Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship to Meet on Religious Hatred Bill
Christian lawyers in the UK have come together to discuss their concerns and worries regarding the proposed Religious Hatred legislation, and that it may be forced through by the government during this coming autumn.
A meeting has been set for 7th September 2005 for the Christian lawyers to discuss the law which is similar to one already in force in Victoria, Australia. The legislation would seek to ban any incitement to hatred formed in the basis of religion.
A majority of people believe that the law is a good one in principle, yet Christian lawyers in the UK have become increasingly concerned about the broad wording in the proposed law. In particular they are concerned that if used with the wrong motives, the law could easily be used to stop Christians being involved in legitimate evangelism and even basic preaching.
This worry has already materialised in Australia where two pastors were found guilty of a “crime” under the new laws which have been in force in the country for some years now.
The Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship have organised the event, and have recently released a statement inviting Christians in the UK from all denominations to gather at Westminster Chapel at 1pm on 7th September for a meeting to be led by cross bencher peer, Baroness Cox.
According to the release, the purpose of the gathering will be to allow debate and to question the panel of experts. It will also go some way towards encouraging Christians to campaign together in early autumn.
However, the meeting will be held by invitation only, and all are invited to now be put forward for nominations for invitations.
At the current stage, the law is already more than fifty percent of its way through parliament successfully, and the Bill cleared its third reading in the House of Commons in June 2005.
Now in October 2005 the Bill will move onto the House of Lords, where many Christians are hoping that the Bill will be defeated and rejected from becoming British law.
However, even if the Bill is rejected by the House of Commons, many are still worried that the House of Commons, which will have the final say, can invoke the Parliament Act. This is a piece of legislation that permits the government to force through legislation that it considers to be very important, and this can be done regardless of the decision of the final vote in the House of Lords.
The Christian lawyers are calling on all churches and Christians to act now to apply as much pressure as possible on the government to re-think the legislation and to change its mind on the proposed Bill.
The Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship will hold the gathering on 7th September at 1pm at Westminster Chapel.