Sunday, September 30, 2007

'Gay Hatred' ammendment

Action, please: lobby your MP - see the side-bar for contact details.

From CFNews: Colin Hart, Director of the Christian Institute (www.christian.org.uk) writes : 'No sooner have we won a major victory in our judicial review than an entirely separate threat to Gospel freedom has emerged. It seems clear that MPs are about to debate a new 'gay hatred crime' which, if passed, could see Christians imprisoned for saying that homosexual practice is sinful. Gay rights groups are pushing for an amendment to the Government's Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. There is an urgent need for you to contact your MP before the Second Reading debate on Monday 8 October, urging him or her to oppose a 'gay hatred crime'.

Gay rights activists are calling for the Government to extend existing laws against racial hatred to cover inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. Breaking this law would mean a maximum 7-year prison sentence. For many years we opposed a religious hatred law because of the dangers to free speech; we oppose a 'homophobic hatred' law for the same reason.

Free speech is under serious threat. Even without a homosexual hate crime there have been a number of recent high profile cases where gay rights activists have sought to get the police to stop Christians speaking up about homosexuality. Joe and Helen Roberts, a Christian couple from Lancashire, were interrogated by police because they complained to their local council over its gay rights policy. The Bishop of Chester was investigated by police for citing evidence that homosexuals can 'reorientate' to heterosexuality. Police telephoned family values campaigner Lynette Burrows after she aired concerns about homosexual adoption on BBC radio. For more information on these and similar cases, and to view a short video featuring Joe and Helen Roberts, visit our website http://www.christian.org.uk

Christians would never support violent or intimidating behaviour against any person. Such behaviour is rightly a criminal offence already. But a 'homophobic hatred' law, especially in today's climate, would have a chilling effect on free speech and could lead to the prosecution of those who state the Christian belief that homosexual practice is sinful. People need to know they are sinners if they are to repent and turn to Christ. How can Christians explain this if we cannot name specific sins?

The first debate in the House of Commons is expected on Monday 8 October. Please will you write a short letter to your MP urging them to oppose the introduction of a 'homosexual hatred crime'? Some tips for what to say are given overleaf. We pray that God will protect Gospel freedom.


‡ Be brief and polite, but firm.

‡ Use your own words.

‡ Ask your MP to oppose the introduction of an incitement to gay hatred crime in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.

‡ Say that a homosexual hatred crime would limit your freedom of speech.

‡ Pensioners Joe and Helen Roberts have already faced police interrogation for their orthodox Christian beliefs. We do not want to see more cases like this.

Use two or three of the following points:

‡ Say that the orthodox Christian belief is that the practice of homosexuality is sinful. This ethical belief has been believed by Christians for centuries and is also held by the other major world religions. The proposed law would threaten people's freedom to express this belief with a maximum seven year prison sentence.

‡ Say an 'incitement to homophobic hatred' offence is not necessary. It is already a criminal offence to intimidate or attack anyone. Inciting a crime against another person, for whatever reason, is also outlawed.

‡ Say criminal offences committed against people because of their sexual orientation are already more heavily punished (following the introduction of 'aggravated offences' in 2003).

‡ Say that 'sexual orientation' is not like race. Even pro-gay researchers admit that homosexual orientation can change. However, race is a fixed trait.

‡ Say that activists are willing to use malicious complaints to the police in order to silence their opponents. There have already been several cases of police wrongly investigating Christians without a'gay hatred crime' in existence.

‡ Say that churches are not excluded from this law. A Sunday morning sermon which says that homosexual practice is sinful could see the preacher prosecuted for 'inciting hatred'.

‡ Say that the mere threat of prosecution may cause many to keep quiet. This is a more subtle, but equally dangerous, threat to freedom of speech.

‡ Say that it was wrong to introduce a religious hatred law because of the threat to free speech and for the same reason it would be wrong to bring in a homosexual hatred law.

‡ Say that Christians do not 'hate' homosexuals as people and Christians should not be wrongly portrayed as doing so. All Christians are under a moral duty to love them, and all their neighbours, which rules out any personal hatred or unloving conduct towards them. Nonetheless, Christians are compelled by belief in Scripture to hold that the practice of homosexuality is wrong.

3 comments:

Android said...

"‡ Say that the mere threat of prosecution may cause many to keep quiet. This is a more subtle, but equally dangerous, threat to freedom of speech."

Hmm, this happened, of course, with Section 28, which those of a religious persuasion would wish were still on the statute book (not all, I'll grant you, but many). While it was OK to talk of gay matters in schools, and it was councils' "promotion" of homosexuality that was illegal (though quite how you do that goodness knows), teachers were scared stiff of so much as hinting that a gay relationship was just as loving as a straight one lest they be hauled off by the thought police. You can't have it both ways, Colin Hart.

Webmaster said...

Yep, this is the old canard about Clause 28. You want to know what promoting homosexuality looks like? Wander into any normal school today and you'll see: you can see a discussion here. This was what the law was reacting to, and what it prevented while it was in force.

What's the difference between curtailing free speech in favour of the family, and curtailing free speech in favour of the homosexual 'alternative'? A simple answer: the same as that between curtailing free speech in favour of an accurate portrayal of the history of Nazi Germany, and curtailing free speech in favour of holocaust denial.

Free speech is not an absolute. You have to take account of the damage it may to the vulnerable, especially in schools. Telling children that homosexuality represents an attractive and 'normal' lifestyle is bad for them, as well as false.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen