The rise of ‘anti-Christian hatred’: Time to make a stand!

It is often said these days that we live in a ‘post-truth’ world, but perhaps, more frighteningly, the reality is that we live in a world where the truth is increasingly being either distorted or actively suppressed. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the unremitting campaign to compel acceptance of recently rebranded ‘British values’, because somewhere along the line ‘tolerance’ of those who hold different values has been dumped. Indeed, we are now dangerously close to active, state sanctioned oppression of anyone who dares express dissent.

To put it bluntly, no one is allowed to express reservations regarding the new morality. Rather, under the cloak of equality and diversity, anything that puts forward a counter narrative – whether based on religion or medically and scientifically validated concern for health – is branded hate speak and bigotry, and increasingly criminalized. Such were the tactics of Communism and Nazi Germany, and indeed of any totalitarian state, when faced with opinions or actions that questioned the new regime.

Now, in the ideological battle raging in this land, it would seem that Voice for Justice UK has become a target.

Following a recent Freedom of Information request to Parliament, it has come to light that, ahead of a meeting in the House of Lords in November last year, the Conservative MP for Stourbridge, Margot James, sent a ‘secret’ complaint to Lord Fowler, the Speaker of the House of Lords, asking for myself, Lynda Rose, and the organization I represent, to be banned from Parliament on the grounds that she found my views offensive. She gave the opinion that she thought many of her constituents would also find my views offensive. In a separate email between Parliamentary officials, it was further said that in a phone call to the Lord Speaker’s office her assistant had said we were homophobic.

What had we done to provoke this? Well, first (and, it has to be said, rather unexpectedly) she accused me of providing therapy to those unhappy with their sexual orientation – untrue, as it happens, as I am not in any way, shape or form a therapist, though I have always defended the right of people unhappy with their sexual orientation to seek counselling, and see nothing wrong with that. Second, she said she thought I might, in the course of a talk I was scheduled to give, express unacceptable “views on same sex relationships”.  Third, though unexpressed, it would appear she had taken exception to VfJUK’s recently published book examining the ideological reframing of education, What are they teaching the children?.

Now, let us be entirely clear here. I am an Anglican priest, and the views to which Ms James has apparently taken exception are simply an affirmation of Christian belief, as set down in the Bible, that all sexual relations outside marriage are prohibited, and that marriage is between one man and one woman for life.   But for Ms James, the first openly lesbian woman to become a Conservative MP, Christian belief, where it conflicts with the new Weltanschauung, should apparently not be allowed. Worse, Ms James appears to think that Christians who believe the Bible should be silenced and excluded from society.  Equally, Government produced data demonstrating adverse health and social outcomes as result of new polices should apparently be suppressed.

Is this really how democracy operates in Britain today? We would respectfully remind Ms James that The Church of England is still the established Church of this nation. Which means that the UK is officially … Christian. Of course there are different views, beliefs, and opinions within our myriad population, but that is all to the good, and is what democracy is all about. The right to hold and freely express different beliefs, always providing they do not incite violence or civil affray, must be both protected and maintained. For Ms James to seek to silence mainstream and traditional Christian belief by making covert allegations smacks of totalitarianism. It suggests, in fact, the wilful and deliberate oppression of any and all who may disagree with her.

In this case The Speaker of the House of Lords rightly refused to ban me, though nevertheless the meeting had to be moved.   It remains of concern, however, that Ms James felt free to make accusations to which I had no right of reply – being entirely ignorant they had been made – and which, if upheld, would have resulted in VfJUK’s formal exclusion from Parliament. As it happened, VfJUK only became aware something of this nature had taken place because alerted to an unspecified, but highly serious, complaint. We were, however, given no details, and it was for this reason that we made the Freedom of Information request.

We were rightly horrified at what was revealed. At every level Margot James’ attempted intervention was wrong. First, as a Member of the Lower House, she should not have sought to interfere with the conduct of affairs in the House of Lords. Second, if she had concerns, the basic principles of natural justice should surely have required she make those concerns known first to the subject of her complaint, in order to discuss the matter. As it is, the attempt to have someone banned on the basis of undisclosed allegations, which by definition they cannot answer, smacks of kangaroo justice. Accusations of this nature are of course potentially defamatory, and although Ms James may be relying for protection on Parliamentary privilege conferred by her position, such behaviour, if unchecked, can only damage the health of our society.

