Religious liberty is a fundamental right, but recently we have seen it being downgraded compared to other human rightsDavid Burrowes MP Instead of setting out a list of competing rights, as the Human Rights Act effectively does, there should simply be a new duty on employers or businesses to make “reasonable accommodation” for people’s beliefs, the report suggests.It follows a string of high-profile cases in which the rights of Christians to manifest their beliefs came up against other rules, ranging from company uniform policies to laws preventing discrimination against gay people.In perhaps the most high profile example, Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk who was sent home because her cross contravened the airline’s uniform policy at the time, took her discrimination claim to the European Court of Human Rights and won.But as part of the same case, the court ruled that Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was forbidden from wearing a cross at work had not suffered discrimination because in her case the reason given by the hospital was a “health and safety” issue. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. While the Strasbourg court also threw out a challenge by Lillian Ladele, a registrar who asked not to conduct civil partnership ceremonies because of her traditionalist beliefs, two judges offered a dissenting minority judgment warning of the danger of Christians’ rights being sidelined.Last month the Court of Appeal in Belfast upheld a discrimination finding against Ashers, a bakery run by an evangelical Christian family, for cancelling an order for a cake bearing the political slogan “Support Gay Marriage”. The case is now set to go to the Supreme Court.The report argues that, in the English courts at least, there is mounting evidence of a “growing preference” for putting the right to manifest a religious beliefs second to the right not to be discriminated against for sexual orientation.It argues that such cases are part of a wider trend towards the “relentless privatisation of religious beliefs”.Other faiths too, especially little known minority sects, are being mistreated or even branded “insufficiently British” for sticking to traditional ways of life, it adds.But it argues that a new rule of “reasonable accommodation” – similar to principles already applied in catering for people with disabilities – could sidestep such bitter confrontations.“Examples of reasonable accommodation might include public swimming-pools reserving special hours for women whose religion prohibits mixed swimming; or a hospital offering menus without pork to accommodate the dietary practices of Jewish and Muslim patients; or an employer making reasonable effort to rearrange work timetables to permit religious employees to observe religious holidays,” it explains.“What distinguishes the doctrine from indirect discrimination is that the employee would no longer bear the burden of proof – he would not need to show that a rule or requirement puts him at a disadvantage.“Instead, the employee need only make a request that his religious beliefs or practices be accommodated, and the burden of proof rests with the employer to assess whether reaching an accommodation would impose an unreasonable degree of hardship.”David Burrowes, the Tory MP and Chairman of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, said: “Religious liberty is a fundamental right, but recently we have seen it being downgraded compared to other human rights.“This ResPublica report delivers a strong set of recommendations for Government in light of the future British Bill of Rights, which would be the perfect vehicle for underlining the UK’s commitment to reasonable accommodation of religious belief.“I encourage the Government to consider these recommendations carefully.” Christians and followers of others faiths should have new protections enshrined in law to enable them to “reasonably” opt out of tasks at work which go against their beliefs, a new report published in Parliament concludes.The paper, by the influential conservative-leaning think-tank ResPublica, blames existing equalities legislation for stirring up divisions between different minority groups and even spreading “political extremism”.It urges ministers to use a Tory election manifesto pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new “Bill of Rights” as an opportunity to develop a new way to protect religious believers at work.