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  1. #1 nurse 'ordered to remove crucifix... at hospital where Muslims allowed head scarves 
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    A Christian nurse was ‘forced to choose between her job and her faith’ after being ordered to remove her crucifix at a hospital where Muslim staff wore headscarves unchallenged, a tribunal heard yesterday.

    Shirley Chaplin, 54, said she had been wearing the religious symbol around her neck without complaint for 31 years before she was ordered to hide it away.

    But the grandmother claims that after refusing to comply and then pointing out that two women doctors were allowed to wear headscarves, she was moved to a desk job.

    Her case has caused uproar among Christian support groups, who feel their beliefs are not being given the same respect as other faiths. At the weekend her case against the NHS was backed by seven senior Anglican bishops who issued a national letter of support.

    Yesterday, on the first day of an employment tribunal, Mrs Chaplin, from Kenn, near Exeter, Devon, told of her fight to be allowed to carry on wearing the crucifix.

    She is claiming religious discrimination in a case backed by the Christian Legal Centre, which says her treatment is a symptom of increasing discrimination against Christians.

    Mrs Chaplin is due to retire later this year but hopes the case will force the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital to change its policy so staff can openly wear crucifixes.

    The hospital says she was asked to remove the necklace after a risk assessment showed it could be pulled by one of the patients in her care. They insist it is a health and safety issue and that the problem is not with the crucifix but the necklace it is attached to.

    Mrs Chaplin told the tribunal in Exeter she was given the crucifix as a confirmation present and had worn it without complaint throughout her 31-year career.

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    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
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    The nurses backers should suggest she wear the crucifix on either a short chain, or some other way to make it not be a choking hazard. Or, she could wear a little cross lapel pin.
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    Power CUer FlaGator's Avatar
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    I am not sure, is wearing the head scarf a religious or cultural requirement?

    There is no religious requirement in Christianity that requires the wearing of Christian symbols so it does not violate her faith to be asked to remove the cross. It may violate some other personal freedom but not her Christian faith.

    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
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    From a health and safety point of view, a crazy person could do a lot more damage with a head scarf.

    Of course, this isn't really about 'health and safety'. If it was, everybody coming into contact with patients would be required to have short hair, no glasses, and no jewelry of any kind (including wedding rings).
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    The nurses backers should suggest she wear the crucifix on either a short chain, or some other way to make it not be a choking hazard. Or, she could wear a little cross lapel pin.
    Her superiors refused a suggestion she wear the cross pinned to her uniform, to remove the ‘risk’ of the chain. She said this confirmed to her that ‘they simply wanted to remove the visibility of the crucifix’.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlaGator View Post
    I am not sure, is wearing the head scarf a religious or cultural requirement?

    There is no religious requirement in Christianity that requires the wearing of Christian symbols so it does not violate her faith to be asked to remove the cross. It may violate some other personal freedom but not her Christian faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlaGator View Post
    I am not sure, is wearing the head scarf a religious or cultural requirement?

    There is no religious requirement in Christianity that requires the wearing of Christian symbols so it does not violate her faith to be asked to remove the cross. It may violate some other personal freedom but not her Christian faith.
    Technically, this is true. Christians as a group don't have a distinctive garb. However, if wearing it is an important part of her identity as a Christian, then she gets the same pass as any other identity group.

    Probably this "rule" was designed to appease Muslims who might object to an overt Christian or Jewish symbol. It would be better if the hospital explained what Western tolerance is and why that value is critically important.
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    Power CUer FlaGator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    Technically, this is true. Christians as a group don't have a distinctive garb. However, if wearing it is an important part of her identity as a Christian, then she gets the same pass as any other identity group.

    Probably this "rule" was designed to appease Muslims who might object to an overt Christian or Jewish symbol. It would be better if the hospital explained what Western tolerance is and why that value is critically important.
    I am sure that you are right about the real purpose of this order, but one's Christian identity shouldn't be defined by a symbol, it should be defined by faith in Jesus Christ. I like wearing my cross and I rarely remove it, however if by job required me to take it off or not to display it I wouldn't have an issue with it. To have that much of ones identity invested in a symbol borders on idolatry. I believe the same things about Muslims and their veneration of the Koran.

    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
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    asking someone to put away the visible signs of their faith is what I see at the heart of this. I don't see the nurse being attached to the crucifix per-say - I see it more as bucking against having been told that you have to hide what is an outward expression of her faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlaGator View Post
    I am sure that you are right about the real purpose of this order, but one's Christian identity shouldn't be defined by a symbol, it should be defined by faith in Jesus Christ. I like wearing my cross and I rarely remove it, however if by job required me to take it off or not to display it I wouldn't have an issue with it. To have that much of ones identity invested in a symbol borders on idolatry. I believe the same things about Muslims and their veneration of the Koran.
    Every Abrahamic religion swears off idolatry and then practices it while denying it. This is not the point, though as an atheist I enjoy watching this. At the same time, all Jews, Christians, and Moslems are forbidden to have pierced ears or tattoos... but they do. A religion has an undeniable role in a culture, but the expression of that religion in the culture is often itself ill defined. A secular Jew wears a Star Of David because he is an ethnic Jew, not because he is religious Jew.

    By the same token, other than Buddhism I am not aware of a religion that requires you to take a bullet. Most have little tricks their clerics have invented over the centuries such that a person doesn't have to stop in the middle of a battle to pray or kneel. Even Buddhists have been known to say, "Meh, it's not really so much a "must" as an "oughta"."

    Whether we're talking about not cutting beards or wearing a cross, we're really talking about customs. Would it be OK for an employer to arbitrarily order women to wear a dress only? No. We've decided that employers (other than select exceptions like fashion houses) cannot tell women they have to wear dresses. At the moment, they are still permitted to tell men that they may NOT wear dresses, but even if you aren't particularly adventuresome or open minded you can see that it's discrimination to allow women to wear pants but forbid men to wear dresses.

    Face it- they told this woman to remove the cross because somebody complained about it and they thought they were taking the path of least resistance. I am an atheist, but if I worked with this woman, I'd be having crosses embroidered on my scrubs.
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