In short, Margot James’ covert attack and attempt to have a member of the clergy banned because she herself appears to take issue with the Bible, demonstrates nothing so much as an unacceptable and worrying opposition to Christianity. No Member of Parliament should be allowed to abuse his or her position to attack individual citizens or their beliefs in this way.

The point must also be made that Members of Parliament are not elected to promote their own ideas, but to represent the views of their constituents.   Ms James expressed the conviction that many of her constituents would share her opinion and join with her in calling for VfJUK’s exclusion. But what of those of her constituents who do not share her views? Are we to assume that Christians in Stourbridge form such a minority as to justify being completely ignored, or is Ms James, as MP, neither prepared nor willing to represent those whose views differ from her own?

Such a position is scandalous, but appears symptomatic of clear and growing anti-Christian hatred in this country.   It has got to stop.

Margot James has abused her position by making unfounded and unjustified clandestine attacks on a member of the public, who was given no chance to respond. She needs to realize that she belongs not to a private members’ club that exists for the sole benefit of its associates, but to the Mother of Parliaments, charged with defending and protecting the best interests of all UK citizens.

If you share our concern, please write to your MP today, asking them to condemn such behaviour.  Make the point that, as an elected representative, the job of an MP is to represent fairly and objectively the views and interests of his or her constituents, and that Ms James’ behaviour not only breeches that requirement, but is a fundamental attack on the core British values of freedom of belief, and of speech.   Make the point that this is an attack on democracy itself and, as such, is to be deplored.

Please send a copy of your email to the Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May (mayt@parliament.uk); to John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons (speakersoffice@parliament.uk); and to the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler (lordspeaker@parliament.uk).

 

 

 

 

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Who are the real bigots?

So Donald Trump is sworn in as President of the US, and immediately a row erupts with the press over disputed figures for attendance at the inauguration. How either side can arrive at precise figures remains something of a mystery, but whatever the truth, one feels Trump would have been far wiser to let the matter pass. He alleges, of course, that the press are complicit in an orchestrated campaign to de-legitimise his presidency, but whether true or not this kind of response is lacking in gravitas and can only play into the hands of those who want to see him gone.

However, though ill-judged, Trump’s anger is surely understandable, because from the moment he won the Republican nomination the press have been unremitting in presenting him as a deranged and narcissistic misogynist – a joke, whom everyone hates. While equally, since he won, those who were misguided enough to vote for him – as also, let it be said, with Brexit – are dismissed as moronic meatheads without two brain cells to rub together; who clearly for the future ought to be prevented from voting.

At one level this is class war, but the religious right and traditionalists are also of course included in this generalised condemnation – so memorably articulated by Madonna, who apparently expressed a desire to blow up the White House, now Trump is in it www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38716714.   Nice!

If evidence were needed of ideological war raging in the West, this is surely it.

The sad fact is that anyone who disagrees with the populist Weltanschauung is cast as either intellectually subnormal, with a probable IQ in the region of 75, or as a bigot who must be silenced. And increasingly – perhaps inevitably – before this relentless vilification and pressure, those who do not share this worldview are being cowed into submission. As seen, for example, in the new proposal by Anglican bishops to waive the requirement for gay clergy to be celibate http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/church-to-draw-veil-over-sex-lives-of-gayclergy-g9hgnwqxz

Approve or not, the Bible is absolutely clear that marriage is between one man and one woman for life, and that all sexual relations outside marriage are prohibited. Which includes, of course, adultery, fornication, promiscuity, incest … as well as that over-hyped hot potato, homosexuality. To put it another way, this is a core doctrine that has to do with the nature of our humanity – of our creation – and that defines our relationship with God. It is not therefore negotiable, and those in leadership in the Church should refuse to be intimidated and should continue to uphold the Bible. As written.   Not out of a spirit of condemnation for those who fall short of the ideal, but from a spirit of love that refuses to let the sinner go and strives always to help.

Redefining faith and airbrushing out the ‘difficult’ bits so as to win acceptance helps no one. Equally, trying to coerce and intimidate others into approving lifestyles in conflict with their faith can at best be only a pyrrhic victory, because it is reliant on silencing dissent.   Advocates of the new Weltanschauung may not be happy until they have rewritten and neutralized the doctrines they find hard – and who knows, they may succeed – but the cost will be the annihilation of freedom, and devastation of truth.

