Monday, September 5, 2011

Lucia Headscarfs ok, but not the Crucifix! [UPDATED]

In Britain a Christian (most likely Catholic) nurse has been told to remove her Crucifix after 31 years of wearing it on a chain around her neck at work. While as Muslim women are able to wear their headscarfs to work.
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.

I'm not surprised really, even Protestants don't like the Crucifix, they prefer the empty cross. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen said in Those Mysterious Priests:

The Crucifix is a reminder of our sins if we do not accept its forgiveness.

Related links: Christian nurse 'ordered to remove crucifix... at hospital where Muslims were allowed to wear headscarves' ~ Daily Mail
The future and our choices ~ WDTPRS

Update: Why do Catholics have Crucifixes? ~ The Pilot, Patrick Madrid

6 comment(s):

PM of NZ said...

"change its policy so staff can openly wear crucifixes"

Just imagine the policy paperwork required to accommodate the native bone seen so often as a cultural adornment in these Antipodes. Or the also prevalent tattoos.

ZenTiger said...

Wedding rings must be quite offensive to some people, so blatantly displayed on fingers.

Not sure why they are allowed as items of jewelry. Sets all sorts of improper messaging.

scrubone said...

I'm not surprised really, even Protestants don't like the Crucifix, they prefer the empty cross.

I'm really wondering why you felt the need to divide Christians into "us and them" on this issue - especially given that she does in fact have backing from protestants.

Ultimately while there are differences between the crucifix and the empty cross those differences are not the issue here and this woman clearly has the support of evangelicals.

Lucia Maria said...


Because I'm reading a book that is totally focused on the meaning of Christ on the Cross. Taking Him off the Cross empties the Cross of it's meaning. Typically it's the Crucifix that causes the most discomfort - not the empty Cross.

From Those Mysterious Priests, a continuation from my excerpt above:

The three possible attitudes to Christ on the Cross are: antipathy, apathy, empathy.

Antipathy was represented by those who wanted a Creed but no Cross: "Let Him come down from the Cross, and then we will believe in Him" (Matthew 27:42)

At the moment in my life I am really contemplating this aversion to the Crucifix. Even in my own Cathedral here in Wellington, there is a large crucifix that must have been front and centre at some point that has now been moved to the back corner where it can only be seen if you are standing in the right spot.

So this post represents far more than may appear on the surface, and some part of me hopes that those whose interest is piqued by this whole Crucifix business will look into it a little more.

Glenn said...

Lucia, denying the empty cross is just as bad as denying the crucifixion itself. This probably shouldn't have been the opportunity for a pot shot.

Lucia Maria said...

No, Glenn, they are not equivalent. The empty cross is an absurdity and should be denied.

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