Comment on British Airways (BA) decision on religious jewellery and bullying

By Press Office
January 22, 2007

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have welcomed the decision by BA (British Airways) to review and modify its uniform policy to allow the wearing of crosses and religious symbols. But questions have been raised by others about the tactics used by campaigning church groups towards the company, which have been described by some as "bullying".

Responding to the decision by British Airways, and in the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who said today "loyalty to Christ conquers in the end", Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK Christian think-tank Ekklesia said: "It is a good principle to seek wherever possible to allow people to wear symbols or adornments that are of personal importance to them, whether they are religious in origin or not. In this sense, BA's change of policy may be viewed as positive, though there is no evidence that they were seeking to discriminate."

He added: "Nevertheless, the aggressive tenor of the campaign run by some Christian groups over issues like these is a cause for concern. To describe the outcome using a word like "conquer" seems to associate Jesus Christ with the coercive power of church institutions. For some of us that attitude is offensive and wrong. Christians need to pursue their concerns with courtesy and love, rather than steamrolling self-regard, if they are to be consistent with the Gospel message itself."

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