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More cries of ‘persecution’ follow Christian nurse Chaplin’s tribunal defeat

A PRAYER offensive launched last month by the Christian Legal Centre in support of a Christian nurse  failed to move God or sway an employment tribunal, which today brushed aside her discrimination claim.

Wearing crosses makes people really, REALLY happy, as nurse Chaplin demonstrates

Shirley Chaplin, 54, took the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS trust hospital to tribunal after she was moved to a desk job for refusing to remove her crucifix while working with patients.

She claimed that taking off a necklace bearing a crucifix would “violate her faith”.

The trust said the move was not specifically about the crucifix, but about health and safety concerns about patients grabbing necklaces.

Today, reports The Guardian, John Hollow, the employment tribunal panel chairman, found against Chaplin, who had worn the emblem throughout her 30 years as a nurse.

Hollow ruled the trust had acted in a “reasonable” manner in trying to reach a compromise. He said the damage to her was “slight” and noted that wearing a crucifix was not a requirement of the Christian faith.

Jane Viner, the trust’s Acting Director of Nursing, told the BBC it was “absolutely satisfied” with the tribunal’s decision.

These were very serious allegations of direct and indirect discrimination and we’re satisfied that the tribunal has completely dismissed them.

Chaplin, who is intending to appeal against the decision, said:

The law doesn’t appear to be on the Christian side.

She said Christians in the workplace would feel “quite persecuted” by the ruling.

She added:

I have been a nurse for roughly 30 years and throughout that time I have worn my crucifix. The crucifix is an exceptionally important expression of my faith and my belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

To deliberately remove or hide my crucifix or to treat it disrespectfully would violate my faith.

It was suggested she pin the crucifix inside her uniform but Chaplin could not accept that. She explained:

I was being asked to hide my religion and my faith. I found it disrespectful.

In September, a request to keep the cross pinned outside her uniform was turned down, she said.

This answer confirmed to me that they simply wanted to remove the visibility of the crucifix.

Chaplin’s case was highlighted by the archbishop of Canterbury in his Easter sermon last weekend, when he referred to “wooden-headed bureaucratic silliness”, which has seen some Christians stopped from wearing religious symbols at work. Rowan Williams said there was a “strange mixture of contempt and fear” towards Christianity.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of the Christian Legal Centre which championed Chaplin’s case, said:

The decision shows a worrying lack of common sense. No evidence supported the Trust’s ‘health and safety’ position, yet the Tribunal considered removing Mrs Chaplin’s Cross as a proportionate response to a ‘health and safety’ risk that was never established.

The extent to which the Trust is prepared to stop Mrs Chaplin manifesting her religious beliefs is remarkable. We hope that the Employment Appeal Tribunal will reverse today’s decision and allow Mrs Chaplin to wear her Cross visibly, in the same way that doctors and nurses of other religions can manifest their religious beliefs.

Vowing to appeal today’s ruling, Chaplin said:

I fight on and I fight to win the right for Christians to live out their faith in Britain today – anything less would be a negation of my Christian duty.

33 responses to “More cries of ‘persecution’ follow Christian nurse Chaplin’s tribunal defeat”

  1. JohnO says:

    “The law doesn’t appear to be on the Christian side”.

    True, the law should be impartial.

  2. Stuart W says:

    Christian Legal Centre are proving themselves quite the jinx. I’m sure this is the latest in a long line of defeats.

    I fight to win the right for Christians to live out their faith in Britain today

    My dear, if you wanted to walk down the road wearing a foot-high cross around your neck and a T-shirt proclaiming I *heart* Christianity nobody could stop you. I think you’ll find that the goals of your divine duty have been in place for quite a while.

  3. Marcus says:

    Just as sour-faced fundies like Chaplin find it ‘disrespectful’ to have their symbols of religion hidden, if I were a patient I would find it equally disrespectful to have their faith shoved in my face. Come to think of it, I would be no less offended if some nurse approached me wearing a swastika armband. Both ideologies just want to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. (Although given the choice, I reckon even I’d find Nick Griffin slighltly more feminine than Nurse Chaplin.)

  4. Pete H says:

    This answer confirmed to me that they simply wanted to remove the visibility of the crucifix.

    Equally so, clearly she wants to have it visible to all. Not quite sure why religious people want/need to stick it in everyone’s faces, if it’s purely a personal thing.

