Submission from Eatons Evangelical Church
Should existing religious offences (notably blasphemy)
be amended or abolished?
1. We oppose any abolition or amendment
to the existing laws relating to religious offences, including
blasphemy. There is sufficient existing legislation in the Race
Relations Act to protect the interests of minority faith groups,
without new legislation needing to be formulated.
2. As Christian people in Britain, we have
had to suffer the name of God and of Jesus Christ, being used
blasphemously over many years.
3. While we are deeply saddened by this,
we have not sought to have the law changed or press charges, because
those who are not committed Christians cannot be held under the
same rules which govern Christian morality and behaviour.
4. Christian faith is based on a relationship
of Love for God, and can never be forced on anyone. Each and every
individual must have the right to decide to accept or reject Jesus
Christ and Christian faith for themselves.
Should a new criminal offence or incitement to
religious hatred be created, and if so, how should the offence
5. We are opposed to any new law making
it a criminal offence to incite religious hatred. Again the current
Race Relations Act does protect minority groups, so it is an unnecessary
burden on the legislative process.
6. We have a historical right and privilege
to preach and practice our Christian faith, which is the faith
of our forefathers. Such legislation, would curb freedom of speech
of Christians in a country where the Christian faith has been
embraced for nearly 2,000 years. Until recently, The Bible and
Christian faith have been the basis of the laws governing our
country. Such legislation would infringe the human rights and
the religious liberty of Christians.
7. Such legislation, if passed, would give
power to other religious faiths to target Christians with a view
to securing prosecutions, which would be totally unacceptable.
This is a denial of the evidence that the Christian faith has
in very large part contributed to the peace, stability ad economy
of the country, thus making it an attractive place where so many
wish to come and make their home.
8. Christians would be restricted from carrying
out what is known as "The Great Commission". The words
of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28 v 18-20.
9. This reads: "Jesus . . . said",
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them
in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
10. The Bible,the universally accepted
Word of God, states very clearly the uniqueness of God, and His
Son Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John 14 v 6 "I am the way,
the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
me." In Acts 4 v 12, the scripture reads: "There is
no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
11. Committed Christians seek to live morally
upright lives. They seek to work hard, and not to defraud the
state. They seek to submit to those in authority according to
the Bible, and encourage others to do so. Titus 3 v 1 states "Remind
the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient,
to be ready to do whatever is good." Christians seek to engage
in works of mercy and compassion, which enrich the lives of those
around them. Because of their lifestyle, they are not a burden
on the Justice system or the Prison service. Many prisoners become
Christians while in prison. Their lives are transformed and they
do not go on to re-offend, thus saving society a huge cost when
they become law abiding citizens.
12. If Christians who are law abiding and
hard working find themselves branded as criminals for simply obeying
the word of God, this will become a loss to society of enormous
proportions. If the prisons are full of Christians who prefer
to obey God rather than men, this will add a crippling financial
burden on to society. The influence of Christians living good,
honourable and upright lives in the community will be lost, and
society will suffer in every way.
1 July 2002