Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting Cross over Crosses

Today has been one of those days where I despair at Christianity in the media. Two stories have dominated my (predominately Christian) Twitter feed today. The first is Homosexual relationships, as a well know Evangelical has come out (pun intended) in support monogamous of same-sex relationship. There has been response, counter-response, counter-counter-response, counter-counter-counter... well you get the idea. This has been interesting, but not something I'm going to blog about.

The other story has been about a European Court of Human Rights ruling today that a British Airways employee who was told she couldn't wear her cross was discriminated against. Lots of people have come out in support of this ruling. But to me... well I'm not that fussed.
I don't know the ins-and-outs of the language used, or the reasons behind it. But from what I have read and seen, I struggle to see this as discrimination.

On my first day working for a pizza company, I was asked to take my cross off. Actually, that's not true. I was asked to take my necklace off. The Uniform Policy states that the only jewellery allowed is a single stud earring per ear, a watch and an engagement and/or wedding ring. So I took my cross necklace off, and haven't warn it at work since (except for the odd times I've forgotten to take it off). Did I feel persecuted or discriminated against? Nope. I was being treated the same as all the other staff. And the wearing of a cross isn't central to my faith. I wear a cross out of choice. I like to have it because I hold it in my hand when I pray, or am deep in thought.

I also don't think the wearing of a cross actually shows anything. An awful lot of Christians I know don't wear one, a lot of non-Christians I know do. In a brief Twitter conversation earlier, I said that I think that if you need to wear a cross for people to know you are a Christian, something is wrong. I hope that it isn't my cross that lets people know I'm a Christian.

What this story got me thinking was the passion and vigour in which people celebrated this 'victory' for Christianity. Like this was a major progressive step in social justice.

I wish there was so much passion and vigour from the church shown over other areas of social justice. Let's think of some. Human Trafficking, Oppression, War, Homelessness, Poverty.

In the face of these, the right to wear a small bit of metal around your neck pales into insignificance. (And I'm not saying that Christians are not passionate about these social issues, but that it seems to be a lot less visible in the media.) As Christians, we should be worrying about these big issues, spending our time trying to tackle these, not arguing over uniform policy.

This story - and the stories of the three other Christian cases that were heard by the ECHR but were ruled not to be discrimination - have lead to various people talking about how Christians in Britain face persecution in the face of modern, liberal society. I feel this massively devalues the word. There are Christians around the world that risk arrest, torture and fear for their lives because of their faith. 

We are lucky to live in a society where that isn't the case.

So, come on Christians, lets pull ourselves together, look at the real social injustice of the world, and do something positive to challenge them.

I'd like to hear from you - please comment on here, on Facebook or on Twitter.
What's your view on the whole Cross issue?
Do you wear a cross? Is so, why?


  1. I agree with you. If it's not central to your faith/a law of your faith, I really don't see an issue.
    Personally, I very very rarely wear a cross. I tried, for a bit, but it just wasn't "right". I didn't want a symbol of painful, tortuous death around my neck (while I appreciate that this isn't what springs to mind for others, it is for me!) When I do wear a pendant, it's a heart. It used to be an icthcus (sp?) but I lost that one :( These are symbols that I feel at ease with and I think show the important side of my faith - not that I have a problem with anyone else wearing a cross!
    Hope that made sense and wasn't putting my foot in my mouth too much...

  2. Nice one. Wearing the cross is NOT a necessary part of our faith - and as you say, has been devalued by the many non-believers who wear it as no more than a piece of jewelry. So much fuss over what is essentially a cosmetic detail - if only we got that amount of attention over the real heart of the faith: loving our neighbours enough to make a difference.

  3. I occasionaly wear cross or fish earrings, but hardly wear a cross necklace as I also have a heart one that I wear regularly. I agree Christians in the world are truly persecuted and its not about jewelery its about staying alive. I like to challenge people to think if someone would know that there were a Christian if they met them in the street, maybe a necklace - like a car sticker might help this, but it should surely be about our life style not our fashion sense.

  4. I agree with you whole heartedly. Last year I did some research on crucifixion and a more horrible death I cannot imagine. From that I took my cross off. How dare we make jewelery(for that is what it is), out of a symbol of torture!

    1. Thank you for you view. I wear an empty cross (rather than a crucifix, and use it as a focus for my prayers partly because of the horrific death it symbolizes. It is that death, and subsequent resurrection that is key to my faith. It's not a happy image but one I find powerful. the fact that someone would lay down his life for me in such a way.