May 15th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Henry Tax Review’s vicious attack on miners, families

FAMILIES: How Henry tax proposals will undermine families

EDITORIAL: Rudd to bankroll human rights activists

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Verdict on the Kevin Rudd experiment

FEDERALISM: Hawke, Howard and Abbott seek to curb states' powers

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: Fault-lines widen in world's financial system

UNITED STATES: Is President Obama a real-life Manchurian candidate?

KOREAN PENINSULA: Torpedo attack suspected in mystery sinking

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: China and the West: war without guns

UNITED KINGDOM: Christianity criminalised in Britain

EDUCATION: Maths Online: the new resource for students, parents and home-schoolers

SOCIETY: How biotechnology affects the family

GENDER AND IDENTITY: Children with gender identity disorder

OPINION: America: the most generous nation on earth

Let's create new Australian states (letter)

Labor and Liberals on childcare (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Canadian province may scrap human rights tribunal; Lithuanian president told to support Baltic gay march; UK Lib Dems' secret support base - Muslims; Stalin's Ukrainian famine; Why the left can't stand Sarah Palin

BOOK REVIEW: KEYNES: The Return of the Master, by Robert Skidelsky


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Christianity criminalised in Britain

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, May 15, 2010
Will Britain become the first contemporary Western nation to fully criminalise Christianity? It certainly seems to be heading that way. I have recorded one case after another of growing anti-Christian fanaticism in the United Kingdom. Much of it comes from the forces of political correctness, activist judiciaries and militant homosexual activists.

The latest episode is just as appalling as previous examples. It has reached the point that to simply mention the "H" word in anything other than a fully positive sense is now a criminal offence. A tiny homosexual minority has managed to hold the entire nation to ransom, and anyone who dares to think otherwise is being hounded down by the heavy hand of the law.

Police state

This is called the making of a police state, and we are all witnessing it happen right before our very eyes. Here is how the UK's Daily Mail reports on this newest case of anti-Christian bigotry:

"A Christian was arrested and treated like a 'common criminal' after saying that he thought homosexuality was a sin. Street preacher Dale Mcalpine was held in a cell for seven hours and charged with a public order offence after telling a gay police community support officer that homosexuals were going against the will of God.

"But yesterday the 42-year-old said he would fight to have the charge - usually used to tackle rioters or football hooligans - dismissed. Mr Mcalpine was talking to shoppers and handing out leaflets when he was allegedly warned he was committing an offence by PCSO [Police Community Support Officer] Sam Adams - who introduced himself as his force's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liaison officer. When he continued preaching, Mr Mcalpine was arrested while debating his views with a passer-by."

The UK Telegraph newspaper adds these details to the story: "The 42-year-old Baptist, who has preached Christianity in Workington, Cumbria for years, said he did not mention homosexuality while delivering a sermon from the top of a stepladder, but admitted telling a passing shopper that he believed it went against the word of God."

Thankfully a handful of English commentators have offered a bit of sanity on this issue. Once again, it has been left to a non-Christian writer Melanie Phillips to speak out against this travesty.

Says Phillips: "And so we have the oppressive and sinister situation where a gentle, unaggressive Christian is arrested and charged simply for preaching Christian principles. It would appear that Christianity, the normative faith of this country on which its morality, values and civilisation are based, is effectively being turned into a crime.

"Surreally, this intolerant denial of freedom is being perpetrated under the rubric of promoting tolerance and equality - but only towards approved groups. Never has George Orwell's famous satirical observation, that some people are more equal than others, appeared more true."

Phillips notes the recent history of PC victims in the UK: "There is a long and growing list of British Christians who have been harassed by the police, sacked or otherwise fallen foul of authority simply for upholding their religious beliefs.

"Pensioners have found the police on their doorstep accusing them of 'hate crime' for objecting to their council about a gay pride march or merely asking if they could distribute Christian leaflets alongside the gay rights literature.

"A preacher who went around with a placard denouncing homosexuality was prosecuted, even though he was the victim of an assault by onlookers who threw soil and water over him. In the field of employment, Christians have been suspended or sacked for refusing to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies or place children for adoption with gay couples and for wearing a cross or praying with patients for their recovery.

