Friday, September 08, 2006

Free Speech

What a world we live in! Today, I came across some interesting news about events in the UK from the blog of an American Baptist minister. He seems to trust the Daily Mail, which I'm aware is sometimes regarded as somewhere between the Sport and the Star in terms of journalistic standards, so I checked, and the same story (albeit much shorter) made it onto the BBC News website. Here's Melanie Phillips' editorial in the Daily Mail, which makes interesting reading.

To summarise quickly - a Christian campaigner (same guy as protested against Jerry Springer - the Opera, thereby getting it huge publicity) got arrested for the heinous crime of handing out leaflets at a gay rally in Cardiff. The leaflets consisted mostly of verses from the King James Bible about why homosexuality was wrong.

A few things spring to mind.

First, I think what he was doing is totally the wrong way to go about the issue of homosexuality, and the British version of the "culture war". Why should we expect non-Christians to obey Christian standards of behaviour? And why should we expect them to do so when we use language that is 400 years out of date? Would that he had been handing out leaflets explaining clearly to the people there how true fulfilment and liberation can be found only in Christ!

Secondly, it is worrying for the state of the nation as a whole that he was arrested. It's a slight but significant escalation from when the police interviewed the Bishop of Chester after he said that homosexual sex was wrong. Lets think of an analagous situation - lets imagine a big Christian outdoor event in a public place. Lets imagine some gay campaigners or muslims peacefully handing out leaflets saying that Jesus isn't God, we're all hateful and we're all going to Hell. That's fine. I disagree with them, but I'd defend their right to do it. This country has a long and good tradition of free speech.

These events suggest we're moving away from that. Will Christianity become illegal in Britain in my lifetime? Probably not, but I don't think that will stop some within the police from treating it as if it is.


Anonymous said...

Spot on Custard. I don't agree with the guy's values, but I do agree with him being able to express his views in a way that causes no harm to others. I would be interested to see what he was charged with when he was arrested and of which law he fell foul. There are plenty of other examples, non-Christians of course, in similar situations but of a much more aggressive and insulting nature, who were not subject to the same treatment.

Another step in the police, under this government, losing my respect


Daniel Hill said...

`Why should we expect non-Christians to obey Christian standards of behaviour?'

Did Stephen Green really expect the people he was leafleting to obey Christian standards of behaviour while remaining non-Christians? Surely he was just warning them or informing them of the wrongness of their actions (just as the Bible itself does)? But, yes, it would have been good if his leaflets had contained the gospel -- but maybe they did?

John said...

His approach suggests that he thought their active homosexual behaviour was more of an issue than their failure to trust in Jesus.

Daniel Hill said...

I don't think that's fair on Stephen. His leaflet, which I have now found at, does point the recipients to trust in Jesus.