11 January 2007

Christian hatred 1 - a little context

No, gentle reader… I am not making this up: these are the facts.

On Tuesday this week, a group known as Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCON) organised a rally outside parliament in London, protesting against new laws which will outlaw discrimination.

Their action was timed to coincide with a debate in the House of Lords about the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which would ban discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexuality, in a similar way to the rules on sex and race discrimination.

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CCON warn that such laws would have the consequence of "discriminating heavily" against Christians of all backgrounds and denominations, accusing politicians of being engaged in an "intense and at times aggressive reshaping" of Britain's moral framework, many declaring that they would rather go to jail rather than accept these rules. Michael Reid, the leader of a church in Essex, declared that he believed “in freedom of conscience, and when anyone starts imposing views that are against freedom of religion then we are moving into a state that I think is evil."

Gay rights campaigner Mr Peter Tatchell of the group OutRage! branded the protesters two-faced homophobes, pointing out that the demonstration was the result of scaremongering, lies and hypocrisy, saying:

"If there are going to be laws against discrimination, they should apply equally to everyone. It is wrong to give legal protection against some forms of discrimination but not against others. Last year's Equality Act gave full legal protection against discrimination to people of faith. Some religious leaders are now demanding that the protection they have secured for themselves should be denied to lesbians and gays. It is hypocrisy and double standards. They want the law to give them privileged protection and for gay people to be treated as second-class citizens. If anyone was demanding the legal right to discriminate against Christians, these zealots would be outraged. Yet they want the right to discriminate against gays. They are two-faced homophobes. They have a highly selective and overtly homophobic interpretation of biblical morality."

Inside of the House of Lords, a bid to block the regulations put forward by Lord Morrow was rejected by 199 to 68 votes, and the legislation was defended by, among others, gay peers former Labour cabinet minister Lord Smith of Finsbury and Lord Alli.

Meanwhile, outside of the House of Lords, Christians and gay rights activists faced-off at a torch lit rally. CCON placards read Cry Freedom and their supporters sang We Shall Overcome… but it was a highly selective brand of liberty being demanded.

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