A Christian couple, Eunice and Owen Johns, made headlines in UK, showing how Christians are becoming increasingly marginalized in that part of the world. The couple applied to be foster parents for children between the ages of five and ten, but their application required them to sign a document which would force them to promote homosexuality, which they refused to sign. This is only one example of the kind of discrimination that Christians in the UK are facing.
Andrea Minichiello Williams is at the forefront of the fight for the rights of Christians in the UK, advocating on behalf of discriminated Christians. She is the director of Christian Concern for our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre—organizations that work on behalf of Christians, defending their values.
In the following interview with ICC, Andrea shows how Christians are facing discrimination in the UK, and how they may face greater persecution in the years to come:
As a lawyer Andrea has encountered several cases of persecution against Christians. She tells us of some examples:
I am representing people currently losing their jobs as a result of standing for Jesus. Some people are being arrested for preaching on the street, for preaching with regard to homosexuality. We have dealt with those cases too. Some parents have been arrested for corporal punishment for chastisement in their homes. If this is not going to be reversed, at some point people will be put in jails, or probably even worse. We don’t know what is going to happen with the concerted rise of Islam in this country and whether or not Christians will actually be persecuted.
She calls for people to wake up before it is too late. But she also sees how the Lord will use persecution to purify his church:
In some ways, the church is a bit lukewarm in our nation, which is sad. I never wish it but at least if the church is persecuted, the church would wake up. We are still asleep in United Kingdom. People are not noticing the persecution. It is not persecution like Nigeria [with killing of Christians], but it is the beginning of it. The sort of people who stand today against anti-Christian laws are the people who will stand tomorrow.
So what motivates her to continue to speak on behalf of Christians in UK? She says:
We have great and beautiful heritage. We have a nation that flourished under God. Our system, our nation, and part of being British itself is really about being Christian. Christianity is where we find our true identity, but we have abandoned that. Jesus Christ and His values are not only good for me and for you but also they are good for the community. They are good news for towns; they are good news for cities; they are good news for our nation. Why would we let go of that?
What can the church in the US learn from the state of the church in the UK, and act accordingly? Her answer was:
Firstly, the church must love Jesus and speak clearly of His ways, speak clearly of His precepts, and not flinch but have courage. Secondly, it doesn’t take long to dismantle a culture. Religious freedom for Christians was dismantled in the UK during the Blair/Brown administration (1997-2007), so ten years was all it took. The human rights language & the equality language are used in order to create a politically correct ideology—secular liberal humanism—which then cut out Christianity.
When we think of persecution, we don’t usually think of the UK or Europe. But this interview with Andrea shows us the challenges that our brothers and sisters are facing in the UK. It is time for the body of Christ in the United States to pray for and to support their brothers and sisters in the UK and all of Europe.