The think-tank Ekklesia has said that the unsuccessful attempt by a schoolgirl and her backers to get the High Court to recognise her wish to defy a uniform policy in order to wear a silver 'chastity ring', is not a case of Christians being discriminated against. [Background: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/5478]
Speaking to MoreFour (Channel 4) TV about whether Christians were being hard done by in such instances, Jonathan Bartley, co-director of Ekklesia, commented: "The highest court in the land - The House of Lords, which is of course also the Second Chamber of Parliament – [currently] has 26 bishops in it by right, so [Christians] can hardly claim to be receiving a raw deal or losing out."
He continued: "Certain Christian groups appear to be actively looking to create cases of alleged discrimination in order to fight a court battle. A minority of Christians are developing a persecution complex, feeling that they are losing out to others."
"What is actually happen happening is that Christians are having to come to terms with a level playing field, and society will no longer tolerate special exemptions for Christians", said Bartley.
He went on: "In the most recent case the school was not persecuting, or even discriminating against the girl, but simply applying their uniform policy which said jewellery could not be worn. When the girl joined the school, she voluntarily signed an agreement that she would abide by it. She now wanted to opt out of it, and wear her purity ring on the grounds that other religions were allowed to wear their jewellery.
"But her ring was not something, which like [the insignia of] other religions, had been worn for hundreds of years by hundreds of millions of people, as a religious requirement. It was something invented in the mid 1990s, worn by a few thousand people - Christians and those who are not, around the world, and certainly not a requirement of any religion.
Concluded the think-tank co-director: "If an exception is made for the ring, then an exception should be made for the memorabilia for every good cause - Cancer Research, Make Poverty History, that we can think of. That is a truly level playing field."