September 7, 2006
How Britain is turning Christianity into a crime
by Melanie Phillips
How long will it be before Christianity becomes illegal in Britain? This is no longer the utterly absurd and offensive question that on first blush it would appear to be.
An evangelical Christian campaigner, Stephen Green was arrested and charged last weekend with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
So what was this behaviour? Merely trying peacefully to hand out leaflets at a gay rally in Cardiff.
So what was printed on those leaflets that was so threatening, abusive or insulting that it attracted the full force of the law?
Why, none other than the majestic words of the 1611 King James Bible.
The problem was that they were those bits of the Bible which forbid homosexuality. The leaflets also urged homosexuals to “turn from your sins and you will be saved”.
But to the secular priests of the human rights culture, the only sin is to say that homosexuality is a sin.
Admittedly, Mr Green is not everyone’s cup of tea; other Christians regard him as extreme. But our society is now so upside-down that, by doing nothing more than upholding a fundamental tenet of Christianity, he was treated like a criminal.
And yet at the same time, the police are still studiously refusing to act against Islamic zealots abusing British freedom to preach hatred and incitement against the West.
The Bible is the moral code that underpins our civilisation. Yet the logic of the police action against Mr Green surely leads ultimately to the inescapable conclusion that the Bible itself is “hate speech” and must be banned.
This bizarre state of affairs has arisen thanks to our human rights culture which automatically champions minorities against the majority.
As a result, no one can say anything disobliging about a minority without being accused of prejudice or discrimination.
The problem for Christianity is that it holds that homosexuality is wrong. This, however, it is no longer allowed to say because it treats a minority practice as sinful.
So it can no longer uphold a central tenet of its own faith without being accused of prejudice.
This dilemma is currently tearing apart the Church of England itself. But it is also turning our whole notion of justice on its head.
Author Lynette Burrows received a warning from the Metropolitan Police merely for suggesting that gay people did not make ideal adoptive parents.
The former leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, also had his collar felt by police after he said that homosexuality was harmful.
Notably, in his case the matter was swiftly dropped. If there’s one thing that terrifies our PC police even more than being called homophobic, it’s being called Islamophobic Ã¢â‚¬â€ even though Islamic fundamentalism poses a real threat to the human rights of gay people.
If this wasn’t all so frightening, it would be hilarious. Christians, by contrast, get very different treatment.
An elderly evangelical preacher, Harry Hammond, was convicted of a public order offence after he held up a poster calling for an end to homosexuality, lesbianism and immorality.
Although he had been the victim of a physical attack when a crowd poured soil and water over him, he alone was prosecuted.
And Lancashire pensioners Joe and Helen Roberts were interrogated by police for 80 minutes about their ‘homophobic’ views after they had merely asked their local council to display Christian literature alongside gay rights leaflets in civic buildings.
Bullying Christianity is fast becoming the creed that dare not speak its name. It is being written out of the national script by ideologues seeking to hasten its disappearance.
Yesterday, the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said in a radio interview that Britain was “no longer a Christian country” because people no longer went to church.
Local authorities and government bodies are systematically bullying Christianity out of existence by refusing to fund Christian voluntary groups on the grounds that to be Christian means that they are not committed to ‘diversity’.
Thus local and central government refused to replicate the vocational training provided by the Highfields Happy Hens Centre in Derbyshire for young offenders and pupils excluded from school despite its impressive record of success, simply because it was run with a clear Christian ethos.
Norfolk council objected to the inclusion of the word ‘Christian’ in the constitution of Barnabas House in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, which houses homeless young men.
And the Housing Corporation, the major funder of Romford YMCA in Essex which looks after hundreds of needy young people, objected to the fact that only Christians were board members Ã¢â‚¬â€ which meant, it said, that the YMCA was not capable of ‘diversity’, even though it was open to all faiths and none.
The ‘diversity’ agenda, in other words, is a fig-leaf for an attack on Christianity.
And to cap it all, we can no longer rely on our future monarch to hold the line, since Prince Charles has said that when he becomes King he will no longer be Defender of the Faith but “defender of faith”.
But Christianity is still the official religion of this country. All its institutions, its history and its culture are suffused with it; Britain would lose its identity, its values and its cohesion without it.
But minority rights are now being wielded against it like a wrecking ball.
What started as a commendable desire to ban hatred of the gay minority has morphed into a hatred of the Christian majority.
Behaviour which was previously considered to transgress the moral norms of the Bible has now instead become the norm Ã¢â‚¬â€ and it is biblical values that are treated as beyond the pale of acceptable behaviour. This is no accident.
The sacred doctrine of human rights Ã¢â‚¬â€ which explicitly sets itself up as the religion for a godless age Ã¢â‚¬â€ is the means by which secularism is steadily attacking the Christian roots of our civilisation, on the basis that religion is inherently unenlightened, prejudiced and divisive.
Christianity has been dethroned as this country’s governing creed on the basis that equality demands equal status for minority faiths and secularism. As a result, it is being marginalised as no more than a quaint cultural curiosity.
It is a process before which the Church of England has long been on its knees, going with the flow of moral and cultural collapse in accordance with the doctrine of multiculturalism Ã¢â‚¬â€ and then wondering why its churches are so empty, while those of uncompromising evangelicals such as Stephen Green are packed to the rafters.
As a result, Christianity is being steadily removed from the public sphere.
Various councils have banned Christmas on the grounds that it is “too Christian” and therefore “offensive” to people of other faiths, and are replacing it with meaningless “winter festivals”.
This attack on Christianity is not merely something that seems straight out of Alice In Wonderland.
It is not merely a threat to freedom of speech and religious expression. It is a fundamental onslaught on the national identity and bedrock values of this country Ã¢â‚¬â€ and as such will destroy those freedoms which Christianity itself first created.