What opponents of both Donald Trump and Brexit need to realize is that many of the men and women who cast their vote were not voting for a reality TV star who wants to build a wall or mindless hatred of Europe, but were and are just heartily sick of the growing totalitarianism that is seeking, among other things, to drive Christian belief and values from the public arena. We are all entitled to have opinions. British society is founded on freedom of conscience and belief, and respect for all – values that in themselves derive from Christianity.   Whatever position is taken, therefore, all must be respected and allowed the freedom to speak. Without intimidation, and without coercion.

 

 

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Dear Old Auntie is at it again – ‘Big Brother for Muslims’

“Put ten British Muslims with contrasting world views in a house together and press ‘record.’ What emerges is a passionate debate, honest disagreements, humour and moments of insight that reveal what is like to be a Muslim in Britain today.” So says the BBC Media centre, describing the two part documentary Muslims like us, to be screened at 9pm this Monday and Tuesday, 12 and 13 December.

The rationale behind the idea is simple. As part of Auntie’s drive towards the promotion of religious diversity and to overcome prejudice and distrust of Muslims in the UK, someone has come up with the bright idea of putting a diverse group of Muslims into a house together for nine days, and then filming them, ‘Big Brother style’. Reality TV, you might think, at its groundbreaking best! The housemates (one is tempted to call them contestants) include, amongst others, a part-time model, a gay man, a comedian, and a boxer.    The aim, as the title proclaims, is to show that Muslims are people just like us

Except, that they are not, we hope, all like us, because one of the housemates is Islamic boxing champion Abdul Haqq who, before his conversion, went under the name of Anthony Small – in which incarnation he even appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. Since that time, however, he has become a disciple of the jailed extremist cleric Anhem Choudary, and has apparently seen the error of his debauched ways.

Last year, though admittedly acquitted, he was charged with belonging to a proscribed organization and of plotting to travel to Syria to fight with IS. He is also rumoured to have auctioned off his boxing gloves on ebay to raise money to finance the trip, and has definitely made use of his TV experience to appear in several controversial videos. For example, in one he claimed the beheading of American journalist James Foley in 2014 was a form of provoked “retaliation” against the “United Snakes of America”, and in another he said he had no sympathy for the son of murdered soldier Lee Rigby.  He has also repeatedly appeared at meetings alongside Choudary and other extremists, and was pictured at the Muslims Against Crusaders press conference in 2011, sitting between Choudary and Siddhartha Dhar, since indentified as an IS executioner in Syria.

Nice character! And I guess you could certainly say his inclusion demonstrates the diversity of views within the Muslim community of the UK. But is it really appropriate or responsible to give a platform to the views of an individual who self-avowedly hates our culture, and who will undoubtedly be taken as a role-model by impressionable and disaffected youth? Is this what we are paying our licence fee for?

The most positive construction is that Dear old Auntie is deranged – so time to be pensioned off, perhaps! A less sympathetic construction might say that the Beeb’s active and deliberate promotion of Islam is endangering the security of our country.

In his first public speech since taking up office, made this week (http://www.itv.com/news/2016-12-08/highly-organised-islamic-state-plotting-terror-attacks-on-uk-from-syria-mi6-chief-warns/), Head of MI6 Alex Younger warned that, The scale of the terrorism threat to the UK is “unprecedented”. He continued, “The risks at stake are profound and represent a fundamental threat to our sovereignty … They should be a concern to all those who share democratic values.”

It is surely time for the BBC to be called to account for its irresponsible promotion of hostile and potentially violent ideologies that run counter to our democracy and values.   As VfJUK has pointed out before, the UK is a Christian country, founded upon Christian values and belief and justly proud of our famed tolerance – but open-minded lenience does not mean that views hostile to our freedoms and tradition should be given equal or greater air-time, nor, where they are in open conflict, should they go unchallenged. At the very least the BBC’s programming policy needs urgent reassessment, with explicit condemnation of values in conflict with those of our own heritage and traditions.

 

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“Daughters of Jerusalem …. do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires…” A Salutary Warning from Solomon.

Amidst growing reports of sexual harassment and abuse in schools, the chairmen and women of five Commons select committees (Neil Carmichael, Maria Miller, Yvette Cooper, Sarah Wollaston, and Ian Wright) wrote on November 30th to Education Secretary Justine Greening, calling for sex education and PSHE to be made mandatory in England’s schools (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38155851).

What a pity the five MPs are not similarly calling for the teaching of logic – because their conclusions, based on current evidence, seem seriously deficient. Far from protecting young people against the obvious dangers of sexual exploitation and abuse, such teaching, unacceptably focusing on the mechanics of sex, serves only to sexualise children prematurely – at a time when they should more properly be developing and discovering who they themselves are, sheltered by the innocence of childhood.

