Grace and Law
Grace and Law
This chapter discusses two of the Christian Legal Centre's (CLC) cases to examine the ways in which theological categories are recognised (or misrecognised) in law. These cases involved a nurse and a schoolgirl seeking exemptions from uniform policies that prevented their wearing a cross necklace and a purity ring respectively. For those at the CLC, these cases functioned as proof of the legal system's discrimination against Christians. By virtue of Reformed Christianity's antinomian approach to religious dress — that is, because Protestants do not usually see religious dress as a requirement — the courts felt justified in denying these claimants the 'right' to wear religious jewellery. The CLC interpreted this as anti-Christian bias. For the members of Christ Church, however, the cases were problematic precisely because they seemed to imply that one needed to wear a cross to be a Christian, thereby conflating grace and law and misrepresenting the faith to outsiders. The chapter uses this theo-legal dispute to explore the ways in which English law constructs material religion as optional and inessential, such that cases aiming to protect the right to wear religious jewellery end up confirming the ease with which restrictions can be placed on it.
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