Is Christianity actually legal in modern Britain, for practical purposes?

Something really horrible is happening in the United Kingdom.   The mass media are nearly silent.  No politician dares do more than mumble a few hesitant queries.  When I look at my TV, at my newspaper, I see mostly silence.  Bloggers are silent, with the exception of the mighty Cranmer here and here.

The story is simple.  A Christian couple, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, let out rooms in their home for “Bed and Breakfast” accomodation overnight, which they advertise under the name of the “Chymorvah private hotel” in Penzance in Cornwall.  B&B’s are not as popular as they were, but many older people find it a useful way to supplement a meagre income.  They advertised, but indicated that unmarried couples would not be accepted for double rooms.  They were targeted by a gay pressure group, Stonewall, which wrote to them, as if it was a government body, and ‘warned’ them to desist.  When they failed to do so, it sent two sodomites as agents provocateurs.  These made a booking, without indicating that they were a gay couple, and turned up hoping to be turned away.  In fact they were offered two rooms, but instead scampered off and denounced the Christians to the police.  The couple were duly prosecuted under the 2007 Equality Act (Sexual Orientation Regulations), by Stonewall, funded by the government quango the Equalities Commission.  The couple, being old and poor, could not afford to defend themselves but a small Christian charity called the Christian Institute funded the defence. 

They were convicted.  The judge jeered at them as “out of touch”, or so I am told, in phrases that might have come straight from the crooked and bullying trials of the Restoration period, and fined them savagely.   The atheist British Humanist Association shrieked with triumph, of course — the idea that atheists favour liberty of conscience is also “out of date”, it seems.   The establishment media dutifully followed the party line.  The victims have appealed, of course, but since the establishment chooses the judges, and demands that they favour “diversity” — i.e. enforce political correctness — they are unlikely to win.  Meanwhile, I learn from Cranmer, that loads of gays have been trying to book accomodation at that B&B, not to support the victims, but in order to drag them into court again and again until they go bankrupt. 

This is a horrible story.  It’s like reading something from Soviet Russia, or Nazi Germany.  It’s sickening in its contempt for others, its hatred of right, its cynical choice of the weak and poor as victims. 

You can find plenty of “comment” online “justifying” this evil.  But the excuses for interfering with this poor old couple dishonour those making them.  Most of them sound like the sort of self-excusing rhetoric that Goering trotted out at that hideous meeting after Krystallnacht, as “justification” for stealing the insurance payouts.  The basic moral principle — do not do to others what you would not like done to you — is violated again and again.

Curiously, I myself have a story to tell, although I have not been involved.  But I happened to notice an article Should Christian B&Bs accept gay couples on the BBC website (25th Jan. 2011).  Leaving aside the question — surely in a free country, Christians should decide for themselves! — I happened to look at the “comments”: “Below is a selection of your comments”.

To my surprise, not a single comment of those chosen supported the B&B owners.  Each and every one attacked them.  One even pretended to be from a “conservative Christian” — and looked to me as if it had pretty clearly been faked by the editorial staff.

The BBC has a statutory duty of balance.  So I wrote and complained:

The article follows up the case: ” Should Christian hoteliers be forced, by law, to offer hospitality to a gay couple?”  The “selection of comments” posted is 100% in favour of the gays’ rights overriding those of the Christians.

In view of the relative numbers of each in our society, it seems incredible to me that this can possibly reflect either the number of comments made, or public opinion in general. It’s bias, in short.

In view of the bias, I suggest that it would be best to reupload the article minus all comments, with an apology to the public for this behaviour added to the end of the article. The name of the editor who did this should also appear in the apology.

It doesn’t matter what the issue discussed is, or what view we hold on it. What we expect, surely, is honest reporting. This cannot be such.

I got back an anonymous email:

Thank you for your message. The comments posted below the article are a representative sample of the opinions expressed by the many respondents, with nuanced views on the rights of the respective parties.
 
