E.U. Equality Laws Threaten to Empower Atheists to Sue More

Proposed equality laws by the European Union threaten to make it easier for atheists to file lawsuits against any organization offering public service if they are offended by a displayed religious symbol or by a religious act.

Something as conventional as a crucifix hanging on a hospital wall or a prayer before a meal given at a church-related ministry could be reason enough for a lawsuit under the proposed equality law, according to U.K.-based The Daily Mail.

On the other hand, Christians can also sue groups offering public services if they are offended by a display.

Critics warn that the laws are so broad and vague that they could produce a slew of civil complaint cases by anyone claiming that they are offended by an organization.

The Church of England has voiced concern, according to The Daily Mail, that hospices and charities for the homeless may face legal action if people complain they feel offended by religious practice or symbols.

Simon Calvert, deputy director of public affairs for the Christian Institute, warns that the proposed E.U. laws would "open a Pandora's box."

"What about Gideon Bibles in hotel bedrooms? Would councils ban nativity scenes from Christmas displays," he asked.

The proposal is part of a new directive to abolish discrimination by businesses on the basis of sexual orientation, belief, age or disability.