Saturday, November 17, 2007

Homophobic hatred' law: details


From Christian Concern for our Nation: The Government has published its proposed 'homophobic hatred' law. Parts of the law are modelled on the religious hatred law but there is no specific free speech protection.

Only 'threatening' words or behaviour will be covered by the Government's
current wording, not those which are 'insulting' or 'abusive' (both very broad

In addition, a prosecutor must prove that a person intended to stir up hatred on
grounds of sexual orientation, rather than having been 'likely to' stir up
hatred. This mirrors the religious hatred law.

Some of the concerns about free speech appear to have registered with Government
ministers. Thank you for your letter writing and your prayers.

However, The Christian Institute and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship (LCF) are
concerned that the free speech protection which is present in the religious
hatred offence is not included in the 'homophobic hatred' law.

While the Human Rights Act offers some protection for free speech and religious
liberty, the lack of a specific protection in the offence sends out the signal
that free speech is more important when debating religion than when debating
homosexual practice.

The Christian Institute and LCF remain opposed to the principle of a 'homophobic
hatred' law. Existing offences are sufficient to protect homosexuals from any
violence or harassment. A 'homophobic hatred' law, in any form, could be used
as a pretext for challenging the free speech and religious liberty of

The offence, which has been published today, could yet be amended by MPs or
Peers. The final wording of the offence could therefore be better, or worse, by
the time it is passed by Parliament. So there is still a long way to go.

Please continue to pray for the protection of free speech and religious liberty.

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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