment for people opening their shops too early on a Sunday.
Is this really the best the minds who work at the Christian Legal Centre can do?
Interesting to note, the Ten Commandments don't say anything about rape or child abuse - even though these are illegal and rightly so.
I also don't see a commandment preventing gay people marrying - yet the current crop of religious bigots are expending an awful lot of energy on the issue.
Finally, the Ten Commandments (and the Bible as a whole) is curiously silent about whether adherents should wear a cross around their neck. Unless, of course, you consider the crucifix to be a graven image or likeness, and its frantic worship the very model of idolatry. Much like the second commandment prohibits.
Wait... so the second commandment agrees with the Human Rights Act? And the Government are fighting for Christians by preventing them from breaking their own god's laws...?
It's a funny old world.