    Similarly, I have two tattoos of things that are personally very important to me. Neither are in places that are visible to anyone else, as they are a personal thing and I don’t care if anyone else ever sees them.

    I thought the idea of pinning it inside her uniform was a fair compromise, but her response suggesting pinning it outside showed what this is really all about.

    You have to question people’s motivation for wanting to stick their faith in everyone’s mush all the time.

    Chalk another one up for common sense.

  5. Broga says:

    People like Chaplin want to shove it in your face: look at me, I’m a christian, I am a wonderful person. No your not. You are a pain in the arse. If I saw her approaching me in hospital with her crucifix I would be full of doubts. What baggage is she bringing with her: euthanasia views, contraception, abortion, attitude to me if I say I am atheist. They can’t help it. It gets in the way.

  6. AngieRS says:

    “I fight on and I fight to win the right for Christians to live out their faith in Britain today – anything less would be a negation of my Christian duty.” Yeah, right, suitably coached by the christian legal centre and spurred on by the thought of all that compo if she wins. Just in time for retirement.

  7. J says:

    I work in mental health and recently heard a senior colleague suggesting that it was high time one of our therapeutic groups be modified to incorporate a spiritual angle. Cue much nodding and agreement that the spiritual is sorely neglected in mental health. I kept my mouth shut as I need the job. This was depressing stuff but not the end of the world – there are many people who rave about the spiritual in this line of work and it’s mostly harmless until you ask them to define ‘spirit’ and how this fits with efforts to move beyond the false dichotomoy of the Cartesian mind/body split. Everybody just loves the ‘spiritual’ until it comes to explaining just what that actually means. I think broadly people like the idea of being all nice and fuzzy and looking for more in life beyond the daily grind and materialism. Great, nice sentiments which I can relate to. In practice though it’s like getting the saccharine piety of religion without all that troubling stuff, like reading a text or adhering to any doctrine. Religion for dummies. “Oh yeah, I’m really spiritual you know, ask anybody.” “Oh you’re spiritual? Um… how so?” “Oh you know….well, I’m, err, I’m, like spiritual.” “Um…can you clarify this for me?” “Err, yeah it’s like really deep and stuff” “Mm-hmm”

    Whatever, what mattered was this – this person, feeling chuffed with the reaction, went on to suggest this new spiritual group ‘ought to be from a Christian perspective given that this is the dominant tradition in this country’. I swear you could amost hear the ‘once great country’ so beloved of the Daily Mail when they spoke of ‘this country’, a subtle near-pause which said so much.

    There was not a raised eyebrow just significantly less enthusiasm than for the spiritual group suggestion. Maybe lost a couple of the groovy crystal people and lifestyle-Buddhists “Did I ever mention that I’m a practicing Buddhist” (“Only about a thousand fucking times”) “What the NHS needs is a shifting focus to incorporate mindfulness… run by me… with a pay-rise…blah blah…did I mention I’m a Buddhist…aren’t I the interesting one?…etc…etc

    A very highly paid senior clinician eagerly advocating a Christian therapy group on NHS time with NHS resources and paid for by the taxpayer and I’m the only person in the room feeling sick. Nobody else gave a stuff.

    The NHS is jammed to the rafters with god-botherers by the way, absolutely groaning under the weight of them. I think quite a lot of them went into it to be the ‘nice person’ and soak up the admiration.

  8. rog says:

    @J the last thing a person with mental health needs is someone *in a position of power* over them preaching, it’s unethical & harmful – simple as. Do let us know if they try it, preferably with associated documented guidelines 😉

  9. barriejohn says:

    It is, indeed, sad that people are prevented from practising the Christian faith in Britain today, and, as libertarians, I believe that we should be supporting this poor, demented soul!

  10. Urmensch says:

    If only heretics like those in the Christian Legal Centre would stop worshiping false idols like secular law and just keep to praying for what they want from life then God would answer those prayers.
    Obviously He abandons them because of their lack of faith.

  11. Michael Trussler says:

    Oh shame on everyone !
    This good woman honestly knows, in the depths of her heart, that the curse of the talking snake is forever banished. If she can’t wear the symbol of that, then I believe she should be allowed to speak of her unshakable opinion about the joyous relief from the apple-nudity-snake-curse by the pseudo-sacrifice of God to himself, before she takes part in any of her nursely duties. If I knew that, I’d think it more important than any of the minor ailments and complaints (all caused by the nude-apple-snake-curse) of any of my tax-paying patients..
    I bet at least some of them would hear the good news and pick up their beds.

