A teenage girl took her school to the High Court today, claiming that it had discriminated against her Christian faith by banning her from wearing a “purity ring”.
Lydia Playfoot told the court in London that she had been unlawfully prevented from wearing the silver ring symbolising her belief in chastity before marriage.
And she warned that other girls are facing “an ethical and moral crisis” because of a lack of guidance.
She was challenging the decision by Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, to bar her and a number of other girls from wearing the rings because jewellery was outlawed under the uniform code.
She argued that the school did allow Muslim and Sikh students to wear headscarfs and religious bracelets as manifestations of their faith.
The 16-year-old said that, although she was “proud” to be a pupil at the non-denominational school, “it does not afford equal rights to Christians”.
But Leon Nettley, the headmaster, denied there had been any discrimination, saying that the purity ring “is not a Christian symbol, and is not required to be worn by any branch within Christianity”.
In his statement, he said that a Muslim girl had been permitted to wear a headscarf “as it was understood this was considered to be a requirement of her faith” and the school believed to do otherwise would unlawfully breach her human rights.
Two Sikh girls had been allowed to wear a Kara bangle on a similar basis.
In the case of the purity ring, however, the school had concluded it was “just one of several methods of publicising a specific view within the Christian faith,” he said.
The judicial review, which was backed by the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, is seen by many Christians as an important test of their religious rights in an increasingly secular society.
Messages of support have comes from bishops, Muslim groups and politicians, including David Willetts, the shadow Education Secretary.
However, the National Secular Society warned that the action was symptomatic of increasing pressure by religious groups on schools.
Read the rest here.
Those darn Christians. First they ask to wear rings with Bible verses supporting chastity; next thing you know, they’re beheading people. Gotta nip ’em in the bud.
(Should I add here, for people who aren’t familiar with my blog, that I have no problem with Christians or chastity rings, but have a big problem with societies that pander to all religions but for Judaism and Christianity?)
UPDATE: I’ve had a night to think about what bugged me so much about this story, and it’s that old moral equivalence thing again. Britain, once a society sure enough of itself to broadcast throughout the world the moral values it believed were right, now is afraid to allow a girl to display a blatant symbol for chastity.
The fact is, in any culture, chastity is a virtue — and it should especially be so in England, which is having an explosion of teen abortions. A blanket proscription against jewelry, whether everyone can be an obvious statist clone or to minimize the risk of gang jewelry, reflects an administrative refusal to think about what virtues a society must encourage for its own collective sanity.