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Friday, 22 June 2007

Silver Ring in the High Court

Say a prayer for Lydia Playfoot who is today taking her school to the High Court over her claim to the right to wear the Silver Ring as a symbol of Christian purity.

The ‘Silver Ring Thing’ is a Christian education project aimed at helping teenage girls value themselves, make right choices about their futures, and reduce Britain's ever-increasing rise in sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies amongst teenagers.

The case is being brought under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which reads:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship support Lydia in her challenge. Lydia will be represented today in Court by barrister Paul Diamond, who also represents Nadia of the ‘British Airways 'Cross' case.

The Governors at Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, banned Lydia from wearing her small silver ring, saying that it broke the school’s uniform policy. However, any "public order" argument on this basis is somewhat undermined by the fact that their uniform policy allows Muslims to wear headscarves and Sikhs to wear Kara bracelets. As Lydia has said, the school's uniform policy is 'discriminatory' as it allows all faiths, except Christians, to wear items symbolic of their beliefs.

This is an important case which highlights the general trend in public life that bans all forms of discrimination except discrimination against Christians. It is a good day for the case to be held as it is the feast of St John Fisher and St Thomas More. May their prayers aid Lydia and her barrister!
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