Christians charged with hate speech for quoting from the Bible; Christians arrested for praying silently outside abortion clinics; parents perhaps soon facing prosecution if they question the validity of their child's decision to change gender.
Every day, in face of the ideological metanarrative of 'inclusion and diversity', the news seems to get more and more bizarre – with the new Weltanschauung now so powerful that it's become a dogma seemingly beyond question. Indeed, those few courageous souls who do try to raise concerns face intimidation and threats, along with accusations of bigotry and intolerance. Christians especially can find themselves in the firing line, because they take issue with the promotion of behaviours prohibited in the Bible.
But their concerns are simply evidence of outdated and judgmental fundamentalism, opponents say! After all, God is love, and society has moved on! The Almighty (if He exists) couldn't possibly have meant what it says in the Bible! So in their sophisticated magnanimity, they insist that believers are perfectly free to believe what they want within the privacy of their own homes, but public expression of such beliefs must be suppressed. Most important of all, such bigots mustn't be allowed to spread their poison to others. And especially not to children, who now have to learn about 'choice' and sexual diversity from age three.
This is the new religion of our age. However, by their attempted suppression of traditional Christian belief, activists are in fact denying the twin freedoms of belief and of expression that underpin our society, and have been enshrined in UK law for well over a thousand years. Indeed, these freedoms are the foundation of our democracy – once, it should be said, the envy of the world, and which has provided the model for the whole of Western civilisation.
The attempted silencing of Christian belief is bad enough by itself – but, if it were possible, it gets worse, because the general attitude towards other religions in the UK appears to be one of tolerance and respect for their beliefs. As it should be, of course! But the moral stance taken by Muslims, for example, attracts deference, while festivals and holidays such as Eid and Diwali are increasingly held up for celebration – unlike Christian feast days, such as Christmas and Easter, which are being relentlessly commercialised and denuded of meaning.
This indeed has been a major complaint from respondents to a survey entitled Freedom in Faith that VfJUK has been carrying out to discover what Christians really think, ahead of the launch of a new Commission of Inquiry into Discrimination Against Christians (CIDAC). Time and again, respondents have said they don't feel it's an even playing field, and they want to know why they're being singled out for what feels to them clear and deliberate discrimination.
So far as such prejudice exists, it is by and large completely ignored. In the woke culture of intolerant tolerance that currently prevails, the accepted attitude would seem to be that Christianity has in the past exerted far too much control – stopping people from being fully themselves. It's only fair, therefore, critics say, that such antediluvian views are now suppressed.
So it would appear there should be tolerance and inclusivity for all – except for Bible-believing Christians.
But is this right? And, if it is, what can, or should, be done?
It's to find out what's really happening that Voice for Justice UK has set up CIDAC, tasked with investigating the existence, nature, context and scale of any discrimination faced by Christians in the UK today. Those who feel they have experienced disadvantage, intolerance, hostility, bigotry, social ostracisation, or even ridicule, are being invited to give evidence, via Zoom, before a Panel of Commissioners, who will hear and assess their testimony without bias, prejudice, or pre-judgment. The hearings will be open, on application, to the public, and at the end of the inquiry, which is expected to last two years, a report of the commission's findings will be submitted to Parliament, along with recommendations for action.
In multi-cultural, multi-faith Britain, why is this necessary? For centuries Britain has defended freedom of belief for all, along with the freedom to express such belief. It is one of the things that has unquestionably made Britain 'Great'. Yet, more than that, it is Christianity that has provided the foundation for such laws and shaped our society, making us strong and allowing our small island to flourish.
The growing climate of intolerance towards Christians is a challenge striking at the very heart of who we are, and an issue that should concern everyone, secularists and believers alike.
A little bit of history: Christianity was first introduced into the British Isles in the second century, and by the fourth century it had put down strong roots – though these were severely shaken when the Romans left in 410 AD.
However, the seeds of faith had been well sown, and when Augustine arrived in 597 AD, on a mission to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons who had taken over control, he found fertile ground, and it wasn't long before the whole island had adopted the 'new' faith. For around the last 1,700 years, therefore, our society and culture have been 'Christian', and our democratic laws and values – the envy of the world – are founded upon that belief.
Today our nation finds itself in an ideological battle for control, between what is in effect resurrected neopaganism - aka woke culture - on the one hand, and our traditional Christian values and belief on the other. For the health and wellbeing of our society, it is vital that we uphold, without equivocation of favour, the laws that underpin our democracy.
Let the conflict be seen for what it is, and let Christians be accorded, at the least, the same protections as others in our society.
CIDAC is inviting submissions from Christians who have suffered discrimination, injustice, stigma or hostility. Hearings open to the public will begin shortly. Further information can be obtained from the website https://cidac.co.uk/ or from email@example.com.
Rev Lynda Rose is founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group which works to uphold the moral values of the Bible in society.