This is our truth, tell us yours
It may seem as if I am living my life to a long-standing cliché that I am more likely to read an article in the Telegraph than the Guardian these days, but I think it has more to do with the quality of writers each publication is attracting than any move to the right on my part. The Guardian has Bindel, The Telegraph has Magnanti, enough said really. So it was no real surprise to read this well thought out and reasoned article about the “persecution” of Christians in the UK in the Telegraph. The Christian Legal Center are the kind of right-wing pressure group who think putting Christian in their title makes them a legitimate voice. Probably cos the Right Wing Fucknuggets Legal Center would not get invited on the Today programme. A quick look at a few of their concerns shows how little Christianity there is in their outlook.
The influence of radical Islam is growing in the UK and as an ideology it seeks to shape our political and social landscape. From the introduction of Sharia law and Islamic finance to the implications on freedom of speech and women’s rights, the presence of Islamism in the UK has great repercussions for all of us. At Christian Concern we hope to bring awareness of the impact that this may have on the UK and offer a Christian response.
Yup, the Christian Legal Center not only mangle the language in a way that would be a crime in any decent God-fearing country, but seems to think we live under Sharia law. Whilst the EDL may agree anyone who is not a racist will look at their wild claims and back away slowly whilst trying not to make eye contact. It’s interesting they frame this as about women’s rights though, given some of their other concerns.
Since the introduction of the Abortion Act 1967, there have been over 7 million abortions in the UK. This is a tragedy. As well as the loss of life it has led to a general disregard for the sanctity of life in society. In addition, there is accumulating evidence of the serious consequences of abortion on mothers including potential damage to their physical and mental health. At Christian Concern we resist abortion and aim to inform women of its dangers. We believe that every unborn child should have their right to life protected.
Yeah, erm I did read concern for women’s rights earlier didn’t I? There is also a leaping on the Trafficking bandwagon, because these organisations need to make sure the phone rings and the donations keep coming in, or in the case of trafficking, that they can apply to the huge money pit that opens up the moment you other and oppress sex workers. Then there is this on sexual orientation.
Sexual orientation is being given increasing protection under equality legislation. Unfortunately this has led to serious consequences for Christians. Although both religious belief and homosexuality are protected in some ways under equality law, these two strands are often incompatible with one another. We believe that the law is unbalanced in this area, first within the legislation and then worsened in judicial interpretation, favouring the protection of sexual orientation over the protection of religious belief. This has led to Christians losing their jobs after refusing to compromise their beliefs at work, and Christians being stopped from fostering children. At Christian Concern we stand for freedom of conscience and resist legislation that would restrict historic Christian freedoms.
That last sentence says so much about the CLC and what really motivates them. What historic Christian freedoms do they mean? What part of their life is actually impinged on by two people of the same-sex getting married? The answer of course is none, what is actually happening is that cis white middle class hetonormative male privileges are being challenges. Oddly Christianity is not in that list. Who was Jesus? It’s a huge question, and one I am hardly going to answer in a blog, but even those who do not accept his divinity can I hope accept a few basic facts about him. He was not white, he was a labourer, possibly a craftsman, but most certainly someone who never experienced the security of wealth. He belonged to a marginalised community who lived or died at the whims of their rulers. Despite all this he challenged the norms of the day, including those around sex (eating with the sex workers) money and family. Rather than championing the nuclear family he saw it as simply another distraction that might stop people following his message. The historic Christian values the CLC champion have nothing to do with the radical Rabbi who so scared the equivalent to the CLC of his day they had him arrested on trumped-up charges. What the CLC actually mean is we think there was some mythical time when no one challenged our value system, we are calling that Christian and will shout and pout until out voices are privileged over the voices of those who we want silenced. And if we are not given priority we will call it persecution. Isabel Hardman makes another excellent point in her piece for the telegraph.
But Miss Mba’s is the latest in a string of cases that some fear are evidence of the marginalisation and persecution of British Christians. Many are supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), part of the campaign group Christian Concern, which argues that “the nation has largely turned her back on Jesus”. True, Britain is less culturally Christian than it was, but that is very different from saying that the proportion of people with deeply held convictions has decreased. That 1.2 million Britons have taken the Alpha course hardly suggests fading spirituality.
Not just the Alpha course either, Black Churches are thriving, there are communities of lay people and ordained springing up across the country. Ideas like the street pastors are winning plaudits and helping the vulnerable in a very real way. This is what a Christian Country looks like. People motivated by their faith to reach out, to help others, to remember Jesus sat not with those with power, but with those with none.