Submission from Westoning Baptist Church,
I am writing to you in my capacity as the Minister
of Westoning Baptist Church, and wish to submit the following
comments in connection with the work of the Committee who are
considering this Bill:
1. Whilst I appreciate that Britain today
is often described as a multi-cultural society, and many of its
citizens profess no religion at all, I believe it is crucial to
the work of your committee, that you remember that historically
we are a Christian countryour laws being based on the Law
of GodThe Ten Commandments as recorded in the Holy Bible
(Genesis 20 vv 1-17).
2. The first Commandment specifies "Thou
shalt have no other gods before me" (Genesis 20:3). This
was, no doubt, the basis of the existing law of blasphemy. Essential
to the Christian belief in God is an understanding of His immutabilityso
I consider it would be in the best interest of our country for
this Law to remain.
3. Central to the Christian Gospel is the
belief that salvation can only be obtained through faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ, and it is the task of all Christian ministers
to deliver this message to their congregations. "Neither
is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved".
Holy Bible (Acts of the Apostles 4:12). No law should therefore
be passed that could in any way be construed as inferring that
the basic Christian message is "an incitement to religious
hatred", which it most certainly is not.
4. In other areas of our national life,
this government has proclaimed the necessity of "tolerance".
In practice this has usually meant that all views and practices
are to be tolerated except the traditional view (eg in sexual
matters and family matters). I am therefore greatly concerned
that no new "criminal offence" should be introduced
using similar principles. This would undoubtably have the effect
of protecting all other faiths, and leaving those who proclaim
the unique Christian gospel exposed to the charge of breaking
5. Conversely, there are other faiths, such
as Islam, which do not tolerate freedom of expression or worship.
Would any law be applied against Muslims if they denounced the
6. This whole area is a veritable moral
minefield, and I would advocate the best course is not to introduce
a new criminal offence of incitement to religious hatred, as it
would be impossible to monitor, and run contrary to the freedom
of speech which we have enjoyed for many years.
2 July 2002