Christians under attack as Crematorium now has to remove Cross from window

Crematorium removes glass window featuring 4ft cross to avoid offending other religions (but don’t worry, they’ll have a MOBILE crucifix for Christians)

By Eddie Wrenn
Last updated at 3:11 PM on 28th February 2012

Christians have reacted in fury after a managers at a crematorium decided to remove a 4ft cross from the windows to avoid offending other religions.

The giant window at Haycombe Crematorium, in Bath, Somerset, will be ripped out and replaced with a clear glass pane as part of a £140,000 facelift.

It is the last remaining Christian symbol in the chapel and bosses say they will now make a ‘mobile’ cross available for mourners to use if they wish.

But the decision has been met with a furious response from campaigners who claim it is another example of Christianity being sidelined in modern society.

Hugh Mackay, 82, a former Christian missionary in Nigeria who lives just ten minutes from the crematorium, branded the decision an ‘attack’.

He said: ‘It seems there is a determined secular campaign to try and obliterate our religious heritage in our country.

‘The council says it is not to upset people of all faiths but I’ve talked to Hindus, Muslims and Jews and none of them have ever complained.

‘They all respect the cross as a symbol of the Christian faith.

‘Some of us feel very strongly that this is a deliberate attempt by the council to downplay our Christian heritage and that we should make our views known.’

Bath and North East Somerset Council announced the changes to the crematorium as part of a £140,000 overhaul of the crematorium and cemetery.

The refurbishment, which has not yet been finished, is the biggest improvement to the facilities since the chapel opened in 1961.

The window, which features the 4ft white cross and offers views across the Bath countryside, will be replaced with a plain pane.

Staff have been told they will be given a mobile cross which can be put up or taken down, depending on the religious beliefs of those using the crematorium.

Hugh Mackay, 82, said this was ‘a deliberate attempt to downplay Christian heritage’

Angry campaigners have already amassed more than 100 signatures against the plans.

Edgar Evans, 79, from Bath, a retired patients advocate for the NHS, said: ‘The window and cross provides comfort for mourners that look at it.

‘It just seems that it is another attack on our Christian culture – while claiming they want to refurbish the existing facilities.

‘I believe in prayers before council meetings and I believe we should have the cross at the centre of our war memorials for those who gave their lives.

‘We remain a Christian country but this is an example of creeping secularisation.’

The petition, which will be presented to Bath and North East Somerset Council chief executive John Everitt, calls for a new, similar cross to be installed in the window.

Council bosses stressed that the decision to remove the cross had been taken after consultation with funeral directors and local clergy.

A spokesman maintained Haycombe should be a setting suitable for people of all faiths and religious beliefs.

He said: ‘Following consultation with local funeral directors, ministers and taking into account our own feedback from customers, the consensus was that the chapel should be a setting where all faiths, including those who are not religious at all, can adapt the surroundings to suit the wishes of their loved ones.

‘In line with this consensus, the replacement window will be plain.

‘The council’s bereavement services team will discuss with all families and funeral directors ways to provide a suitable environment for any service.

‘This could include providing removable crosses or any other symbol that a family feel is appropriate.’


Gary McFarlane alleged that counselling service Relate refused to accommodate his religious beliefs
Gary McFarlane, 48, a former elder in a church in Hanham, Bristol, lost his fight at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in London to prove discrimination by the relationship charity Relate in 2009.
McFarlane lost his job after refusing to provide sex therapy to gay couples has failed in a further attempt to prove religious discrimination by his former employers.

Nadia Eweida, 58, lost her appeal against a ruling which cleared British Airways of discrimination by stopping her wearing a cross visibly at work.
The tribunal, held in 2010, was told Miss Eweida was sent home in September 2006 over the display of the small silver cross on a chain around her neck, which she wore as a personal expression of her faith.
Hannah Adewole complained that wearing trousers goes against her religious beliefs.
Mrs Adewole, 45, cited a command in the Bible that women should not wear men’s clothing, and claimed she was banned from wearing scrub dresses in theatre.
She pointed out that Muslim midwives are allowed to vary official uniform with their own hijabs and tops.
She sued Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust in 2011 for religious discrimination and harassment, but lost the case.

A homosexual couple who successfully sued the Christian owners of a hotel who refused them a bed are withdrawing a claim for more compensation, it was revealed today.
Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall had said Cornwall B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull were let off lightly and had called for their £3,600 damages to be increased.

Earlier this month, Christians and politicians reacted with dismay after a judge overturned centuries of custom by outlawing a town hall in Devon from putting prayers on the formal agenda.

Atheist former councillor Clive Bone started the case against Bideford town council in July 2010, claiming he had been ‘disadvantaged and embarrassed’ when religious prayers were recited at formal meetings.
Also this month, Celestina Mba, 57, lost her claim for constructive dismissal after a judge ruled her employer could make her work on the Sabbath.
The Baptist mother-of-three claims she was forced from her job caring for disabled children after clashing with bosses over the issue.
But the tribunal ruled that keeping Sunday as a day of rest was not a ‘core component’ of Christianity.

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