Select Committee on Religious Offences in England and Wales Written Evidence

Submission from the Zion Baptist Chapel, Prestwood

  I am writing on behalf of the congregation of Zion Baptist Chapel, Prestwood, of which I am the Pastor, with regard to the Committee's present consideration of the law relating to religious offences.

  We realise that no action seems to be taken against those who break the existing law on blasphemy. This we regret, but do not feel it would be right to change the law on this, or any other, account. According to the Scriptures, which we believe to be authoritative, we wish to honour all men, including those holding different views, but we regard the honour due to God as being far above any honour accorded to men. We believe also God's declaration in Scripture—"Them that honour me I will honour"—and consider that the unparalleled greatness of the nation in former years when God was indeed honoured bears witness to this.

  In Prestwood—a large village—we are able to conduct our services with minimal disturbance, for which we are thankful. However, we know that some of the churches with which we are loosely connected, and which are situated in more unruly areas, have suffered seriously. We have reason, therefore, to hope that the Committee will not change the existing law forbidding the disturbance of religious services.

  We have no submission to make concerning the proposed offence of incitement to religious hatred. Certainly we ourselves desire to live at peace with all men, again according to the Scriptures.

2 July 2002

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