Similarly, as they approach puberty, they should be taught that sex is a precious gift, which should not be thrown away or lightly bestowed. Which is another way of saying, of course, that they should be taught how special they are, and to respect themselves and others.

A three-year-old child beginning to realize that boys and girls are anatomically different does not need to learn that he or she can, with the help of drugs and/or surgery, reject biology.  It’s too much of a burden, demanding decisions that in the normal course of events most children will never seriously contemplate. Nor does a five-year-old child need to learn about masturbation, or what their parents get up to in the bedroom – nor how this differs from the nighttime gymnastics of homo- and bi-sexual couples. Children are naturally curious and develop at their own rate. Telling them too early about sexual choice and practices disrupts that natural development, and inevitably makes them want to experiment. Which they obviously do, in light of the growing number of reports of children as young as five sexually assaulting other children in their class.

Which brings us back to the increasing and highly worrying reports of sexual harassment and abuse in schools. Are the concerned signatories to the letter really so incapable of joining up the dots? Let us say again, and loudly: To insist on ever earlier and more comprehensive sex education, without any kind of moral frame, far from giving children the information they need ‘to make the right choices for themselves’, can and will only exacerbate the problem.

Pre-adolescent children are simply too young to be given comprehensive information about the mechanics of sex; they don’t know how to handle it. They shouldn’t be required to handle it! And teenagers need to be taught that a precious gift lightly bestowed is lost forever, and may indeed endanger their future physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It may even kill them.

Surely, rather than insisting sex education be made mandatory, our top priority should be to help children at every age feel safe – best accomplished by allowing them to develop at their own pace, and by providing a moral framework that will safeguard and protect them as they push their personal limits, and so discover who and what they really are.

We therefore repeat our call to government to stop the premature sexualisation of children, and for urgent reassessment of policy. We further call for greater acknowledgment of the inalienable role and rights of parents, and their involvement at every stage of engagement with this subject – and for the adoption of new materials that will focus on relationship and moral boundaries, rather than the practicalities of sex.

Sign petition here: http://www.citizengo.org/en/38861-stop-premature-sexualisation-children-through-damaging-sex-and-relationship-education-schools?tc=ty&tcid=29481055

For a full analysis of current education policy in the UK, read VfJUK’s new book What are they teaching the children?

Price £12, plus £2 postage and packing.

For more information and/or to order go to: http://vfjuk.org.uk/what-are-they-teaching-the-children/

 

 

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Now BBC presenter Roger Bolton wades into the fray – and he really gets it!

Maybe you thought we were making a fuss about nothing, but BBC Producer and Radio 4 Presenter Roger Bolton has now also warned that the BBC is ‘coming up short’, and failing at a time of global crisis to take religion seriously. As reported in The Telegraph on 28 November (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/28/bbc-coming-short-religious-broadcasting-does-not-take-faith/) the outspoken presenter thinks it’s essential for the public, and in particular young people and immigrants, ‘to understand the crucial role of Christianity in the formation of British culture, and for the public to have enough knowledge of the Shia/Sunni split to navigate current affairs in the Middle East.’

As he went on to stress, religious programming isn’t about promoting faith, but it is about promoting knowledge and understanding.

VfJUK wholeheartedly concurs, but would add that the BBC’s programming policy should reflect the core values of this nation – as unique to, and derived from, Christianity – and that because of this Christianity should be give correspondingly more air time than minority faiths. It is beyond argument that Christianity has been ‘ideologically’ downgraded and marginalized in recent years.  But at a time when religious tensions are growing, both in the UK and abroad, it is foolhardy in the extreme to try and impose so-called secular neutrality out of the misguided belief that we can somehow lessen the influence and impact of faith.   Similarly, the exploitation and promotion of ‘multi-culturalism’ so as to make Christianity only one religion among many can only weaken our society, betraying both our heritage and values. Such shortsightedness will in the longer term endanger both the security and peace of our nation.

Controversially, but accurately, Bolton has also said that ‘the lack of an experienced, dedicated head of religion and ethics was a strange contrast within a BBC which has “editors for almost everything under the sun”.’

It is time for the demonstrated anti-Christian bias evident in recent attitudes of the BBC hierarchy and programming strategists to go. We therefore repeat our call to the BBC to respect and protect the UK’s Christian heritage and character – ideally by restoring a Christian Head of Religion and Ethics. – and to give due and proper attention to the broader issue of religious programming.

Please sign our petition!

 

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