  12. barriejohn says:

    We’ve been here before, Michael! If prayer is such a powerful and irresistible weapon, then why the need to employ expensive lawyers, or to lobby MPs or to march through the streets waving placards? And why the need for medical training to heal the sick? Jesus didn’t go to medical school. Even when I was a Christian myself I could see the glaring inconsistencies here. If you really believed that those who didn’t accept Jesus as their saviour were going to spend all of eternity being tortured in hell, you would not waste your time trying to cure treat arthritis so that this brief life was a bit more comfortable, and if you really believed that prayer was all-powerful you wouldn’t even waste time preaching to them, but you would withdraw from life completely and devote yourself entirely to prayer.

  13. Brian Jordan says:

    There is an elephant in the room, though. Last time I was in a hospital, a medical practitioner was swathed in what seemed to me to be in-your-face Islamic attire. It’s since been reported that female muslim medical staff are to be given disposable sleeves, lest colleagues and patients become inflamed by the sight of their bare forearms. Goose, gander, anyone?

  14. Urmensch says:

    @Brian
    That would be interesting to challenge the basis of the possible vector of infection their hoods could be.
    I remember back at the height of the MRSA scare, doctor’s ties were implicated in the spread of the bug from patient to patient.
    It’s hard to see how the typical Muslim garb would not be equally prone to spreading those bugs.

  15. NeoWolfe says:

    Well, I don’t claim to know all the circumstances of the case, but this much I can say, as an expert who worked fifteen years in clean rooms, that there is strict protocol. The protocol for what you have inside your bunny suit is far less strict that what you carry outside. And included was no perfume, no make-up, no body powder.

    But, the dimented hag insisted on wearing her unsterilized talisman outside her clean suit. Therefore, she loses. It’s not a stike against Christendom, or a victory for freethinkers, it’s just a hag being told that her religion cannot violate protocol at the risk of patients.

    NeoWolfe

  16. Heather Flight says:

    On the bright side, cross or no cross, everybody now knows she is a Christian. I suppose not bearing a cross is her cross to bear. In my humble opinion, crosses are crass. She looks cross.

  17. barriejohn says:

    She’s been crucified, Heather.

  18. Stuart says:

    How do you think normal Christians feel. This woman has become the Christian poster girl:

    Christian Nurse Shirley Chaplin is today the “face” of UK Christianity in the Media

  19. barriejohn says:

    Stuart: I just can’t make out that guy on the Echurch website. When is he finally going to come to his senses and admit that it’s all nonsense, and decide that rationality is the only way forward?

  20. Angela_K says:

    The christian legal centre must have more money that sense to keep backing these wackos; shame our cash-strapped NHS has to waste funds on the defence.

    Chaplin wearing her cross on the outside is like a flag saying: I’m a superstitious bigot.

  21. Ivan says:

    Brian Jordan said:

    “It’s since been reported that female muslim medical staff are to be given disposable sleeves”

    If anyone sees this attire it might be amusing to relate to the wearer the story of the Chinese Emperor Ai (of the Han dynasty).

    On waking to find that his male lover had fallen asleep on the huge, loose, sleeve of his very finest robe, he carefully cut off this sleeve and ruined the robe rather than disturb the still sleeping Dongxian.

    Homosexuality in China has ever since been known as “cut sleeve love” and you can watch the faces of these medical staff as you relate the story and warmly congratulate them on their clever show of committment to diversity by openly celebrating this aspect of gay culture by way of their attire.

  22. Richard T says:

    Without joining the Christians’ paranoia tat everyone’s against us, it is noticeable that on both sides of the Atlantic there has been a marked increase in Christians whingeing about how they’re being persecuted. Suspecting the power of US evangelical money, is it possible they’re linked?

  23. Brian Jordan says:

    On waking to find that his male lover had fallen asleep on the huge, loose, sleeve of his very finest robe, he carefully cut off this sleeve and ruined the robe rather than disturb the still sleeping Dongxian.

    Now that is interesting. Last time I heard it, it was about Mohammed and a cat, told to show what a nice, cuddly animal lover he was. Quite a euphemism! Also a fine example of Islamic plagiarism since that dynasty predated Mo by rather a long time.

