Three stories in one day today. The first is a general de-Christianisation thing; the other two involve state-backed attacks on Christians just going about their lives. Three in a day is sobering, isn’t it?
The first story is at eChurch blog, in the BBC and commented on by Cranmer. This is headline news here, so needs little special treatment from me. Apparently a judge in the High Court has ruled, after a claim by an atheist activist, that having formal prayers before the start of council meetings — something that councils have done for a century — is illegal under some law of 1972.
A Devon town council acted unlawfully by allowing prayers to be said before meetings, the High Court has ruled.
Action was brought against Bideford Town Council by the National Secular Society (NSS) after atheist councillor Clive Bone complained.
Mr Justice Ouseley ruled the prayers were not lawful under section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972.
Christians will not necessarily be that exercised about these formal things, except that it indicates a general state determination to remove anything associated with Christianity — the official religion, remember — from official functions.
The ruling itself is absurd, of course, and the judge must have known it. You can’t discover that a law says something as controversial as this after a period of 40 years, so evidently the judge was trying to invent the law for political purposes of his own. However I don’t remember voting for Mr Justice Ouseley to invent law, and neither did anyone else. The government should oblige him to resign; but I suspect it won’t. Such behaviour by a judge is quite improper. Issues of this kind should be decided by parliament. But the verdict, to me, suggests that English justice is not to be relied on, and has been corrupted.
The other items are much more sinister. The case of two elderly Christians, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who were targeted by the gay lobby continues. Regular readers will remember the story. The victims rented out rooms in their home to visitors on a bed-and-breakfast basis, aimed at Christians. A pair of sodomites were sent by a gay pressure group as agents provocateurs to demand accomodation in a double room — which was naturally refused. They had no business there, of course, so they were there to provoke that refusal. They then denounced the owners to the police under the “equalities” legislation drawn up by that same pressure group and passed by a dirty deal with the government. The court promptly found the victims ‘guilty’ of various absurd ‘crimes’ and fined them thousands of pounds. The couple appealed, with the help of a Christian charity who funded the appeal (since the couple were penniless). Today we learn via the BBC that the appeals court rejected their appeal.
Judge Andrew Rutherford ruled last year that the Bulls had breached equality legislation.
The appeal judges heard that the Bulls thought any sex outside marriage was a “sin”, but denied they had discriminated against Mr Hall and Mr Preddy.
Mr Bull, 72, and Mrs Bull, who is in her late 60s, were not in court for the ruling.
The judges heard that the Bulls’ appeal was funded by the Christian Institute and Mr Hall and Mr Preddy were backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The sinister EHRC is a taxpayer-funded organisation. The Christian Institute is a meagerly funded charity. Nice to know that the state is harassing the elderly for who they let in their homes, isn’t it? The EHRC stooge added, menacingly:
He added that the commission had no intention of enforcing its entitlement to legal costs.
Translation: “Now roll over or else.” Nice again. Again we have to ask whether the justice system has become corrupt; for what honest court would allow this evil?
But the final word rests with the wealthy and well-connected gay activist who, I am told, drew up the law being used here, in a backstairs deal with the last government, and then masterminded this attack on two poor frail old people:
“I hope Mr and Mrs Bull will now feel content to go home to do God’s good work as Easter approaches, instead of relentlessly pursuing a happy couple through the courts.”
The only people being pursued through the courts, relentlessly, on and on, with state funding, are two old pensioners who were targeted out of malice, and Summerskill knows that very well.
In the third story, the Daily Mail has been ordered to put the establishment line on this one in their headline, it seems:
Bible-clutching street preacher in court for ‘telling gay couple they would “burn in hell” in High Street’
Love the adjective “bible-clutching”. The Daily Mail would usually be expected to object to this sort of thing, so evidently the establishment has instructed newspaper proprietors to toe the line.
A Christian street preacher told two gay men they were ‘sinners’ who would ‘burn in hell’ as they walked past him on a busy high street, a court heard today.
In a case which could reignite the debate over the boundaries of free speech, Michael Overd, 47, is accused of using threatening language towards civil partners Craig Manning and Craig Nichol when he saw them as he preached on a busy high street last July.
The court heard claims the lay preacher was provoked by a previous altercation with the couple in October 2010, when he singled them out when he saw them holding hands.
The words agents provocateurs again springs rather strongly to mind. Walk past a street preacher ostentatiously holding hands, and then denounce him to the police if he shows any sign of objecting — yes, I think we all know what that’s about. And since “the process is the punishment”, and the object is to chill free speech, it hardly matters whether the victim is convicted or not. Others will be afraid to risk the same, and thus will not dare to say that homosexuality is a sin; and that, I think, is the object here. What kind of country can’t tolerate sandwichboardmen saying “prepare to meet thy God”?
The defence counsel added an interesting snippet about the complainants:
He said: ‘You made up your mind to silence him, didn’t you?
‘You went up to him and abused him, saying ‘Who the f*** do you think you are? I’m going to kick your f****** head in. You’re dead, you’re dead’.’
They deny it, of course.
Again, I think English justice is on trial here. Is the judge honest? Or will he behave as the establishment demand, and convict a man for stating an unpalatable truth in the hearing of overt evildoers desperate to “take offence”?
All this is very bad, and there is undoubtedly worse to come.
It is the hallmark of a repressive society that it cannot leave the Christians alone. Such societies insist on harassing this unthreatening group, under one pretext or another.
It is the mark of such societies that they pass laws which they know Christians must break, because Christ says so, and then the society treats them as law-breakers, and punishes them viciously for offences that wouldn’t even come to court, if the victims held some other views.
This is how persecution is done, over some trivial pretext. This is how hate manifests.
But let us not revile the wicked men who do these things. They are merely dupes of Satan, allowed to make themselves miserable for the purposes of one who will treat them as meat. Let us love them, and pray for them, and discuss them without reviling, as the scripture says. Let us also pray for the confessors and the martyrs, for Peter and Hazelmary Bull, and those who support them; and for Michael Overd and his people. Pray that God will strengthen them to endure this trial.
UPDATE: Michael Overd has been found not guilty by the magistrates. This is excellent news.
UPDATE2: Eric Pickles, the powerful no-nonsense Yorkshire MP who is Communities Secretary (and has been doing an excellent job of recalling corrupt local councils to the purposes for which they exist), has criticised the ruling that official prayers cannot be held. Another MP has commented that, if the ruling stands, even the House of Commons could be interfered with. Good news again.