Cross about a Cross
Cranmer has some wise words to say about the fuss over British Airways and jewelry.
An over-reaction? Possibly, but it is worth considering what religious symbols BA permits, and why:
Hijab: permitted. Reason: â€˜not practical for staff to conceal beneath their uniformsâ€™.
Turban: permitted. Reason: â€˜not practical for staff to conceal beneath their uniformsâ€™.
Kara: permitted. Reason: â€˜not practical for staff to conceal beneath their uniformsâ€™.
Cross (this one literally the size of a 5p piece): not permitted. Reason: it is contrary to BAâ€™s policy of â€˜respecting and understanding other people’s beliefsâ€™ … Cranmer understands that Miss Eweidaâ€™s appeal is sometime this week. If she loses, His Grace has a solution. He has in his possession a very large silver cross; it is fully 10 inches in length. He is prepared to loan this to Miss Eweida, and BA could not possibly object to her wearing it because â€˜it would not be practical for her to conceal beneath her uniformâ€™.
It’s really interesting thinking about this in the light of the fuss this week over a Muslim teaching assistant wearing a veil. It strikes me that if we argue that Miss Eweida can wear her cross, then surely Aishah Azmi should be able to wear her veil, unless it got in the way of her doing her job. Frankly, a woman wearing a veil normally doesn’t worry me in the slightest, but if it meant that children in her class (who she shouldn’t have to wear a veil in front of anyway as they’re pre-pubescent) couldn’t be taught because they couldn’t understand her, then it strikes me that wearing a veil does technically get in the way of doing what she’s paid to do, in a way that wearing a turban, a cross or the hijab doesn’t.
Bottom line – we should defend the right of anybody to wear items of religious symbolism as long as they don’t get in the way of the job that they are paid to do. I fail to see how wearing a small cross stops someone checking in a passenger’s luggage.