"Many of these cases involve the issue of homosexuality since this is the principal area where orthodox Christian beliefs cannot co-exist with the law. This is in contrast to other contentious issues such as abortion, where the law specifically provides exemptions for conscience.

"This is because, unlike the specific and limited issue of abortion, the militant gay rights agenda represents an attack on the entire value system of our society by destroying the very idea that any sexual behaviour is normal. Anyone who says homosexuality is not normal is, therefore, thrown to the wolves as a bigot."

Candidate sacked

She mentions the recent case of the Tory parliamentary candidate for a Scottish seat, Philip Lardner, who was attacked by his own party for daring to mention the 'H' word: "He said churches should not be forced to have practising homosexual clergy and Christians should not be penalised for politely saying that homosexuality is 'wrong'. He also said that he would always support the rights of homosexuals to be treated fairly and to live as they wanted in private, but he would not accept that their behaviour was 'normal' or encourage children to indulge in it.

"For this expression of traditional Christian - and, indeed, liberal - values, he was not only deselected as a Tory candidate at the speed of light on the grounds that his remarks were 'deeply offensive and unacceptable', but suspended from his job as a primary school teacher. As Lardner has angrily observed, it appears that Christian views are no longer acceptable within the Conservative party."

That is part of the reason why the English elections (whose results will be known by the time this issue of News Weekly is printed) are such a debacle. The Conservative Party is not really much of an opposition party at all, but is simply aping much of the PC agenda of the Labour Party. Indeed, David Cameron seems at times more pro-homosexual than Gordon Brown!

Another important commentary on this tragic case of Christian-bashing comes from Peter Hitchens, the younger brother of famous atheist Christopher Hitchens.

He gets straight to the point in his opening remarks: "Revolutions do not always involve guillotines or mobs storming palaces. Sometimes they are made by middle-aged gentlemen in wigs, sitting in somnolent chambers of the High Court. Sometimes they are made by police officers and bureaucrats deciding they have powers nobody knew they had, or meant them to have.

"And Britain is undergoing such a revolution - quiet, step-by-step, but destined to have a mighty effect on the lives and future of us all. The Public Order Act of 1986 was not meant to permit the arrest of Christian preachers in English towns for quoting from the Bible. But it has. The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 was not meant to force public servants to approve of homosexuality. But it has.

"The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 was not meant to lead to a state of affairs where it is increasingly dangerous to say anything critical about homosexuality. But it did. And the laws of Britain, being entirely based upon the Christian Bible, were not meant to be used by a sneering judge to declare that Christianity had no higher status in this ancient Christian civilisation than Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism. But it has come to that this week."

He concludes: "Daily the confidence of the new regime grows. The astonishing judgment of Lord Justice Laws last week, in which he pointedly snubbed Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, and mocked the idea that Christianity had any special place in our society, is a warning that this process has gone very deep and very far. The frightening thing is that it has not stopped, nor is it slowing down. What cannot be said in a Workington street will soon be unsayable anywhere.

"And if Christianity has officially ceased to be the basis of our law and the source of our state's authority (a view which makes nonsense of the Coronation Service) who, and what - apart from the brute power of the manipulated mob - is to decide in future what is right, and what is not, and what can be said, and what cannot? This process, if not halted, will lead in the end to the Thought Police and the naked rule of power."

We are today witnessing the criminalisation of Christianity in Britain. This is happening all around the Western world. The question is, do Christians know about this and care about this? Will they take action to defend religious freedom, or will they just bury their heads in the sand and hope it all goes away?

Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at:

Heidi Blake, "Christian preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin", The Telegraph (UK), May 2, 2010.

James Tozer, "Christian preacher vows to fight after he's arrested for 'public order' offences after saying homosexuality is a sin", Daily Mail (UK), May 3, 2010.

Melanie Phillips, "The Orwellian logic that's turning the faith Britain was built on into a crime", Daily Mail (UK), May 3, 2010.

Peter Hitchens, "How long until Christians are blackmailed for daring to speak?", Daily Mail (UK), May 3, 2010.

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