Conservative Christians in the UK believe they are prevented by proposed legislation from openly explaining what they believe the Bible says about sexual conduct. Christian Concern for our Nation (CCFON) is petitioning HM the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House of Lords http://www.ccfon.org/. CLC believes the sanctity of life and freedom of speech are under immediate threat by measures in the Coroners and Justice Bill.
Barrister Andrea Minichiello Williams is one of the sources of “inspiration and support for this enabling and empowering outlet” which exists “to serve the Church by providing information to enable Christians to stand up publicly against a tide of unchristian legal and political changes” bringing together “focused legal, policy and media expertise and strategic intervention in order to secure favourable legal and political outcomes.”
The Christian Legal Centre, founded by Andrea Minichiello Williams, is a sister organisation “that offers legal support to Christians facing issues of biblical freedom.” Andrea Minichiello Williams says that buried deep within the Bill is a clause which could prevent any Christian openly stating what the Bible says, and Christians have believed for 2,000 years, about issues such as homosexual conduct or even marriage. Church leaders and individual Christians answering questions about their faith could well find themselves the subject of a police investigation and arrest just for speaking and living according to the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and marriage.
One person’s biblical freedom and unchristian legal change is another person’s salvation. LGBT Christians have welcomed the protection from abuse offered by government legislation. Christians who support CCFON are out of step not only with the huge majority of people in UK society in their attitude towards sexual conduct but also with the majority of Christians.
Nevertheless, it’s reasonable to ask if these conservatives have a just case. The clause in the bill does not further erode individual freedom. It makes clear the intention of the original legislation. That legislation protects both people of faith and LGBT people from discrimination and negative attitudes at work. It is about equality and diversity at work. The cases referred to on the CCFON web site are primarily cases at work.
Conservative Christians say they want freedom – preserve the right is how the petition puts it – “to, discuss, criticise and urge to refrain from certain forms of sexual conduct or practices.” This means they want the freedom, at work, to quote Bible verses at and be critical about the relationships and loves of LGBT people. The law says this is prejudicial to the well-being of LGBT people at work and you can’t do it.
CCFON, CFC and Andrea Minichiello Williams represent a tiny minority not just of people in this country but of Christians. They are not representative and yet they want an exemption for themselves which will allow them to be abusive in the work place to LGBT people. They are unable to recognise that their so-called Christian values and teaching about marriage and sexuality are deeply offensive to the majority.
They believe there will be “devastating consequences” to Christian witness and integrity in the UK if the Bill goes through Parliament. The tragedy is, they are the groups causing devastating consequences now. They are undermining the church’s mission and witness by making the church look homophobic, deeply prejudiced, obsessed with sex and negative.