Skip to content

Bishop warns Britain in danger of becoming "anti-Christian"

Printer-friendly version

Issued on behalf of Christian Concern

Press Release

For Immediate Release

08 OCTOBER 2013

Bishop warns Britain in danger of becoming "anti-Christian" 

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has warned that Britain risks becoming actively "anti-Christian" at a book launch in London last night (07 OCTOBER).

Bishop Nazir-Ali made the comments during a speech at the launch of Wilberforce Publications, a new Christian publishing house seeking to equip Christians to “face the challenges of the secular world”.

Drawing on his own experience of persecution, both personally and as President of OXTRAD, Bishop Nazir-Ali said that persecution "always begins with marginalisation and discrimination in the workplace and in public life".

He added that Britain is in danger of becoming not just "unchristian" but "anti-Christian" unless the growing marginalisation of Christian faith in Britain is addressed.

The launch event marked the release of two books: Christians in the Firing Line, written by Dr Richard Scott and Belief and the Nation, written by John Scriven.

Dr Scott was disciplined by the General Medical Council for talking to a patient about his faith. His motivation for writing the book was to make known the challenges he and other Christians have faced in the workplace for manifesting their faith.

In his book he examines thirteen cases of Christians who have been "warned, blacklisted, suspended or dismissed for refusing to compromise their biblical principles".

In the foreword to Christians in the Firing Line (full version below), Bishop Nazir-Ali states: “We are made immediately aware of the price to be paid and the cost involved whether it is loss of employment, the threat of being struck off the registers of professional bodies or just unpopularity in the community or the media.

“… In my experience, the exclusion from employment or participation in public life, which the people in these cases have tasted, as well as discrimination because of belief, which they have also experienced, is often the beginning of persecution.”

In Belief and the Nation, lawyer John Scriven applies Christian thought to some of the most pressing contemporary issues. He outlines a Christian perspective in areas as diverse as globalisation, debt, family and freedom of expression.

In her foreword to the book (full version below), Christian Legal Centre CEO Andrea Minichiello Williams states: "In recent decades, we have seen significant social and economic breakdown, although the full effects of past policies may not yet be apparent. Confidence in moral knowledge has fragmented and there is a crisis of authority in politics and in our institutions.

"... Despite the challenges of public policy in a complex world, a Christian vision can transform people, communities and the nation."

Review copies of the books are available upon request. The books can also be purchased via Christian booksellers and online retailers.

ENDS.

Notes for editors:
For copies of the book, email: info@christianconcern.com or call 020 3327 1120.

Pictures from the event are available upon request. 

Wilberforce Publications website: https://www.wilberforcepublications.co.uk/

Book covers:

Christians in the Firing Line, by Dr Richard Scott

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christians-Firing-Line-Richard-Scott/dp/0957572514/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1
Belief and the Nation, by John Scriven

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belief-Nation-John-Scriven/dp/0957572506


For further information / interview:
Andrea Minichiello Williams - 07712 591 164

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali's foreword to Dr Richard Scott's Christians in the Firing Line:

This is a courageous book by a courageous man who is himself one of the cases discussed here. We don’t have to agree with every word of the author’s or of those mentioned here to admire them not only for their courage but also for their persistence and their faithfulness sometimes in the face of overwhelming odds.

The thirteen cases mentioned here represent many more that have either come to court or been settled in some other way. They included both those that have been won and those that have been lost, as well as those that have not yet been settled. Richard Scott is meticulously fair in describing how a particular case has arisen and how it has been dealt with, its weaknesses and strengths – even his own!

We are made aware immediately of the price to be paid and the cost involved whether it is loss of employment, the threat of being struck off the registers of professional bodies or just unpopularity in the community or the media.

We are left with a pervasive sense of fear in officialdom brought about by aggressive secularism, as well as radical LGBT and Islamist lobbies. This results in excruciating political correctness to placate these vociferous lobbies and Christians are often the main sufferers. We have the now familiar scenario of special interest lobbies dominating public life and public discourse with dire consequences for anyone who challenges them. At the same time, they know how to play the victim and elicit public sympathy for themselves.

