Parliamentary Inquiry – Clearing the Ground – Investigates whether Christians are badly treated by the law
A new Parliamentary inquiry called, Clearing the Ground, began on Tuesday to hear evidence on whether Christians are badly treated by the law and if they are being pushed out of society.
The first session heard evidence from the Evangelical Alliance, Premier Christian Radio, the Lawyers Christian Fellowship and Maranatha Community.
At the start of the enquiry MP Gary Streeter was quoted as saying:
“We want to do is expose the gap between perception and reality and help to blow away the fog and the fear that currently exists for many Christians. We want to dispel any myths that have grown up but also identify problems, and we’re not going to shy away from calling for changes to the law if that is what is needed.”
The Church Times reported:
THE Christian faith in the UK is facing its “biggest challenge in the last 400 years” as Christians experience rising intolerance in society, the first sitting of a parliamentary inquiry, Clearing the Ground, heard on Tuesday.
The leader of the Maranatha community, Denis Wrigley, told the inquiry that there was “a struggle taking place for the soul of the nation”, and Christians were losing the ability to speak freely and express their convictions. The executive director of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship (LCF), Mark Barrell, told the inquiry: “Many Christians are apprehensive they’re not ‘as equal’ before the law”. Christians were taking their cases to court as a last resort, but these cases were just “the tip of the iceberg”.
Tom Cordrey, a barrister from the LCF who was also giving evidence, said that there needed to be more proportionality applied in court cases involving Christians. He quoted the case of Lilian Ladele, the registrar in Islington who asked to be excused from carrying out same-sex ceremonies. Mr Cordrey said that the judge should have taken into account that there were plenty of other registrars to carry out these ceremonies.
The chief executive of Premier Christian Radio, Peter Kerridge, said that Christians’ freedom of expression was being limited by “other groups’ rights encroaching upon Christians expressing themselves”. Opposition to Christians was exemplified by coverage on the BBC, he said, which was “significantly more warm and sympathetic and positive in its portrayal of the Muslim faith than the Christian faith”.
The inquiry panel comprises: Labour MP Gavin Shuker, Conservative MPs David Burrowes and Fiona Bruce, and Conservative peer Lord Edmiston.
There are scheduled two further hearings over the next two weeks.