Skip to comments.Carey, bishops, educators blast university intolerance [+ BA boycotted by cross travellers]
Posted on 11/24/2006 5:10:49 PM PST by sionnsar
"Student union tactics are intolerant and unlawful", they say
Letter to the Editor
The Lonton Times
November 24, 2006
Sir, Christian students at many of our universities are facing considerable opposition and discrimination in violation of their rights of freedom of expression, freedom of belief and freedom of association.
In recent times, some student guilds, in Exeter, Birmingham and Edinburgh in particular, have changed their anti-discrimination provisions to discriminate against Christian students. We believe this to be intolerant and unlawful, and that the Christian unions currently suspended by the student guilds or associations should be reinstated with full rights as a student society forthwith.
Of course university student guilds and associations have a responsibility to ensure that official societies are run in a proper and lawful manner. However, this does not give them, or anyone else, the right to restrict or change the essential beliefs of those societies, or impose as leaders people who do not share those core beliefs.
Christian union meetings and events are open to all students to attend. In fact, as faith-sharing organisations, CUs specifically invite people who do not share the Christian faith to attend their meetings. Therefore, there is no restriction imposed on who can and who cannot join the CU.
However, the executive committees of CUs act rather like charity trustees, and as such, they are responsible for two things: first, that funds donated to the CU are used only to further the stated objects, and secondly, that the object of the union, the proclamation of the Christian gospel (as understood by millions of orthodox Christians around the world), is advanced.
It would therefore be inappropriate for anyone who does not agree with the aims, objectives and beliefs to be executive committee members, although it would be totally in order for them to attend CU events, Bible studies, discussion groups or missions, and put forward their views with conviction and passion. Thus the only restrictions limit the right to amend the constitution and select leaders to those who can affirm the core beliefs of the society.
THE RIGHT REV MICHAEL SCOTT-JOYNT Bishop of Winchester
THE RIGHT REV MICHAEL NAZIR-ALI Bishop of Rochester
THE RIGHT REV PETER FORSTER Bishop of Chester
THE RIGHT REV GEORGE CASSIDY Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham
THE RIGHT REV JONATHAN GLEDHILL Bishop of Lichfield
THE RIGHT REV STEPHEN VENNER Bishop of Dover
THE RIGHT REV PETE BROADBENT Bishop of Willesden
THE RIGHT REV CRISPIAN HOLLIS Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth and lead Bishop of Higher Education
LORD CAREY OF CLIFTON Former Archbishop of Canterbury
CANON DR CHRISTINA BAXTER Chairman of the House of Laity, Church of England General Synod
PROFESSOR NIGEL M. DE S. CAMERON Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy, London
PROFESSOR JOHN WYATT Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics, University College London
DR DON HORROCKS Head of Public Affairs, Evangelical Alliance
ANDREA MINICHIELLO WILLIAMS Public Policy Officer, Lawyers Christian Fellowship
PETER SAUNDERS General Secretary, Christian Medical Fellowship
THE REV RICHARD CUNNINGHAM Chief Executive Officer, Universities & Colleges Christian Fellowship
DR PETER MAY Chairman, Universities & Colleges Christian Fellowship
FOOTNOTE: There is an extensive file of press cuttings giving more detailed information available at the UCCF website.
Let us be much in prayer for the students involved and for Gospel freedom to be restored and maintained in this key mission-field.
BA faces boycott as travellers get really cross
By Ben Fenton
British Airways faced the prospect of a growing boycott by international travellers yesterday over its refusal to allow a check-in worker to wear a small Christian cross over her uniform.
An internet website was set up to co-ordinate an angry response to the airline's suspension of Nadia Eweida. Nadia Eweida was sent home for wearing a crucifix
And a Church of England vicar went on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to urge people to shun the airline because he said it effectively discriminated against Christians.
The Rev Tony Kelso, from Matchborough, West Midlands, told The Daily Telegraph: "It is ludicrous that British Airways has the Union Flag on their tail fins which is made up of sacred crosses from our United Kingdom and yet it practises this discrimination against Christians.
"They have put themselves in a massive big hole and don't know how to get out."
A spokesman for the Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, hinted that he might also join the boycott.
"The Church believes that everyone deserves a second chance and that includes BA," the spokesman said. "There is a second appeal next month and, at the moment, the Archbishop believes that a boycott would be premature."
Mr Kelso said it was "a shame" that the Archbishop did not support the boycott and even more so that the Archbishop of Canterbury flew to Rome by BA to meet the Pope on Wednesday.
"From BA's point of view, they have to hope that the big Christian groups in America don't join in this boycott, but I think it is coming, they are stirring."
Meanwhile, more MPs joined a formal protest at BA's position, with Ben Bradshaw, the environment minister, saying that he would not fly on the former national carrier until it reversed its decision.
Jack Straw, the Leader of the Commons, joined his colleague Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, in expressing his dismay at the airline's position, although he stopped short of joining the call for an embargo.
The site www.baboycott.com encourages people to destroy their British Airways frequent flyer cards, photograph the pieces and send the image to them digitally. It also offers advice on alternative flights.
Marcus Stafford, a Norfolk-based web designer who set it up, said: "This case was the last straw for me. I had just got so fed up with attacks on Englishness and Christianity that I decided to take action. BA's logo: 'made up of the sacred crosses of the UK'
"I am not an active Christian, more a cultural one, like most people in this country, but I just thought, no more."
One contributor to the site wrote: "I usually use BA, but as a Christian, I have decided that if one person is being persecuted because of what she believes in, then BA have no need for my business. I have cut up my card."
Ann Widdecombe, the Tory MP and former Home Office minister who has been campaigning against the airline's decision, said she was delighted that the campaign had spread to the internet. "The only way to make them listen and change their minds is through the power of the pound," she said.
"Normally, parliamentary delegations travel by air and obviously we would normally prefer to travel by British Airways, but I think we should seriously consider that and say, 'No, we don't want to fly BA'."
Mr Bradshaw, who is a member of the Christian Socialist Movement, said he was taking the stance on principle. "It is a ridiculous policy to prevent someone wearing a very small crucifix," he said.
"I think what they are doing is wrong and I still hope BA will reconsider this decision. I wrote to BA when this case emerged and I wasn't satisfied with their reply.
"They explained their decision but it wasn't in a way I found convincing. I am seeking to avoid using them whenever possible."
Mr Straw said during Commons exchanges that he found the BA position "inexplicable". He said: "I strongly supported the right of women of the Muslim faith to wear the hijab - the headscarf - in all circumstances. I therefore find the ban on wearing a cross or indeed a Star of David in equivalent circumstances wholly inexplicable."
Iain Dale, the Conservative political analyst and internet "blogger", said: "The whole thing is utterly hypocritical on BA's part and I for one don't want to fly on an airline that treats people in this way.
"The adult thing to do would be to put up their hands and say 'we got it wrong', but they don't seem to want to do that."
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