Apart from questions of truth raised by these cases, we have some systemic issues raised by them. In my experience, the exclusion from employment or participation in public life, which the people in these cases have tasted, as well as discrimination because of belief, which they have also experienced, is often the beginning of persecution. Britain has had a long moral and legal tradition of respecting conscience, even in times of war but also in the context of controversial legislation such as the Abortion Act of 1967.

In more recent legislation, however, especially on ‘equality’, there seems not to be any protection for people’s consciences, even those formed by well-known spiritual and moral traditions, such as the Christian.  Nor have we learnt any lessons from across the Atlantic about how to accommodate people’s beliefs at the work place or in public service. It has been noted, time and time again, that if no provision is made for conscience and reasonable accommodation, we will soon be in a totalitarian situation in the name of ‘liberal’ values.

As Dr Scott points out, the marginalisation and discrimination experienced by Christians here does not amount to the virulent persecution they experience elsewhere. They are not generally at risk of life or limb, though they can be threatened, arrested or lose their livelihood. The Church here, nevertheless, needs now, and urgently, to learn from their brothers and sisters overseas about how to near Christian witness in difficult situations.

Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre are right in the spotlight as they seek to represent Christians under pressure. It is only the high-profile cases that get publicity but a great deal of back-room work goes on all the time to secure justice for people unfairly dealt with. Sometimes this is through painstaking negotiation or mediation. At other times, there is action in the courts or tribunals. They are not afraid of losing and, above all, they give hope to those who come up against the relentless hostility of the lobbies and the compliant political correctness of public bodies and officials. It must be most encouraging to know that there is someone to turn to in an hour of need.

Richard Scott has done us a great service by bringing these cases to the attention of the wider public. I hope the merits of them will be fairly considered in the days and months to come.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
21 June 2013 

Andrea Minichiello Williams' foreword to John Scriven's Belief and the Nation:

Over the last fifty years, perceptions of the public truth have altered dramatically, though the particular changes have sometimes been imperceptible. The changes have sounded progressive and often kind, but the effects have been far reaching. In many areas of our national life, the wisdom of past generations has been discarded and ideas of radical personal autonomy and relativism have influenced public policy. Policy and law should never stand still and, once heading in a direction, they can continue with unforeseen and unintended consequences. In recent decades, we have seen significant social and economic breakdown, although the full effects of past policies may not yet be apparent. Confidence in moral knowledge has fragmented and there is a crisis of authority in politics and in our institutions.

This book is about ideas and their effects. It is written for the Christian and non-Christian alike. It explores the foundations of knowledge and the way in which different intellectual currents have shaped strands of political thought over the centuries. Ideas and the principles and laws derived from them, whether secular or Christian in origin, are interconnected. This book reveals the practical effect of these ideas on our politics. The book assumes no belief in God, but explains why Christian principles can form the basis of a flourishing society. Christian political thought is consistent with reason and encompasses a realistic but hopeful vision of what it means to be human and to live in community. In the light of Christian principles, recent developments in the law and current thinking, the book examines detailed policy issues and suggests changes which need to be made.

Christian thinking has shaped our nation’s intellectual life – our culture, art, literature and music, our institutions and our laws. We are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. We need the guidance of a creator God and the wisdom of the past. The application of Christian principles to politics may not always be straightforward and there are debates to be had. Freedom of belief and expression is a Christian principle and the basis of a free and democratic society. Respect for each individual is essential even, and particularly, when we disagree with their views. This book will help people, from whatever standpoint, to think through our beliefs and discuss them constructively with others.

Just as Christian communities exist for all members of society, particularly for the outsider, Christian values reflect the created order and are good for all people everywhere. Despite the challenges of public policy in a complex world, a Christian vision can transform people, communities and the nation. The vision is one where self sacrifice trumps self service, generosity replaces greed, compassion overcomes convenience, personal restraint mitigates self  indulgence, hospitality vanquishes hatred and isolation gives way to interdependence.

It is my hope and prayer that this book may help us to make that transformation a reality.
 
Andrea Minichiello Williams,
CEO, Christian Concern
 
February 2013

Twitter

Subscribe to our emails