In 21stcentury Britain, truth is apparently outmoded, irrelevant, and dead. Certainly, in the case of Richard Smith -pastor of Immanuel Christian Fellowship, decorated military veteran, and mayor of Ferryhill, Co Durham – slaughtered by the unremitting and vicious attack of LGBTQ activists.
The unforgiveable crime of which Mr Smith stands accused is that on his private Facebook page he allegedly shared social media posts critical of homosexuality. He is therefore a hate-filled bigot.
Now let us be absolutely clear here, Mr Smith is a committed Christian who holds to Biblical morality, which does indeed hold certain behaviours to be sin. The heart of the gospel is that we are all sinners, and that Christ came to save us from sin. To put it another way, God condemns sin, which he takes very seriously, but loves sinners. In fact, God loves sinners so much, that He sent His only Son to battle for our liberation! So, unsurprisingly, this is Mr Smith’s position. He cannot endorse what the Bible labels sin, but unequivocally does not hate sinners. On the contrary, he has publicly stated “As a Christian and a minister of the church, anyone regardless of faith, culture, race, gender or sexuality is welcome to my support.”
So exactly where is the bigotry and intolerance here?
The only evidence VfJUK can find is with LGBTQ activists, who from the moment Richard Smith was elected mayor have appeared determined to force him out, branding him a hate-filled bigot, who should not be allowed to hold public office. In this they have been supported by The Northern Echo, the local newspaper, which from the first has carried extensive coverage of the campaign, throwing its weight behind the female impersonator and complainant Mark Boyes, aka Tess Tickle.
Day after day the paper has reported criticism and calls for Mr Smith’s resignation, coupled with statements of outrage. Fine, you may say, public information and all that. But it hasn’t mentioned the not inconsiderable public support for the mayor, nor the widespread condemnation of the tactics of those trying to get him removed. For instance, the poll the newspaper itself carried asking for readers’ opinions on whether or not Mr Smith should resign and showing a clear 56% majority calling for him to stay, has been quietly dropped. Much too has been made of an online petition calling for the mayor’s resignation, which has attracted over 400 signatures! Yet the online petition calling for Mr Smith’s support and so far numbering over 4,300 signatures has been entirely ignored!
Meanwhile, Tess Tickle’s supporters have been quick to post their thoughts on social media, an example of which is below. A lady who must here remain anonymous, but of whose post we have a screen shot, wrote:
“This day in age. F…. sake! Tie the twat up in a rainbow flag, strip the nob head naked and leave him there to be laughed at. This shits getting boring! His breed are getting fewer though, you just do have the odd few still breathing. X”. (Grammatical errors are reproduced in entirety)
Nice. And this was one of the less threatening posts.
Now VfJUK has been told that Mr Smith’s supporters have been harassed, spat upon, subjected to threats of violence, and at least one gentleman has had the wheel nuts on his car loosened! This kind of behaviour, however, is apparently completely acceptable, when its object is … a Christian, who has been sincerely trying to fulfil his civic duty.
Today the Government has proudly announced a 75 point plan to improve the lives of gay people. Citing a recent survey of gay people in the UK, the BBC reported,
“LGBT hate incidents had been experienced by 40% of people in the survey, with more than nine in 10 of the most serious offences going unreported.” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44686374)
On the evidence of Ferryhill, it would seem that Christians daring to voice their belief are even more likely to experience hate crime – certainly they are being increasingly hounded out of public life! But who rises in their defence?
So exactly what is the reality here? Who are the intolerant bigots? And who really are the victims?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Smith tells us he is feeling so beleaguered that he now believes he may have no course other than to resign. The persecution campaign appears to be gaining momentum.
Please, write to the newspapers and, if you live in Co. Durham, your local MP, calling out for this intimidation and bullying to be stopped, and for justice. Call for Mr Smith to be confirmed in office.
And please sign our petition in Mr Smith’s support. Though, in all honesty, we can’t guarantee that the Ferryhill council will pay any attention!