Wednesday 23 December 2009

Conservative Christian desperation 2: In the UK

The Christian Institute

The Christian Institute reports that Michael Foster MP, a Government equalities minister, when asked whether the Equality Bill would lead to legal action between churches and atheists, admitted that churches should be “lining up” lawyers to defend themselves against secular legal challenges. Both sides “need to be lining up (their lawyers) by now,” he said, adding: “The secularists should have the right to challenge the church and if the church’s argument is good enough – which I believe it is – then the church should win through.”

The Christian Institute claims that the Equality Bill will dramatically shrink the liberty of churches to insist their staff’s conduct is in accordance with the Bible’s teaching on sexual behavior and will lead to legal action against the church. A Christian Institute report claims to reveal the extent to which Christians are being marginalised by equality and diversity laws which leave them the first to be punished and the last to be protected.

The Christian Institute is a self-appointed conservative voice on these issues. Changing Attitude is an alternative Christian voice, and we disagree. We value the legal changes being made by the Government which will afford greater protection to LGBT Christians, protecting us from abusive language and behavior towards our sexuality and from abusive uses of the Bible and so-called ‘orthodox’ Christian teaching.

LifeSite News

Hilary White writing for LifeSite News adds to the hysteria by reporting that Christians in the UK are warning that the government’s equality legislation will drive Christian believers out of public life. Some Christians, Hilary, a minority who are homophobic and anti-gay equality fear this. Many other Christians will feel liberated by the legislation and be more able to participate in public – and church – life.

I hate the arrogance of the way UK conservative Christians report their views as being held by all Christians as much as I hate the way in which some African Christians lie so easily. People only need to lie and distort the truth when they feel threatened. Conservatives are clearly feeling very threatened indeed. Do they have a case? Are all Christians disturbed by the proposed legislation and joining a campaign including all Christians? No. It is the prejudice of a small minority of conservative Christians that is under threat.


  1. Colin-
    People can assert, without backing statistics, that this or that is 'a small minority' or 'a large majority' till the cows come home. It very likely is a small minority of the people that people on your side of the fence speak to, which is why the fence ought not to be there - that would make people better informed and take a more rounded comprehensive view.

    Every survey known to me shows that within the one denomination you belong to (leaving aside the many others) evangelicals are the largest and least-shrinking party. Of other groups, pentecostals and charismatics are the largest-growing. These findings are re-confirmed repeatedly and make me wonder where your 'small minority' assertion comes from. Also (though I am no lover at all of the way the press write what their readers apparently want to hear: this shows no integrity) the Daily Mail clearly has a large audience and good sales figures.

    Minority and majority are irrelevant. The minority is not always wrong, nr the mmajority always right. Since you agree with this point, I do not understand why you find it relevant to refer to minorities at all, let alone 'minorities' for which no statistics are given.

    best wishes, Christopher Shell

  2. Christopher, I'm sure Colin can speak for himself, but I think you miss the point. Colin's not arguing that a majority of Christians would identify themselves as liberal. He's arguing that most Christians do not take the hard-line anti-gay approach that the Christian Institute favours. This includes most evangelicals and pentecostals. (I could cite, for instance, research regularly carried out on behalf of Stonewall which shows that people under 40 who regularly attend church are *more* likely to be accepting of gay people and their rights than those who don't attend church).

    Further, the CI represents itself hubristically as speaking for Christians in general, which it most certainly does not. I think Colin is entirely right to point out that its view is shared only by a minority of Christians in this country.

  3. Chloe, I'm glad that you are putting the focus on statistical information. It is my mission to question the non-statistical (and often nothing-but-ideological) approach that so often passes for serious thought. I'd be immensely grateful for the Stonewall figures you refer to. Your last comment on the 'minority' also needs statistical backing. We cetrtainly should not say 'I think' this or that, unless we are prepared to put the figures on the table. Great that you are serious about getting at the truth. CS