Bruno Beloff, for instance, points out that both the gay couple and the Christian hoteliers “gain by protecting each other’s rights”. Rachel says “it seems only fair that a B&B can state this in their terms and conditions, and it not be seen as infringing upon people’s rights”. And Karen adds that “The guesthouse owners have been judged unfairly”.
 
Several point out that they themselves are Christians, such as Joe, who says: “I disapprove of same sex relationships. If put in the same situation, I’d let them share the bed, and leave it to God to decide if it is right or wrong.”

Readers can look at the comments for themselves and see that not one of them backed the victims.  They can form their opinion about this response.  What honest man would respond like that?   But the BBC too, is part of the establishment.

What is happening here?  It can be summarised simply, as far as I can see: that, with the backing of the judicial system and the establishment, organised gay groups are running a campaign to force Christians out of public life and out of business.  It sounds extraordinary when you say it like that, but what else can it mean? 

It is probably relevant that last year all the Catholic adoption agencies in Britain were forced to close, because they would not undertake to place children with “gay couples”.  Effectively, in modern Britain, Christians cannot run adoption agencies, nor run B&B’s.  That is the law, it seems.  What other businesses will it be found to be illegal for Christians to run next, I wonder? 

Like Jews in medieval Europe, Christians in modern Britain are not allowed to run certain types of business unless they violate their religion.  That’s the law, we are told. 

Isn’t that incredible?

The answer to the question with which I started this post, unbelievably, is “About as legal as it was in Soviet Russia.”  That is, if this really is good law.

The tool used is a law which was passed in 2007.  The then Labour government, which had already passed a series of pro-gay laws, enacted an ‘Equality Act’ known as the Sexual Orientation Regulations.  These made it an offence to “discriminate” against gays.  They were drawn very widely, in order to affect as many people as possible, and equipped with savage penalties. 

This law, like most of the rest, was not a random thing.  Gay actor Ian McKellen openly boasted about a meeting he had with Tony Blair, 3 months before the latter’s election in 1997:

I reeled off Stonewall’s demands, and he nodded, wrote them down and put a tick by them all. Then he said we will do all that.

The scope of this law was so great, and their drafting so intentionally ambiguous, as to stir the torpid mainstream churches to protest, even archbishops, but in vain.  Nor was this the limit of their ambitions: a law criminalising “incitement to religious hatred” which would have destroyed free speech was neutered by a campaign led by stand-up comedians, or it too would have been used against Christians who dared to criticise Islam. One minister boasted that the churches would have to hire lawyers — in a country where no-one can afford to do so.

The law is passed, and the stormtroopers are knocking on the doors.  No doubt there is a list, a plan for all this.  I wonder where bloggers come in that list?  Soon, I would guess, soon.

And the silence is deafening.  Cranmer has spoken up, but I haven’t seen another blogger express any criticism of this appalling business.  No doubt many are too scared.  Tory bloggers fear intimidation, or being accused of “tainting the brand” — as if there was any point to politics when you can’t criticise your foes.  Those who do criticise these evil-doers do indeed risk losing their careers, their jobs, their livelihoods, risk being reduced to beggary.  No campaign of hate is too mean to be directed against those who say The Thing That Cannot Be Said.

I hate having to write this piece.  This blog is not about politics.  But will it be said that “when they came for the Christians who ran hotels, I said nothing because I did not run a hotel”?  Not here it won’t.    It doesn’t matter that it is gays who are running this fascist campaign.  It would be wrong whoever did it, and whoever the victims were.   It is a sick, evil business.

Let us pray for the victims, that God may give them grace, and financial and other support, and deliver them.  Let us also pray that Christians awake, and prepare for persecution.   And let us also pray for the persecutors, that God may have mercy on them too.  For, of course, no good end, even for themselves, is served by such evil.

UPDATE: See also eChurch Christian blog

UPDATE: I note that some of the apologists for this evil try to claim “well other Christians think it’s OK”.   The “other Christians” turn out to be heretics, of course, and the ploy is intended merely to confuse Christian attempts to defend themselves.  The same tactic was used by the KGB when abusing Russian Christians.

UPDATE (28/1/11): The Daily Mail highlights continuing harassment of the Bull’s here.

