Catholic leader calls on Christians to wear the cross
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has called upon all believers to wear the cross “every day of their lives”.
The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland made his appeal last Sunday at an Easter homily in Edinburgh. He urged Christians to "wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives".
"I know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ – not in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or recreation, but as a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ’s standards in your own daily life," he said.
Cardinal O’Brien also expressed his worry that the right to wear a "simple and discreet" cross is now under threat.
"I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters,” he said.
"Easter provides the ideal time to remind ourselves of the centrality of the cross in our Christian faith. I hope that increasing numbers of Christians adopt the practice of wearing a cross in a simple and discreet way as a symbol of their beliefs.”
Right to wear the cross
The issue of wearing a cross in public has become highly contentious.
Two Christians have taken their cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after being penalised at work for wanting to continue to wear their cross.
This includes Christian Legal Centre client Shirley Chaplin, who was forced from front line nursing because her employer would not let her continue wearing her cross on the wards.
Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed that he personally believes that people should be free to wear a cross. However, the Government recently told the ECHR that Christians should have no right to wear a cross at work.
The Government also, astonishingly, claimed in its submission to the Court that the right to religious freedom was guaranteed because Christians had the right to resign from their jobs.
Christian Concern has now launched a campaign called ‘Not Ashamed of the Cross’, calling on Christians to encourage their MPs to urge the Government to revise their submission to the European Court.
The Campaign website can be found at: http://www.notashamedofthecross.org.uk
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said,
“Some politicians, such as the Prime Minister, have been notably affirming the Christian faith in public recently. Now is the time for some action.
“Religious freedom must be robustly defended by the Government. It must support the four Christian cases before the ECHR.
“This includes supporting the two Christians who want to continue wearing a cross at work, as well as supporting the two Christians, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane, who have lost their jobs for not wanting to act against their consciences.
“It is hard to over-estimate the significance of these cases. “