It’s said that there is an ancient Chinese curse, ‘May you live in interesting times’. Well, some may feel that applies to today, because almost every hour the news seems to carry fresh stories of increased violence and unrest, with a resulting migratory flood unparallelled since history began. Europe creaks under the pressure of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, while here in the UK we vainly strive to offer help, but at the same time effectively counter the alarming and ever growing threat of Islamic terrorism, both at home and abroad.
Backed by David Cameron, the Home Secretary Theresa May is all set to introduce a Counter Extremism Bill, containing the much publicized Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs), aimed at ‘silencing extremists who spread hate but do not break existing laws’. As a measure to muzzle Islamist “preachers of hate” and stop radicalization this has got to be welcomed. But in this case, the devil really is in the detail, because David Cameron is on record as saying that the Government wants to tackle the “full spectrum of extremism”. Which, by his definition, goes far beyond counter-terrorism measures and is aimed at tackling all activities that are, or may be described as, extremism. In case you have any doubt what this means, George Osborne, in a letter to a constituent reported by the Christian Institute, explained that EDOs will cover “activities that spread, incite, promote or justify hatred against a person or group of persons on the grounds of that person’s or group of persons’ disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and/or transgender identity.”
In other words, any view that contradicts or is critical of British values, as recently defined, will fall foul of these proposed measures – which of course includes mild mannered and sincere Christians who oppose same sex marriage, or gender reassignment, or even say that homosexuals unhappy with their sexuality have an absolute right to therapy to help strengthen their heterosexual orientation. Even worse, the mere risk of causing ‘distress’ will apparently be enough to mobilise the sledgehammer of this crackpot law. What next? Will frail pensioners who venture the opinion, ‘It didn’t happen in my day’ find themselves liable to a custodial sentence or be forced to attend a re-education course?
How can Bible believing Christians possibly be equated with Islamic hate-preachers inciting violent jihad?
This is not just an unacceptable restriction on freedom of speech and belief – something the UK has prided itself on since Magna Carta! It is a direct attack on Christian faith as set down in the Bible. Apparently Christianity is now acceptable only when it takes the liberal, secular line endorsed by the State, so that in this brave new world traditional Christianity has either to be redefined to fit with current mores, or forcibly suppressed.
We are told we live in a democracy that’s the envy of the world. We say it’s the only viable political system, infinitely preferable to the self-evident abuse of human rights in places such as China, North Korea, or hard line Islamic countries of the Middle East. But what we more accurately now appear to have is a species of authoritarianism, of which Stalin (if he had had thought about it) would no doubt have been proud!
So who will speak up for our suppressed and abused minorities, once this bill has become law? Will England’s green and pleasant land find itself host to our very own gulag?
It goes without saying that we must take measures to combat Islamic radicalization and extremism. We must combat terrorism and protect our citizens against attack. But Christianity is a religion of love and of obedience to God – it is not part of a jihadist culture that will brook no alternative to its own value system and converts at the point of a gun. Mr Cameron is entirely wrong to manipulate this proposed legislation in order to ensure compliance with secular and LGBT ideology. It is not just wrong, but unnecessary. Christians are not the enemy.
If you share this concern, please write to the Prime Minister and your MP today, calling them to protect the real British values of freedom of speech and belief.