Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 12:20 (GMT)
The British Airways employee disciplined for wearing a silver cross necklace and the Sheffield magistrate who resigned after refusing to place youngsters with same-sex adopting couples called on church leaders last weekend to speak more forcibly against work discrimination.
Nadia Eweida, 56, and 63-year-old Andrew McClintock - whose cases are before the courts - made their appeal at the annual conference of the Christian Peoples Alliance party in London.
With her claim for religious discrimination still before an Employment Tribunal in Reading, Ms Eweida said she would have been dismissed by BA if it were not for the press attention.
Last year she was sent home with no pay after BA said a silver cross the size of a 5p coin contravened internal uniform policy and might offend other British Airways employees.
Despite changing its policy after a national outcry, the company held back Ms Eweida's pay and threatened to send a huge legal bill for costs and damages. BA says its stance is right in law, but it had only changed its internal policy as a result of negative publicity.
Ms Eweida said that now her case was not in the headlines, BA had chosen not to settle her back-pay and had sought to gag her.
She urged church leaders to speak up so other Christians didn't face work-place discrimination: "I have to resort to law to establish Christian liberty in the workplace, but it is vital that church leaders continue to make their voice heard.
"British Airways bends backwards to be politically correct towards other religions. They just forgot there are also Christians working for them. I'm an Anglo-Egyptian Christian and in Egypt, where Christians experience persecution, to wear the Cross is second nature and widely respected.
"BA is sensitive to Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and those of other faith groups and all I want is the same right to wear the symbol of my faith. "
In his remarks, Andrew McClintock said his case was going to the Court of Appeal and that it was vital for church leaders to highlight that where possible, it was in the interest of a child facing adoption that they should be placed with a mother and father.
He explained to CPA delegates that he had to resign as a JP in the family courts as it would be wrong in conscience to place youngsters with same-sex couples.
"Placing children with gay couples is an experiment in social science because it is not known what kind of impact it may have on them. By legalising homosexual adoption, Labour are not making paramount the best interest of the child," he said.
Mr McClintock has resigned from his role as a JP in the family courts. His stance and that of Ms Eweida won wide applause from party members and the backing of CPA Leader, Cllr Alan Craig, who is an opposition leader on Newham Borough Council.