A council has been accused of putting “political correctness before people” after it removed a wooden cross from a crematorium chapel and redesignated the room as a ceremony hall so as not to offend other faiths.
One chaplain has refused to conduct services at Torquay crematorium, Devon until Torbay council put the 5ft-tall gilt and wooden cross back on the wall.
Peter Haywood of the Seamen’s Christian Friends Society said: “I’m afraid I blew my top about this, a lot of people are very upset.”
He said when he wrote to Torbay council to complain he received an email saying the cross had been removed on health and safety grounds, but was later told that the decision was made to ensure equality for other faiths.
“It’s a nonsense,” he said. “They seem to be putting political correctness before people. This is an absolute disgrace. It’s not even called a chapel any more.”
Crematorium staff have now put a smaller wooden cross in the chapel, but some local Christians want the bigger cross put back.
They have suggested that a retractable curtain could be installed to cover the cross for non-Christian services at the crematorium.
But a council spokesman said the council stood by its decision.