During the 13 years of the Blair government, a considerable number of laws were passed whose effect was to interfere with Christians, their organisations, and their right to express their beliefs verbally, in print, or by preaching in public.
This was quite intentional. I remember one cabinet minister boasting that the churches had better start hiring lawyers. To understand the point of that remark, it is necessary to remember that only the rich can go to law in the UK, and that most people would be terrified to be dragged into court. As Ezra Levant has pointed out, “the process is the punishment”. Even if found “innocent”, the process of being dragged through the courts for months and years, at huge cost in fees, is a punishment itself. The threat of it is often enough to cause people to comply with the demands, legal or not.
Since I am a Christian living in the UK, I am naturally somewhat concerned. I don’t really want the police knocking at my door for what I say here. I don’t think I am in any great danger, but then I don’t really post on contemporary issues. But preachers have been accosted by gay activists acting as agent-provocateurs, demanding to know whether they agree that homosexuality is a sin, and then reported to the police when they give the biblical teaching and arrested. A bishop has been “questioned” for failing to declare clearly enough that he rejects the bible in this area. And so on.
The change of government has not stopped the process. Today I learn from the September issue of Evangelicals Now that Premier Radio, the only Christian radio station in the UK, has been taking an interest in the issue of freedom of speech that is resulting from this. Since 2008 they have been researching the question of Christian marginalisation, prompted by statements by high-profile Christians in the mass media. The station is very mainstream and inoffensive, but has had consistent difficulties with the authorities.
It is running a campaign — freedomofthecross.com — asking the public to share how they have seen the Christian faith marginalised. … Premier Christian Radio was refused permission to broadcast an advert calling on Christians to report any experience of Christian marginalisation in the workplace.
It is ironic that even investigating the subject is apparently not permitted. The station has applied for a judicial review; but since the judges were also purged by the last government, it may be doubted whether this will achieve much.
Let us pray that this intolerance and bigotry may cease, and peace prevail.