  24. barriejohn says:

    Richard T: I don’t know about American money being behind it, but I remarked a long time ago now that it was obvious that American evangelicals were behind this campaign over the “persecution” of Christians in Britain. They borrow ideas and compare notes all the time: just look at what is going on in Uganda at the moment!

  25. Broadsword says:

    I was fell running when this article came on the radio.
    I stopped to listen on top of a Welsh hill and said “Ha! You xian bastard!” when I got the good news.

    She looks like she’d make an excellent wife for a seventeenth century English puritan.

  26. Ivan says:

    Brian Jordan said:

    “Last time I heard it, it was about Mohammed and a cat”

    So they turned a dong into a pussy?

    *gets coat and leaves*

  27. alyson.mably says:

    IN REGARDS TO SHIRLEY CAPLIN AND HER BELIEF THAT THE CROSS IS A MANDATORY SYMBOL OF HER FAITH ,I BELIEVE SHE IS CORRECT ,EVERY CHURCH CARRIES THIS SYMBOL AS DOES MOST HOLY BIBLESI BELIEVE I WISH TO LIVE IN A BRITAIN WHERE EVERY FAITH IS EQUAL ,SO MUCH FOR EQUALITY ITS A BUNCH OF LIES JUST LIKE FREE SPEECH ,WE DONT HAVE THIS ,WE ONLY HAVE CONTROLLED SPEECH WHEN YOU STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS YOU ARE PUNISHEDAS FOR THE SECULAR EXTREMIST THAT TARGETED THIS WOMAN THET ARE A BULLY AND A GUTLESS COWARD,THE OLY THREAT TO RELIGION NOW IS THE RELIGION OF THE SECULARISTS WHO WISH TO IMPOSE BY FORCE THEIR EVIL IDEALOGY,AS FOR ME I UNDERSTAND HOW THIS WOMAN FEELS ,I TOO HAVE FACED DISCRIMATION IN THE WORKPLACE BUT MINE WAS BECAUSE I AM A WHITE CONVERT TO ISLAM ,AND ITS NOT VERY NICE TO BE BULLIED FOR THE RELIGOUSSYMBOLS OF THE FAITH THAT YOU WEAR.PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY NEED TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT WE ARE LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS ANDTHAT THE RULE OF JOSEF STALIN WILL SOON BE HERE,A MAN WHO PERSERCUTED MILLIONS FOR THE CRIME OF BEING A PRACTISING CHRISTAIN,JEW,OR MUSLIM,I ADMIRE THIS LADY FOR HAVING THE COURage to stand up for her beliefs,and her principles,there are people out there that want the name of god to dissappear,because they are working for the anti christ ,who is establishing the foundations of his rule right now .muslims like, shirley caplin are waiting for the 2nd coming of jesus who will reign in peace as a just and righteous leader and th e sooner that day comes the better for all of mankind,insallah ,i wish this lady success in her appeal for the injustice that she has endured ,this was outright bullying

  28. Heather Flight says:

    Nurse, time for Ms Malby’s injection!

  29. Broadsword says:

    alyson.mably

    YOU wouldn’t work for me either. no business wants nutters working for them. I sense the anger in your post. Time to strap on a suicide vest. the world is moving on and you’re not getting your way SO BEST resort TO violence.

    I feel sorry for your jebus. he’s come ONLY TWice in 2K years. no wonder you’re frustrated.

  30. NeoWolfe says:

    alyson said:

    “EVERY CHURCH CARRIES THIS SYMBOL AS DOES MOST HOLY BIBLESI”

    I beg to differ, muslims don’t carry it, buddhists don’t carry it, hindus don’t carry it, and even among christian religions, there are those who are offended by it such as jehovah’s witnesses.

    And if you feel bullied at work because of your religious talismans, trade them in for a star of david. Everyone knows the Jews have taken all the shit that they’re going to take, and step one is KICK YOUR ASS!!! Then, they will leave you alone. Let me know how it works out. 🙂

    NeoWolfe

  31. Broadsword says:

    Carrying the cross before them.
    Onward xian soldiers……….

  32. Badger3k says:

    Christians being persecuted is a trope 2000 years old. For many of them, if they aren’t being persecuted, they are not doing right by their god. It also ties into the idea that being a martyr is a good thing, and something one should aspire too (like their god/son who “sacrificed” himself for a couple of days before getting ultimate power and eternal life – some sacrifice). Besides, nothing can get the money rolling in like a good persecution story. With this story, I can see Christians running for the check books to defend the faith.