A cross pendant is/is not Christian

Now here's a religious freedom battle that has the prospect of uniting rather than dividing Christians -- via The Telegraph:

In a highly significant move, ministers will fight a case at the European Court of Human Rights in which two British women will seek to establish their right to display the cross.It is the first time that the Government has been forced to state whether it backs the right of Christians to wear the symbol at work.A document seen by The Sunday Telegraph discloses that ministers will argue that because it is not a requirement of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so.

The federal government in the U.S. has had to argue that a cross is not explicitly Christian in order to keep such symbols on federal lands. That is ironic, and unfortunate. But barring such symbols in the workplace -- and by claiming they have no religious content? Wow.It seems French ant-hijab lacit has infected the British -- sacre blue!Then again...As the ABC, Rowan Williams, said during his weekend trip to visit the Pope, wearing a cross is just a religious decoration for many people and not an essential part of Christianity:

Taking as his text the account of Jesus driving the money changers from the temple in Jerusalem he said the temple had become a religion factory rather than a place of worship.I believe that during Lent one of the things we all have to face is to look at ourselves and ask how far we are involved in the religion factory, he said.And the cross itself has become a religious decoration.

Williams is getting hammered for seeming to give aid and comfort to the government in the anti-crucifix case. But look at the ubiquity of the cross-as-accessory business (hello Madonna, Gaga, we're looking at you) and you see his point.Still, we wouldn't dare impede the sacred right of commerce...Maybe that's the argument the cross supporters should take to the European human rights court.PS: As Michael Brendan Dougherty points out, the U.K. has an established Church with the Queen as its head. Maybe she needs to get with the program?

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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