Standing up for their beliefs has already brought them a hefty fine, a court battle and a string of abusive phone calls.

Now it could cost Christian hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull their business as tormentors take to the internet to scare off customers.

They are apparently posting bogus reviews on travel websites to take revenge for the pair’s stance on gay couples.

The messages claim the hotel is dirty, unfriendly and infested with cockroaches – with one so-called reviewer even comparing it with a Thai prison cell.

The comments were exposed as lies after Mrs Bull, 66, found those who posted them claimed to have stayed in the winter – when the hotel was closed. …

By their fruits ye shall know them.  And sadly even Cranmer has put out a post “it’s not for the believer to impose his morality on the unbeliever”, making the classic debating error of conceding to the enemy what should not be conceded for temporary advantage. 

UPDATE: Cranmer’s Curate faces up to the next question — will Christian bloggers have to risk jail in order to preach against vice?  And if so how?

if the UK segues into a politically correct dictatorship and it becomes illegal for Christian bloggers to denounce false religion, false teaching, idolatry and immorality in the robust way in which the New Testament does, what then? …

How would Christian pirate blogging work out in practice? Presumably it would not be necessary to resort to blogging from ships a la pirate radio in the 1960s or would it?

Furthermore, is it worth risking jail for the sake of blogging? Should Christians engage in illegal internet activity whether as writers or readers?

The answer, of course, is to ask God what we should do.

Curious Presbyterian gives the business its real name: “the gay sting against Christian Bed & Breakfast owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull” and reproduces remarks by Peter Hitchens from the Mail on Sunday:

As I suspected they would, the Christian hotel owners, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, came off worse in their courtroom struggle against Politically Correct Britain.

The law believes such people have no right to follow their own morals, except in private.  The law also now states that homosexual partnerships are equal to heterosexual marriage, which New Labour tried to pretend was not the case.

Perhaps most importantly, the homosexual couple had their action paid for by us.  Britain’s embryonic Thought Police, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, provided the money on your behalf and mine, whether we like it or not.

This is not the end of the revolution we are passing through.  By the time it is finished, I will not be allowed to write or say this.  Don’t believe me?  Wait and see.

Curious Presbyterian is monitoring the stories, and, my, aren’t there a lot of them!  All these from the last few days:

Well done, that man.

16 Responses to “Is Christianity actually legal in modern Britain, for practical purposes?”


  1. Stuart

    I’m so weary of reporting on these incidents and receiving a flood of anti-Christian bile, that I’m now avoiding it and someone else can take up the mantle.

    Where are all of the Online Christians to mount a challenge?

    They flee, and I’m sick of carrying the can.

  2. Roger Pearse

    I don’t blame you at all. You’ve done your bit, and no-one can expect one man to do all this. This is one of the reasons that I thought I ought to write; everyone is too scared or too worn-down to speak.

    Fully expecting to have to delete or lock comments, and no hesitation in so doing.

  3. Stuart

    everyone is too scared or too worn-down to speak.

    Absolutley.

    And I don’t even care about the downturn in visitors since moderating, as nobody had anything positive, praiseworthy or noble to say anyway.

    They just want controversy, bitching and moaning and yet another opportunity to have a pop at Christians.

  4. Roger Pearse

    I doubt that the moderation makes any difference to the real number of readers, tho. It might influence commenter numbers, but I doubt it. Your blog is really a news blog. You don’t need comments at all, you know?

    The haters are not worth having as readers or commenters. There are fora where these sad people gather, and that’s the best place for them. If someone wants to shriek “Jew! Jew!” they always want to do it outside the synagogue, eh? Not for me.

    But you do have to wonder what on earth is wrong with these people. I can’t imagine having the time to wander around the web shrieking hate at people I don’t know — I have other things to do. Unless it makes you feel good, why do it? And if it does make you feel good, you’d need medical advice. Live and let live, I say.

    We do live in shockingly bigoted times.

    My own view on comments here is a little idiosyncratic — that the blog is like my diary, and the comments are like things scribbled in the margin. I’ve no objection to useful and intelligent comments that add something that people reading the post will want to read. Stuff that detracts from the post gets deleted.

