Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Christian Girl looses battle to wear purity ring at School!
I've been following with interest the story of Lydia Playfoot, the 16-year-old girl whose school threatened to expel her if she would not remove her silver ring. The ring represented a commitment Lydia had made, as a Christian, to stay pure and chaste, and not to enter into sexual relations until marriage. The ring symbolised both her commitment and her Faith.
The wearing of a small, discreet silver ring was deemed by the school to be in breech of the uniform policy, and so she was asked to remove it. Lydia argued that this ring was a legitimate expression of her faith and did not see it appropriate to remove it, so she took the matter to the High Court. The High Court ruled on Monday that the School was well within its rights to prohibit the wearing of the ring, and that no violation of rights had occurred.
What's the issue here? At first glance one might argue that the school had a policy, which Lydia freely agreed to when entering the School. Since she freely chooses to go against this, it would seem perhaps appropriate and reasonable to exclude her,....or would it?
I argue that the issue here is a much deeper one than a simple uniform policy, furthermore the threatening of expulsion to an otherwise well behaved, achieving student is neither appropriate nor reasonable despite what the High Court says!
I propose that the policy could only be legitimately carried out to exclude the wearing of the ring if, and only if the policy was consistently carried out across all people of all backgrounds. The policy, however, makes allowance for Muslims and Sikhs to wear visible signs of their faith it doesn't, however, cater for Christianity. Furthermore, common sense should be employed with the enforcing of any policy in a pastoral situation. Life isn't straightforward, cut and dry, one size fits all, -as we all know! There needs to be policies of course, but the way they are enforced should take into account all the factors and contexts.
The High court ruling suggests that since the ring is not an intrinsic part of the Christian Faith, it was not appropriate for her to wear it in school. This disturbs me, first of I would question then, (in this light) how intrinsic, headscarf’s are to Islam, or other symbols are to other faiths? Furthermore, it suggests that the School and the State for that matter, can judge what is deemed intrinsic to somebody's Faith and what isn't?
I would say that, however they try and dress this up this is yet another example of Christians being suppressed for beliefs in the name of a so-called equality! It's ok to be religious in Britain as long as you’re not Christian!