Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

How does EU court ruling affect atheists?

The European Court of Human Rights judgment allowing Nadia Eweida's appeal must seem reasonable to anyone who is liberal enough to accept that a person's views, however much one doesn't share them, must be respected (Online, January 15).

This is as long as there is no adverse effect on those for whom the reality of equal treatment has been a long-fought battle.

The rejection of the other three appeals confirms that the correct balance has been struck.

However, as an atheist, I am minded to wonder whether I would be permitted on the basis of this judgment to weara distinctive trinket clearly demonstrating my belief in science over metaphysics.

I have an odd feeling that the loophole I might face, were I to bring a similar case would be that the judgment does not apply, because my belief is not of the religious variety.

Atheists do not have a history of complaining legally about the astonishing imposition of religion upon their day-to-day lives.

They get on with life without recourse to the courts and put up with the irrationality they perceive around them.

The time may be near, however, for this to be tested, if only, with due respect to the legal process, to see exactly what the law is on the subject.

BARRY BUTLER

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