    Sadly I suspect my blog is too obscure for my protest against this evil matter to be heard. But we do what we can.

  5. Joel

    Peter Hitchens has written about it on his blog as his the blog “The Ugly Vicar.”

  6. Roger Pearse

    Thank you. I will add some links.

  7. Roger Pearse

    Do you have any links? I was unable to find anything other than the mildest of dissent in either case.

  8. Joel
  9. Michael

    I am an orthodox Jew and I completely agree with you.

    I am sure that virtually every orthodox Jew feels the same. We are not the ones with big media power but we are soon to be the majority of UK Jews.

    I don’t even have a blog, but your comment about “When they came for the Christians who ran hotels, I said nothing because I did not run a hotel” really reached me.

    To paraphrase to reflect my own situation “When they came for the Christians who ran hotels, or the Catholics who run adoption agencies, or even the Muslims who peacefully express their religious view that Sin is a bad thing” let it not be said “I said nothing because I was a Jew”. Even though all I can do in a physical sense is comment on a blog, which feels so inadequate. I hope my words become a prayer to the Almighty to have pity on us.

    I am sure that almost all serious religious people – who understand that religion has rules as well as feelings – from across the spectrum would agree with you as well.

    Michael

  10. Roger Pearse

    Thank you very much for your comment, Michael. I’m sure you’re right, that Jews will get the same treatment. Orthodox Jews get ridiculous maltreatment in the media already. The hate directed towards Israel, by the same sorts of people who passed the laws now being used, is disgusting to witness.

    To pass laws that cause the police to arrest people for being principled … which of us cannot be at risk? To say that people of principle may not hold public employment, may not run businesses or provide services to the public … this affects far more than just Christians. It affects anyone with principles.

    Indeed as I found later on this evening, two Moslems have just been arrested for distributing leaflets attacking homosexuality as sinful. Since the Moslems will all be their mosques tomorrow, I suspect there might be a reaction.

    The comment about hotels: this is not actually mine, but adapted from a well-known saying by Martin Niemoller, made in 30’s Germany.

    What troubles me is the silence. How can such an abomination as these prosecutions take place in Britain, without every decent man standing up and making his opposition utterly clear? But I fear I understand quite well. Fear is pervasive, it seems. We are all lessened when this happens.

  11. Marcel

    Something called Christianity will remain legal, but the state will define orthodoxy.

  12. Roger Pearse

    They’re certainly trying that one already.

  13. Jill

    If the Bulls lose their case at the final hurdle, State-defined orthodoxy will be heresy! I cannot see how the Church of England can still be the established church if the state decrees that civil partnerships are the same as marriage.

    As an Anglican, I wish I could say I was puzzled by the silence from the bishops, but alas, based on long experience, I am not. Very few spoke out against the SORS from their privileged position in the House of Lords, some of them were very much in favour (one has to ask, what are bishops FOR, exactly?) and I haven’t heard a peep in support of the Bulls and their stance on marriage – which, by the way, is still the official position of the Church of England as set out in Lambeth Resolution 1:10. So Church and State will be in opposition to each other,and I cannot see how they can remain together.

    I am weary of arguing with atheists and faux-Christians. Every so often I get a burst of energy and renewed vigour, but it is fruitless. I cannot convince anybody who has already made up their minds.

    I am certain that the BBC picks people with their particular mindset for their broadcasts, as does most of the mainstream media – having watched the Moral Maze on this very topic, there was sneering, scorn and derision from all quarters at the poor bloke who was trying to uphold the traditional Christian view of marriage.

    I have decided to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury to ask him why he has not spoken out in support of Mr and Mrs Bull.

  14. Roger Pearse

    Thank you for your comment. The hate is puzzling, is it not?

    Since the bishops are chosen by the establishment for their compliance, little need be expected of them. It will be interesting to see if you get a sensible reply from Lambeth.

    The BBC bias is becoming grotesque; and sinister, now that lives are being wrecked on ideological grounds.

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