By BosNewsLife News Center
LONDON, BRITAIN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian electrician who refused to remove a cross from his company van celebrated Easter Sunday, April 23, after hearing he will not be dismissed and can carry the religious, Christian, symbol.
Colin Atkinson of Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) faced disciplinary action one year before his scheduled retirement because one tenant related to the housing firm reportedly complaint the cross “might offend” other faiths.
After intervention by Christian advocacy groups and national media coverage the 64-year-old employee said he was told the company would not dismiss him and that he can keep the cross, attached vertically to the glove compartment of his WDH-vehicle.
“I am delighted that my employers have recognized my right to express my Christian faith by the quiet witness of displaying a small palm cross in my van,” said Colin, who has displaced the cross for 15 years while working for his company in Wakefield area, some 260 kilometers north of London.
“There are millions of people who wear a cross around their neck to bring the re-assurance and comfort, and to me, it’s a constantly reminder of God’s love for us, and how we should love and serve others – regardless of their faith or none,” he told reporters.
WHD denied that public pressure had changed attitudes towards its long-time worker.
“Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) had no intention of sacking Colin Atkinson, the reports are completely misleading. In fact, we have offered a number of compromises over the last 9 months, so we can reach a satisfactory outcome for both Colin and WDH,” it said in a statement.
However the company stressed it wanted to remain neutral. “WDH has always supported the right of our employees to wear religious symbols while at work and support their right to have religious symbols on their desks. Like many other organizations, it is not appropriate for employees to publicly display personal items in our company vehicles.”
Yet, Christian rights activists said the case underscored increased pressure on devoted Christians in Britain, after similar cases were reported in other companies.
“This case shows what can happen when Christians refuse to give in to threats of intimidation and, when faced with a calm rationale by Christians, many right-minded employers will see sense,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, which supports Colin.
“Easter is a time where traditionally, thousands of Christians in this country will be displaying crosses in their windows and in their homes.
The cross is a profound symbol of hope for us all reminding us that God reached out in love, at the cost of His own life, to bring forgiveness and reconciliation to Him. This is the glorious message of the cross,’” Williams added.
Britain is among several Western European countries where devoted Christians have been facing pressure.
In the Netherlands, ticket controller Mickel Aziz was recently told by a court he could no longer wear a cross over his uniform while working his shift on an Amsterdam tram.
Parents in Germany made headlines for facing prison terms after refusing to pay a fine for not allowing their children to attend government-run “sexual education” classes.