Religion Trends Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Believing in BBC’s ethos is equivalent to a faith, job tribunal rules

Rules to prevent religious discrimination can now also be used to protect a belief in the BBC’s ethos of public service broadcasting, a tribunal has ruled.

The Daily Mail explains that the tribunal’s

extraordinary decision elevates the BBC’s core principle to a place in the law equivalent to Christianity.

And the move leaves the way clear for long-serving employee Devan Maistry to sue the Corporation for wrongful dismissal.

South African-born Mr Maistry, who worked for the BBC Asian Network, says he suffered discrimination for six years until he was dismissed last year.

He has filed a claim for ‘religious or belief discrimination’, which allegedly took place against his philosophical view that ‘public service broadcasting has the higher purpose of promoting cultural interchange and social cohesion’.

Birmingham employment tribunal chairman Pam Hughes decided Mr Maistry has a worthy case, and gave him the right to a full hearing later this year.

In doing so, the tribunal chairman established the principle that Mr Maistry’s love of public service broadcasting amounted to a belief which should have the same protection from discrimination that the law gives to followers of religious faiths.

The Telegraph adds:

Laws governing employment equality for religion or belief were passed in 2003.

Tariq Sadiq, a lawyer for the BBC, said the case could mean that a belief in the aims of any public sector organisation would count as philosophical beliefs. […]

Pam Hughes, tribunal chairman, ruled: “The claimant had a genuine and stongly held belief in what I will describe in short as the higher purpose of public service broadcasting. It is clearly of great significance to him.”

The paper also notes that in recent months there have been a number of examples where the importance of Christian belief has been challenged.

In England some employees have been prevented from wearing crosses, a couple was barred from becoming foster parents due to their Christian views regarding homosexuality, and militant gays used the legal system to attack the owners of a Christian B&B who preferred — based on their Christian beliefs — to rent double rooms solely to straight, married couples.

Legal Opinion: Protection of philosophical belief under discrimination law

Polling Evangelicals: Cut Aid to World’s Poor, Unemployed

Christianity Today reports:

The House of Representatives is working day and night in its effort to cut more than $60 billion from the federal budget. The House is considering a continuing resolution, a bill used to fund the federal government for the remainder of the year. The bill includes deep cuts for environmental agencies, education, and foreign aid (except those related to security). It makes modest reductions for defense, homeland security, and police.

These cuts are in line with the spending priorities of most American evangelicals.

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a February 10 survey of Americans on their budget priorities, in which they asked them whether they favored increasing, decreasing, or keeping current levels of spending in specific policy areas. Pew provided Christianity Today with a religious breakdown of questions on the budget and spending priorities.

Overall, evangelicals were more likely to favor reductions in federal spending, but like other Americans, they wanted most areas to remain the same or increased.

The top choices among evangelicals for the chopping block are economic assistance to needy people around the world (56 percent), government assistance for the unemployed (40 percent), and environmental protection (38 percent). In each of these categories, evangelicals were more supportive of decreasing spending than are other Americans. In fact, evangelicals were more supportive of funding cuts in every area except military defense, terrorism defense, aid to veterans, and energy.

To us this means that many American Evangelicals merely pay lip service to the Bible: knowing — but not doing — what it says:

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:22-27