Wakefield District Housing (WDH) snur i saken om elektrikeren Colin Atkinsons kors. Ledelsen i den statsstøttede boligorganisasjonen har fått massiv kritikk for å ha innkalt Atkinson til disiplinærhøring og truet ham med sparken fordi han nektet å fjerne et lite kors fra dashbordet i firmabilen sin. WDH krevde korset fjernet fordi det angivelig kan krenke folk eller antyde at organisasjonen er kristen, noe ledelsen mener bryter med organisasjonens mangfolds- og inkluderingspolitikk, men da også ledere for landets religiøse minoriteter fordømte organisasjonens åpenbare forskjellsbehandling, bestemte ledelsen seg for å snu.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey had described the 64-year-old grandfather’s plight as ‘scandalous’ and Housing and Planning Minister Grant Shapps said WDH’s action was ‘wrong’.
Not ashamed: Christian electrician Colin Atkinson has won his battle to display a cross on the dash of his van

Not ashamed: Christian electrician Colin Atkinson has won his battle to display a cross on the dash of his van

Last night Lord Carey said: ‘I’m so glad. All that was needed was a little bit of compassion and understanding. Where there is a bit of common sense we can find a resolution.’
WDH caved in and agreed to let Mr Atkinson display his cross in an effort to end the embarrassing row.

The U-turn came at a ‘confidential and unminuted’ meeting between Mr Atkinson, his Unite union rep Terry Cuncliffe, WHD executive director of people Gillian Pickersgill and a senior manager at the organisation’s headquarters in Castleford, West Yorkshire, on Wednesday.

During the hour-long meeting WDH managers put a series of proposals to Mr Atkinson – all of which would allow him publicly to display the cross

WDHs likeverd- og mangfoldsjef, Jayne O`Connell, hevdet opprinnelig at Atkinson ble bedt om å fjerne korset fordi organisasjonen har inntatt et nøytralt standpunkt og at deres offiselle holdning er at det er nødvendig å være respektfulle overfor alle synspunkter og religioner, men at ansatte har rett til å demonstrere sin personlige overbevisning med ytre symboler så lenge de er “diskrete”. Organisasjonens ledelse ble imidlertid beskyldt for rent hykleri ettersom de tillater Atkinsons sjef, Denis Doody, å ha en plakat med drapsmannen Che Guevara og marxistiske slagord fullt synlig for både ansatte og publikum, og sier seg villige til å la ansatte bruke det ansiktstildekkende muslimske plagget niqab/burka dersom det ikke er til hinder for vedkommendes arbeidsoppgaver. Likeledes tillater organisasjonen en muslimsk ansatt å ha innrammede koranvers oppslått på kontorveggen.

– Urettferdigheten i dette er enkel å se for alle bortsett fra likhetsbyråkratene, sier Mike Judge fra Christian Institute, en av de kristne organisasjonene som har støttet Atkinson. Saken er for øvrig en av mange lignende tilfeller hvor kristne mener at deres frihet har blitt innskrenket som følge av den tidligere Labour-regjeringens omstridte Likhetslov.

Mr Atkinson is expected formally to agree to WDH’s plan that will allow him to display his cross next week.

He told the Mail: ‘I just want this all over so I can get back to work and provide for my wife and family.

‘This is important. Christians across the country are being persecuted because of their faith.
‘Christians across the country are being persecuted because of their faith’

‘I did not ask for this fight but I have been forced to join it.

‘I have every right to manifest my faith. That is all I have done.

‘I have not bashed anybody with my Bible. I simply want to be able to demonstrate my faith.’

Yesterday WDH declined to comment on the climb-down. Lord Carey thanked the Mail for championing Christians’ right to worship.

He said: ‘I am grateful to the Daily Mail for highlighting this case. Christians in this country are under pressure.’

Former Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe, a devout Christian, added: ‘At last, a victory for common sense and tolerance. It is hugely symbolic that this has come so close to Good Friday.’

Daily Mail: Hallelujah! An Easter victory as Christian electrician wins battle to display cross in his van