Britain is no longer a free society, says Bishop Nazir-Ali

Speaking at the Christian Broadcasting Council’s annual conference, the bishop warned that “encroaching totalitarianism” was threatening respect for conscience.

“What we are facing is not a free society, but an ideology that is seeking to impose its views on us,” he said.

“We are making the assumption that conscience will be respected because we are living in a free society.

“But we are not in that society anymore.”

The bishop said that the secular worldview was undermining absolute respect for human life and amounted to an attack on the unborn child, the ill, the disabled, the elderly and the family.

He said that respect for the unborn child had been eroded by the "demands of science" and "huge commercial interests", as well as a “relativistic” worldview that cannot explain the dignity of the human person.

“If you can dispense with a person at the earliest stage of life why not do it at the later stages. Or in between? What will we do when a person does not respond to our signals? Will we turn off the machine?” he said.

“The great tragedy is, in the very age that pain can be managed, when we can be sure people who are terminally ill can be cared for, people are arguing that those who are terminally ill should have their lives ended.

“We have also abandoned the public doctrine of marriage and will go further and further away from any normative position on marriage.”

He further warned that without the recovery of a Judaeo-Christian discourse and the value of the Bible, the Big Society would not work.

“There will be no Big Society unless there is a big story that unifies people and gives them a sense of the past and of destiny,” he said.

Bishop Nazir-Ali said it would be “tragic” if Britain were to abandon the Judeao-Christian story of the Bible and become prey to a moral and spiritual vacuum, or an Islamic political and religious system.

“We must recover the Judaeo-Christian story as a way of recovering the nation’s past and story but also as a way of making legislative decisions,” he said.

“There is hardly any piece of legislation that comes to parliament which does not have a moral or spiritual aspect.”