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the right to interfere

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 30, 2005

By the decreed wisdom of the European Commission on Human Rights, you can copulate with absolutely anything smarter than a fork lift and your Christian employer is powerless to fire you on grounds of immorality. However, if you the employee are the devout Christian, and the firm that employs you has advanced "compelling economic reasons which made it necessary to change the working practices of its workforce to a seven-day shift" -- well then you're just out of luck, cobber.

A Christian who was sacked after refusing to work on a Sunday has lost his appeal against his former employers for unfair dismissal, raising concerns that religious rights have no place at work. Stephen Copsey, who worked as a production supervisor for WWB Devon Clays Ltd of King's Lynn until 2002, had taken his case to the Court of Appeal after employment trials had upheld the company's action. Lord Justice Mummery ruled that the right to manifest one's religious beliefs under the European Commission on Human Rights is qualified by a right to interfere when it is justified. ...

Michael Schluter, chairman of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign, which funded Mr Copsey's appeal, said the ruling meant that Christians who want to worship on a Sunday do not have that right if their employer requires them to work at that time. Lord Justice Mummery said that if he wanted to worship on a Sunday he was free to resign and look for a job elsewhere.

"Free to resign and look for a job elsewhere": thus the future of religious liberty. In the forty years following the conciliar decree Dignitatis humanae, anxious eyes had been turned eastward at the Soviet Bloc's hostility to religion, only to have Lord Justice Mummery and his pals sell the pass from behind.

Update. A law prof writes: The case referred to from the EU is nothing new. That has been the law in the US since the 1977 case of TWA v. Hardison, which essentially read the Section 701(j) religious accommodation requirement out of Title VII. Estate of Thorton v. Caldor and Ansonia v. Philbrook also make some interesting reading along these lines. The bottom line: if it costs business anything whatsoever, it has no obligation to "accommodate" anybody's religion.

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