The tide of public opinion in Britain is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity. In the last year the establishment has begun to move to force Christianity to the margins of society.
The tool being used is “gay rights”, but of course it could be anything. Everyone knows that Christianity condemns unnatural vice. So, as in the days of the Restoration, the establishment has chosen something to which believers cannot agree, and is demanding that they do so. When they refuse, they are dragged into court. If they conform, they know in their own hearts that they have abandoned their beliefs.
In the last couple of years, Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to shut. Christians offering Bed & Breakfast in their own homes have been prosecuted for refusing to offer double-beds to homosexual agents provocateurs.
A couple of weeks ago a Christian couple who had fostered children for the local council for many years were struck off after refusing to say that they would tell future foster-children (aged under 10) that unnatural vice is OK. They challenged this in court, on the grounds that this infringed their human rights, as it must obviously do. But the judges cheerfully said that Britain is a secular country — which must come as a surprise to the Queen, who had to swear to uphold the established church — and that gay rights trump the right to religious freedom. The sinister “Equality and Human Rights Commission”, a state body, delivered a submission to the court in which it expressed concern that the couple might “infect” the children with Christian beliefs. Last week they withdrew the term, but not the idea.
Peter Hitchens has commented on the implications of all this here, although he sounds very tired of being tormented in the comments by atheist and gay headbangers and is not perhaps as calm and clear as he might be. But the points made are spot on.
All this is under existing legislation. It is sobering to reflect that the Labour government intended to go even further. But many of us may have hoped that the election of a Conservative government would mark an end of this process.
Apparently not. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is reported as saying that the judgement was correct, and that, therefore, no Christian can foster children.
Just think about where we are so far. Christians may not:
Run adoption agencies
Rent out rooms to strangers
unless they undertake to endorse unnatural vice in the process.
This should sober us all. It matters nothing what the vice is, that the state has chosen to make an article of faith. It should trouble everyone that a state has decided to do this.
Nor need we suppose that the list of prohibited professions is complete. It is plainly merely a start. The list will grow longer, of that we can have no doubt. The message is plain: “conform … or face the consequences.” The method chosen is not different, in any important regard, from that chosen by Julian the Apostate — to harass rather than imprison.
I myself am unlikely to be affected very much, or until the process has gone much further, because of the nature of my profession. But let us pray for those who are, and also for Britain. For no country can decide to persecute the good folk among them, without suffering. What goes around comes around.
While we remember the martyrs and confessors of antiquity, let us remember also the modern confessors. Let us discuss the matter without reviling, and let us remember that the Lord predicted that they would hate us, for they hated him too.
UPDATE: Peter Saunders has a list with links of some of the climate-forming incidents here. The eChurch blog has a list of blog posts commenting here. Thankfully the widely-read Cranmer is one of them.