Select Committee on Religious Offences in England and Wales Written Evidence

Submission from the Trinitarian Bible Society

  1.  On behalf of a Society dedicated since its inception in 1831 to publishing and distributing the Holy Scriptures, and including amongst its declared aims the following:

    (a)  to uphold the doctrines of reformed Christianity, bearing witness to the equal and eternal deity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons;

    (b)  to be instrumental in bringing light and life, through the Gospel of Christ, to those who are lost in sin and in the darkness of false religion and unbelief;

  I wish, firstly, to register our most prayerful earnest and strenuous objection to any proposed amendment to, or abolition of, the existing blasphemy laws. Would that they were rather strengthened!

  2.  It seems to us to be utterly irreconcilable with the inherent duty of the House of Lords Spiritual and Temporal, of a nation whose monarch's accession vows and whose legal system are built upon the foundation of the Bible, to tamper with, let alone repeal, laws designed to reflect the clear teaching of Holy Scripture concerning the sanctity of God's Holy Name. Hear the Word of the Lord in this matter:

    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

    And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: for I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:12)

    And he (the Lord Jesus Christ) said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:20-23)

  3.  Secondly, we find it extremely perplexing and bizarre that by the same Bill it is sought to abolish offences that derive entirely from the misuse of the name of Almighty God, yet to create new offences that derive from expressing a view about a person's religious belief or lack of it! If this Bill were to become Law, a person or organisation could publish or broadcast the most outrageous profanities with impunity, whereas, for example, an Islamic person could be prosecuted for "inciting religious hatred" by making disparaging and blasphemous references to our Lord Jesus Christ. By the same token, Christian ministers, for example, could be prosecuted for preaching from the Bible the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to indiscriminate groups of people to whom the Lord (by His servants) was sending His Word.

  4.  Indeed, the former offence to which we refer above, although then permitted under the first limb of the proposed legislation, could be rendered illegal under the second!

  5.  In summary, we totally deplore this ill-conceived attempt to undermine our Christian heritage, and to introduce a law subtly designed to favour those of many other beliefs and persuasions whose sensitivities are not thought to be catered for at present. That which was formerly and rightly regarded as false religion and idolatry has now seeped into our land to such an extent that men seek to elevate the "wisdom of men" above the laws of God. God will not hold this land or its rulers guiltless if this Bill is allowed to succeed.

9 July 2002

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