November 24, 2006

British Airways Concedes To Common Sense, Allows Cross

Nadia Eweida

In a small victory for religious expression for Christians, BA's CEO capitulated to common sense and public outcry:
British Airways backed down over its ban on workers wearing the cross after a hurricane of criticism.

Airline chief Willie Walsh ordered a rethink of the rule that barred check-in worker Nadia Eweida from wearing a tiny cross at work.

The airline had faced four days of angry condemnation from an overwhelming alliance of Cabinet ministers, 100 MPs, 20 Church of England bishops and, finally, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Rowan Williams called its stance 'deeply offensive' and threatened to sell the Church of England's £6.6million holding of BA shares.

Just five hours later, the airline capitulated. Chief executive Mr Walsh, the driving force behind BA's determination to stop Miss Eweida wearing the cross, said it will look at ways its rules could be adapted 'to allow symbols of faith to be worn openly’.
For background on Nadia Eweida and the cross controversy, check out this Daily Mail story. Belatedly, the Archbishop of Canterbury rediscovered some spine and challenged BA's policy:
Dr Williams, who had come under fire for taking a BA flight to Rome on Tuesday, spoke out as the row began to overshadow his talks with Pope Benedict.

He then raised the stakes further in the dispute by threatening to sell the £6.6million worth of shares that the Church of England holds in BA.

Dr Williams said: 'If BA is really saying or implying that the wearing of a cross in public is a source of offence, then I regard that as deeply offensive and, in a society where religious liberty and the expression of religious commitment is free, I regard it as something really quite serious.'

The Archbishop added: 'If they're saying that it's to do with matters of health and safety, I would question whether that is a sensible kind of regulation, whether in fact there really is a problem here, and I would ask them to look very seriously at this, given the enormous reaction of dismay that's been caused in the Christian community.'
Notice the difference in reaction from the offended Christians and, well. . .you know. Boycotts and divestment, not beheadings and destruction.

Perhaps this uproar of indignation can serve as a more non-violent and certainly effective way of dealing with perceived offense and disagreement with policy, not the sort of childish whining and brutish violence often recently seen on display during the Cartoon Riots and Pope Rage.



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