Possibility of legislation which will curb our religious freedom
MR Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, is considering introducing a new law to protect Muslims and other groups from attack or harassment on the grounds of religion as well as race. It is thought by some observers that such a law could make religious prejudice a criminal offence in Britain for the first time.
In a Commons debate on an amendment to the Human Rights Bill, Mr Straw said, “The amendment seeks to insert the word ‘religion’ after ‘race’. As I think the supporters of the amendment accept, including that single word would significantly extend the terms of this group of racially motivated offences to cover religiously motivated offences generally.” He added, “We do not rule out the possibility of bringing forward legislation in due course to cover religiously motivated offences in the same way as we are covering racially motivated offences.”
The Home Secretary had met a representative of the Muslim Council of Britain a few days before the debate. The Council, he said, “welcomed my decision to table the amendment”. After the meeting the Council stated, “Although the questions of religious discrimination and vilification need to be addressed fully, the British Muslim community feels greatly encouraged by the vision and leadership displayed for the first time by the government. We view this amendment as a small but significant first step towards the economic, social and political inclusion of the Muslim community in the national life.”
We deplore physical or verbal attacks on people on the grounds of race or religion, but we do fear that such legislation could be used to stifle legitimate religious debate, and to prevent the Christian church witnessing against error, and contending for the faith, as Christ her Head requires her to do.
The fact is that Christians who live in countries under Muslim law have little or no religious freedom, while Muslims in this country enjoy complete religious freedom under British law. It is significant that the news item which followed the one about Mr Straw’s proposal, said that agents of the Saudi Ministry of the Interior in Riyadh have arrested four Christians for distributing religious literature. Believers inside the country now fear that the prisoners may be sentenced to long jail terms, or even to death.
Vigilance and prayer are required lest we lose our religious freedom.
Age of homosexual consent lowered to 16
IT is unspeakably appalling that on 22nd June the House of Commons gave its approval, as Lady Young put it, “to a paedophiles’ charter” by voting to lower the age of homosexual consent to 16. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, voted for this amendment to the Crime and Disorder Bill. William Hague, the leader of the Conservatives, and Paddy Ashdown, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, were both absent for the vote, but they were reported to be in favour. We are not surprised that Paddy Ashdown is in favour when his party has often shown itself on the side of this abominable sin the sin which brought the judgement of God upon Sodom and Gomorrah. But what are we to say of Tony Blair and William Hague? Their approval of legislation which will entrap many boys in the self-destruct sin of sodomy shows the sheer hypocrisy of their trumpeting their support of family values.
One would have thought that the MPs of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, which was the heartland of traditional Christian values until recent times, would have voted against the amendment. Calum MacDonald, MP for the Western Isles, like 194 other MPs, did not vote at all, but MPs David Stewart (Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber), Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye and Inverness West), Robert MacLennan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross), and James Wallace, (Orkney and Shetland) all voted for it. The hypocrisy of James Wallace was also blatant. Two weeks previously he projected himself as a prominent Christian by chairing a National Prayer Breakfast in Edinburgh, when 500 delegates met to pray for “a return to God in Parliament and in the business place”.
The blindness of some who claim to be Christians was shown also by MP Eleanor Laing, who voiced her strong support for lowering the age of consent. In the debate MP Nicholas Winterton asked her a question which indicated that this was not what God intended for men nor what God created man for. Her atrocious ignorance was displayed when she said, “I understand the point that the honourable gentleman is making, but it is not for us to interpret one way or another what the Lord God Almighty intended.” When asked if she was a Christian, she replied, “I shall answer by saying that I most certainly am a Christian, and it is not for me to question what the Lord God Almighty has or has not done.” God has spoken in the Scriptures as to what He has intended for mankind, and it is the duty of our MPs, as it is of others, to hear, to understand and to obey.
As was forecast when sodomy was decriminalised for adults in 1967, those who advocate these vile practices will call for further legislation in their favour. Parliament yielded to their pressure in 1994 when it lowered the age of consent from 21 to 18. If the House of Lords does not block the Commons decision to lower the age to 16 (which we pray it will) then Parliament will once again be the tool of a vociferous and persistent minority. Indeed, when the lowering of the age to 16 was announced last month, the response of campaigners for “homosexual rights” was to vow to continue fighting for further rights. “Until now,” wrote Dr Adrian Rogers to The Daily Telegraph, “there has been some protection in Clause 28 of the local Government Act which prevents promotion of homosexual influences in schools. But we should be clear that its repeal will be the next item on the so-called ‘gay’ agenda.”
Most serious of all is the fact of God’s holy displeasure against our nation. We have once again openly defied His law and deliberately descended into deeper moral degeneracy. It is a sobering fact that no fewer than 336 MPs voted for the amendment, while some other MPs indicated their support for it. God said of Sodom and Gomorrah, “Their sin is very grievous,” (Gen. 18:20). Does God say less of us? We have reason to be afraid lest His righteous judgements come down upon us. We have reason to plead for mercy, and that He would turn our nation to Himself again. “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people,” Proverbs 14:34.
Pornography on television
IT has been reported that material of a pornographic nature has been shown on Scottish Television on an afternoon recently. Showing such material at any time is shameful, but it is most alarming when it can be shown at a time of day when, in many homes, young children view television.
Any society which has the Bible as its moral guide would have no difficulty in recognising the evil of pornography. Because there are so few people under the influence of the teaching of the Bible, the nation has lost to an enormous extent the moral leadership it so greatly needs. This moral vacuum has been filled by television, magazines, and other media, the moral lead of which is very often far from pure. Sadly, our generation has become accustomed to language and scenes, more or less pornographic in their content, through books, magazines, videos, film and, most insidiously of all in our opinion, television. We deplore the situation where pornographic material is allowed to come into so many homes by the television.
Proponents of pornography hide the depravity of it by dismissing it as fun , or claiming it as their right. Reams of respected research prove beyond doubt that the use of this material leads to such evils as lack of respect for women, increase in domestic violence, increased incidence of rape, sexual assault on children, and murder. The teaching of the Bible is quite clear: Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).