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University Christian Unions stand for Gospel Freedoms

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Prayer and Action Points


22nd November 2006


Summary


There was a significant amount of media coverage this weekend regarding several Christian Unions fighting for their right to preach the Gospel. Exeter, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt (in Scotland) and Birmingham Universities are all challenging their respective University authorities and Student Unions to grant them freedom of speech to proclaim Biblical truth. It is crucial that we support these students as much as possible. We can do this through prayer and in other practical ways (explained in full below). Each Christian Union is facing a slightly different challenge. Please read the full facts and details regarding each case, below.


Media Coverage-17th-18th November



Further detailed information


Exeter University


The Christian Union (CU) was disaffiliated from the Guild of Students after one student wrote to them stating that he thought the CU was discriminatory because although he wanted to become a member, he did not feel that he could sign the Declaration of Belief (this simply required a Declaration of adherence to basic Biblical principles). Ultimately, after an Extraordinary General Meeting, an Annual General Meeting and a University referendum, the Christian Union was disaffiliated from the Guild, with its funds frozen, as well as losing all the privileges associated with membership of the Guild. A letter was sent by the CU on 13th November 2006, stating that the students were prepared to take legal action if the University and Student Guild refused to change its policy. The University authorities are currently meeting to decide what action to take. Please pray that God’s will is done, and that the students would be strengthened and galvanized to proclaim God’s word with boldness.


Edinburgh University


The Christian Union has been banned from teaching the “PURE” course on University facilities. This course advocates sexual purity, and teaches that sex is only appropriate within the context of a marriage. Gay rights groups claim that the course is homophobic because it states Biblical truth on homosexual practice. The University authorities have agreed with this view stating that the viewpoints contained in the PURE course are contrary to its Equality and Diversity Policy and have banned the course from the University premises. The CU have sent a letter to the University authorities stating that the students have taken legal advice and are prepared to take legal action to guarantee their right to freedom of speech. Pray that God will be with the students and that His name will be glorified.


Heriot-Watt University


The Christian Union at Heriot-Watt has been disaffiliated from the Student Association for some time because of its requirement that members sign a Statement of Faith setting out basic, orthodox Christian beliefs. The Student Association have refused to allow the Christian Union to join unless they change that Statement of Faith. On the 21st November, the CU sent a letter to the University authorities to state that they had taken legal advice, and that they were prepared to take legal action unless the situation was resolved. Please pray for these students as they seek to proclaim the Gospel.


Birmingham University


In 2005 the Christian Union was disaffiliated from the Students Union at Birmingham University because of its Statement of Belief. The students there are still seeking a resolution with the University authorities, pray that God would grant them wisdom in seeking to glorify Him.


Practical ways in which you can help

There are a number of practical ways in which you can help these students


  • Use the letters pages of local/regional and national press.  There will be an email address given on every letters page of your favourite newspaper.  Write a letter in support of Christian students and their rights to freedom of speech etc.  Keep it under 200 words, don't preach or attack, just explain the Christian point of view in a calmly reasoned manner.  We particularly need letters in The Times/Telegraph/Daily Mail.

  • Question Time (BBC Thursdays):  Log on to www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime and click the button Send Your Questions.  There is a facility now for anyone to submit questions which the panel may then be asked to answer.  The chair, David Dimbleby and the production team will respond to a large number of questions about any one topic, i.e. Christian Students and their Freedoms.

  • Any Questions: Log on to www.bbc.co.uk/anyquestions and click on the Contact Us button.  Same as QT above, send a question for the panel to answer.

  • If we get a mention on QT and AQ it will keep up the momentum, and even if letters don't get published in the press, it shows the press the level of feeling.  If they have not covered the topic before, the newsroom may well decide to do so as editors respond to readers' concerns as they want to sell newspapers!

  • Financial support for the work that is going on in the Universities cases is essential to enable that work to continue. Please consider making a donation to Christian Concern for Our Nation and express it to be for ‘public litigation’ work if you want to ensure that the money is used for cases such as those at Exeter, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Birmingham. Make a donation at http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/donation.php


God’s word must be proclaimed, and we must arise and support our young Christian brothers and sisters. To God be the glory.


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