London, March 19, 2012
|Archpriest Mikhail Dudko|
"This morning I talked to a woman who was forced to take off her cross at work a week ago. She preferred to resign. And the cross was not even visible! The woman asked to be allowed to wear it, promising to attach it to the body with duct tape to keep it from accidentally slipping from under her clothes, but they said it's not allowed," Archpriest Mikhail Dudko, the cathedral's sacristan, said on Facebook.
He said the position of the British government, which opposes freedom to openly wear crosses, is understood by local authorities as "a total ban" and people with poor knowledge of the language and life in the UK "have virtually no chance of defending their rights."
According to earlier reports, the British authorities intend to defend the legality of the ban on public wearing of crosses in the UK in the European Court of Human Rights.
The Strasbourg court will try lawsuits involving the religious discrimination against four Christians from the UK, who have lost their cases in British courts.
The Russian Church earlier expressed surprise about the loyalty of the British authorities, who have banned wearing crosses at work, to other symbols, for example, gay symbols.
"This decision made by the British parliament is certainly alarming, especially given the existence in modern European society of other tendencies aimed at liberating human instincts," Vladimir Legoyda, the head of the Synodal Information Department, told reporters. He said he was surprised by the fact that public demonstration of affiliation with gay culture is considered normal in the UK while the wearing of crosses is not. Among the examples of double standards Legoyda named the British authorities' stance on Sikhs, saying that even London police officers are officially allowed to wear turbans, which are Sikh symbols.
Among the four cases to be tried in Strasbourg is a claim filed by a woman who was suspended from her job with British Airways several years ago for refusing to take off her cross, which she wore on top of her uniform.
The other claimants are Shirley Chaplin, who had worked as
a nurse for 30 years before being fired for wearing a
cross at work, Lillian Leidel, an official with a London
civil registry office, who was subjected to disciplinary
punishment for refusing to register a gay marriage for
religious reasons, and Garry McFarlane, a resident of
Bristol, a former employee of a firm providing
confidential consultations to gay couples, who was fired
because he had difficulty working because of his religious