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Is this equality? As a lawyer, I never thought I’d have to defend Christians in a Christian nation

Icc Note

Over the past few years, there has been growing marginalization of Christians in UK. Christians are being discriminated due to government policies and the decisions of courts.

By Andrea Minichiello Williams
04/23/2011 UK (Mail Online)-I wanted to be a barrister for as long as I can remember. I wanted to be an advocate, to give a voice to those in society who could not help themselves.

I wanted justice to be done and believed that our great British legal system, founded on Christian principles, would secure such justice.
I never imagined that my skills as a lawyer would be used to defend Christians for following their faith in 21st Century Britain.

In the UK, Christians are beginning to experience discrimination that leads to them being marginalised and losing their jobs. Over the past three years more than 100 have suffered after wearing a cross, sharing their faith, even offering a prayer.

Why is this? I believe it is because, as a nation, we have forgotten our history and Christian foundations – our very identity. The legal and political elite tell us that we have now ‘grown up’ and are a secular nation.

Christian principles are clear-cut and easy to understand. They espouse life, joy, forgiveness, freedom, tolerance and justice. These principles are good for all and we are poorer as a society when we reject their source.

The social reformers of the 19th Century who made Britain great – Wilberforce, Fry, Peel and Rowntree, among others – were compelled by their love for Christ and built on the foundations of preachers such as Wesley and Whitefield of the 18th Century.

Yet since the middle of the last century the Christian framework that shaped our culture has come under increasing attack.

As a young barrister in the Eighties I had the privilege of knowing Lord Denning – a judge famous for doing the right thing – and every three months I would enjoy fish and chips with him at his local pub in Whitchurch in Hampshire.

What was it that informed Lord Denning? It was his notion of Christian justice. He once proclaimed: ‘Without Christianity, there can be no morality, there can be no law.’

Yet modern legal and political thought, particularly under the Blair/Brown regime but continuing under Cameron and Clegg, has been dominated not by Christian principles, but by liberal secular humanism, exemplified in the equalities legislation of the past decade.

Contrast Lord Denning with Lord Justice Munby, and his statement in a recent Christian Legal Centre case: ‘Although historically this country is part of the Christian West, and although it has an established church which is Christian, there have been enormous changes in the social and religious life of our country over the past century. Our society is now pluralistic and largely secular.

‘We sit as secular judges serving a multicultural community of many faiths . . . The laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity, in whatever form. The aphorism that “Christianity is part of the common law of England” is mere rhetoric.’
Has Lord Justice Munby forgotten the whole of our nation’s history?

While appearing to have the noble aim of upholding personal dignity, equality laws passed in the past decade have acted as a political lightning rod to eliminate Christian morality from the workplace. In essence, they are being applied unequally.

Take marriage. Marriage as traditionally understood no longer has any special status in the law and yet it is the first building block for a stable society. We have exchanged the ideal of marriage between a man and woman for ‘All relationships are equal’.

Eunice and Owen Johns were foster parents with an impeccable record. Their fostering application, for children aged between five and ten, stalled because they couldn’t sign an equality policy which meant that they would be prepared to ‘promote the practice’ of homosexuality.

The judges said there might ‘be a tension between equality provisions concerning religious discrimination and those concerning sexual orientation’.

Where this is so ‘the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence’.

It has all gone too far. It is time to turn the tide. I don’t believe the great and ordinary British people want this kind of liberal-tyranny.

We want our freedom back. People should be free to debate, state and hold the view that a child needs a mother and a father without feeling ashamed or sidelined.

We don’t want preachers arrested or Christian registrars forced from office because they can’t, in conscience, officiate at same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.

I could go on. The liberal tyranny does not stop at the family but invades any manifestation of the Christian faith in the public arena.

It leads to a nurse of 38 years being taken off frontline nursing because she won’t take off her two-inch cross; it leads to an electrician being told to remove the palm cross he has had in his van for 15 years.

This nation’s great story is based on that of Jesus Christ. At Easter, we celebrate how, faced with a world that had rejected Him and gone its own way, God reached out in love, at the cost of His own life, to bring reconciliation at the most fundamental level – a reconciliation to Him.

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