Recently, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer apologised – profusely and unreservedly – for having visited a North-west London church that follows the traditional teachings of the Bible on marriage and sexual relations. He called the visit ‘a mistake’ after members of the Labour campaign group, LGBT+ Rights, branded the views of senior pastor Agu Irukwu ‘unacceptable’. By his choice of words, by implication and in one fell swoop, Sir Keir condemned orthodox Christian belief as being not just misguided, but wrong. His words, displaying both bigotry and intolerance, could justifiably be labelled ‘Christophobic’. They are an insult to Christians world-wide.
A very few VfJUK supporters have taken us to task over the last few days for being, they say, aggressive in posting our petition calling on Keir Starmer to apologise. As Christians, we should simply turn the other cheek, they say. Our moral superiority and love will be best demonstrated by silence. With the greatest respect, and in love, we say they are wrong.
Christ died to free us from the grip of sin and, in and through the gift of the Spirit, to restore us to that relationship with God for which we had been created. The calling of the Church is to guard that truth, as set down in the Bible; to seek after the lost; and to protect the flock. The Jesus House for all the Nations in Brent has, commendably, been attempting to do just that, and ill-thought out condemnation by those committed to the promotion of secular values that overtly deny Christ and seek to exclude Christian belief from the public arena, must – if we are to be faithful to the Lord we are called to serve – be resisted.
Keir Starmer openly admits to being an atheist (https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/keir-starmer-i-may-not-believe-in-god-but-i-do-believe-in-faith-951607) , and he is of course totally free to believe whatever he wants. But he has neither the right nor standing to say what is, or is not, acceptable Christian belief, as set down in the Bible. Equally, secularists cannot insist that only that form of Christian belief that supports or conforms with woke ideology is acceptable. Such insistence is to crucify Christ all over again.
In the UK, for over a thousand years we have rightly prided ourselves on upholding freedom of belief and the right to free speech, provided only exercise of that right does not incite violence or public disorder. Yet now secular and LGBT activists are seeking to overturn that right, suppressing views with which they disagree – attempting to exclude them from the public arena. They are acolytes of a different and ancient religion that seeks to challenge God and, for the salvation of those who are lost, they must be resisted.
By his grovelling appeasement of LGBT+ Labour party members , Keir Starmer has nailed his colours firmly to the mast of Christophobic intolerance, ignoring the fact that Britain remains in name a ‘Christian’ country, with 59.3% of the population in December 2020 still self-identifying at Christian (https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/population-demographic-situation-languages-and-religions-93_en).
Keir Starmer’s apology to party activists, by implication branding Christian belief a ‘mistake’, was and is an insult to Christians, and has caused deep hurt. More than that, it has caused alarm. After all, should the Labour party be returned in the next election, can we expect, on present form, that they will pass legislation criminalising Christians who dare uphold traditional belief, outlawing their activities?
For all these reasons we call on Sir Keir to apologise, and for his assurance that he will practise universal tolerance, that will safeguard freedom of belief and of speech for all.