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Representing GodChristian Legal Activism in Contemporary England$
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Méadhbh McIvor

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691193632

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691193632.001.0001

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Grace and Law

Grace and Law

Chapter:
(p.52) Chapter Two Grace and Law
Source:
Representing God
Author(s):

Méadhbh McIvor

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691193632.003.0003

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.

Keywords:   Christian Legal Centre, Reformed Christianity, religious dress, religious jewellery, uniform policies, anti-Christian bias, Christ Church, English law, material religion

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