The BA woman who kicked up a fuss over not being allowed to wear a cross has lost her appeal. Neither side’s arguments are much cop. BA say:
The policy does not ban staff from wearing a cross. It lays down that personal items of jewellery, including crosses may be worn – but underneath the uniform. Other airlines have the same policy.
I’ve said before that this seems reasonable, not for reasons regarding public displays of faith but just in terms of doing your job properly. But then they say:
The policy recognises that it is not practical for some religious symbols – such as turbans and hijabs – to be worn underneath the uniform. This is purely a question of practicality. There is no discrimination between faiths.1
Makes no sense. Why don’t the reasons against wearing jewellery apply to turbans and hijabs? What if she brought in a great hulking cross that wouldn’t fit under her uniform? What if I turned up with a parrot on my shoulder? She doesn’t help herself, though. She says:
It is important to wear it to express my faith so that other people will know that Jesus loves them
If you’re going to argue, at least do it on the grounds that you can do your job just as efficiently with a visible cross as without. I suspect this wouldn’t actually work, but at least you’d have some sympathy. Her argument, coupled with a refusal to wear the cross under her uniform, is pretty much ‘I should be allowed to evangelise at work’, which is completely unreasonable. If it didn’t affect your job then perhaps politeness would let you get away with it, but since it would – and clearly already is – you can’t.
(Incidentally, how does you wearing a cross say that Jesus loves me2? Does my wearing a Star Trek communicator badge make you think Jean Luc Picard loves you? At best I might assume that you think Jesus loves me, but I’m unlikely to even get that far without some kind of explanation, by which time I’d have missed my flight.)
- clearly there is discrimination between faiths, it’s just that it’s not with any hostile intent, but that’s me being pedantic over the definition of ‘discrimination’. [↩]
- and if he loves me, what do I have to worry about anyway? Are you telling me that he’ll send somebody he loves to the pits of hell when it’s within his power not to? Isn’t the cross actually saying ‘Jesus threatens you with eternal torment unless you do what he says’? [↩]