Yesterday's surprise judgement by the Eurpean Court of Human Rights has delivered a genuine coup for Evangelical lobby group Reform.
Although lawyers from Lambeth Palace are still digesting the one hundred and forty three page pronouncement from Strasbourg, and have indicated that there may be grounds for a counter-claim, initial responses seem clear.
As the wearing of religious symbols in the workplace may only be allowed if they are purely decorative and pose no threat to others or raise any health and safety issues, in future all clergy whilst on duty should look like this:
And not like this:
In the first picture, the subject might be a bank manager or a junior sales executive. He is, of course, the chairman of Reform, the Revd Rod Thomas, dressed for work, in full accordance with European directives. In the second picture, both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope are wearing highly flammable robes close to a naked flame in full view of an antagonistic faith symbol. This kind of archane flouting of European Law is now clearly unacceptable, and such scenes (Lambeth's legal questions notwithstanding) will soon be rightly condemned to the scrap-heap of history.
Christian leaders from the Alpha Churches network have joined Richard Dawkins in hailing this "common sense" advance, although Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Scotland's highest place Roman Catholic, reflected that this was only to be expected from a court "steeped in the grotesque subversion of equal rights for foreigners and those who wish to promote same sex marriage".