Discriminating Against Christians Yet Again

Here we go again.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull are Christians. They own Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion, Cornwall. They aren’t liberal, Christianity-is-whatever-I-decide-it-is Christians. As a result, on the booking form page of their website they state:

Here at Chymorvah we have few rules, but please note that as Christians we have a deep regard for marriage(being the union of one man to one woman for life to the exclusion of all others).

Therefore, although we extend to all a warm welcome to our home, our double bedded accommodation is not available to unmarried couples – Thank you.

If you have been paying attention to UK equality legislation, you know what happened next. Someone in a same-sex relationship was looking for a hotel, came across the site and notified Stonewall, the anti-heterosexual rights organisation, who then took it upon themselves to warn the Bulls they were breaking the law by not positively facilitating fornication irrespective of gender coupling or bodily oriface.

After all, the hotel has refused double beds to plenty of unmarried heterosexual couples, including Mrs Bull’s own brother and his girlfriend.

Now I just don’t believe that Steven Preddy then happened to ring to book a room without having seen the website, or the complaint from Stonewall, for that matter. He and his partner Martyn Hall were not surprised when the hotel refused to honour their booking when they showed up. It was a set up to try to stick it to the Christians. They were only there to set up a case of “discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation”.

Mr Preddy and Mr Hall reported the incident to the police and have filed a civil case claiming £5,000 in damages for the alleged discrimination.

Preddy and Hall are right about one thing. This is a case involving discrimination. There is discrimination against those who have beliefs that particularly kinds of behaviour are wrong. These are not beliefs unique to the Bulls. This is the universal witness of Christianity, with the exception of a few people in the last few years who decided that they could find sexual immorality and Christianity compatible by simply calling evil “good” and good “evil”. For that matter, it is the universal witness of of Islam and Judaism and most of the world’s other religions.

It’s not like there are aren’t lots of other hotels of an equal or superior quality or price that could have accommodated Preddy and Hall or anyone else Stonewall wants to send around. So in fact Preddy and Hall weren’t been denied the chance to stay in a hotel. It is about an agenda to force everyone to accept a particular behaviour as equal and normative. The gay rights lobby have the Government on their side. The Bulls’ hope the European Convention on Human Rights will be interpreted to supercede this as it says that people are able to hold a religious belief and manifest it in the way they act. But will plain language prevail against the unholy spirit of the age?

Debating Whether or Not to Share the Gospel

Now you would have thought the answer would have been in the long tradition of missionaries sent throughout the world. Or maybe they would have seen the Great Commission in Matthew 28.  But no.

The General Synod of the Church of England is going to debate whether the C of E bishops should report to the Synod on “their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in multi-faith Britain” and give examples of how the Gospel should be shared.  In other words, the issue is whether the church should try to convert non-believers in any religion and remarkably more controversially, adherents to non-Christian religions.

A lay member of the Synod put a motion forward for July’s meeting of the Synod, but it was not heard. It appears enough pressure was brought to have it put on the February agenda. Of course it could always be shelved at the last minute again.

In the Church of England they like to avoid controversial things like sharing the Gospel.  In February the Synod meeting will also debate whether clergy should be banned from being members of the British National Party. This is probably because there were C of E clergymen on the BNP membership list that was stolen and published on the Internet.

There will be a presentation on “the implications of the financial crisis and recession”. The Church is worried that the economic downturn could damage the its billion-pound investment in the stock market as well as takings in the collection plate.

This is all much easier to deal with than the claims of the Gospel. After all, if you go around saying Jesus is the only way to God, then you are likely to offend the Muslim community. If you dare to state the obvious that this means you should attempt to convert Muslims, then you stand in direct confrontation with the stated Muslim aims of convert Britain to Islam, and the C of E doesn’t like confrontation.

As the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, the newly appointed Bishop of Urban Life and Faith (wherever that diocese is) said earlier this year, “Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs are learning to respect one another’s paths to God and to live in harmony. This demand for the evangelisation of people of other faiths contributes nothing to our communities.”

At the same time, a church spokesperson explained, “We have a mission-focused Christian presence in every community, including those where there are a large number of Muslims. That engagement is based on the provisions of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” That’s right, the C of E’s engagement with missions is based on the ECHR, not the Bible or the Tradition of the Church.

Eliminating Public Prayer

It’s like something you would see in the States. A public body wants to include prayers and they are warned about being sued. After all, somebody might be offended by short introductory Christian prayers. This may seem strange in the country with an established Church.

What you have to remember is that Parliament is no longer the supreme authority in the land. The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) is worried about the implications of Article 9 of the and Fundamental Freedoms, which trumps any British legislation. The language of it seems innocuous enough: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

The NALC is worried that this could be used by anyone, councillor or member of the public, to argue that their right to practise their non-Christian religion or no religion could be infringe. That’s why they’ve urge the Bideford town council to stop praying. They want to eliminate any risk of a court challenge. Clearly, once one council has been challenged then any others might be challenged. Town and parish councils have such small budgets than any sort of damages awarded would be devastating.

But it is not just European law that is a problem. The NALC is worried that the Race Discrimination Act may also come into play. I have never understood this. What does religion have to do with race? After all, most Christians in the world are not of the same race as the members of Bideford Town Council.

For now Bideford Town Council have voted to keep the prayers, after one councillor offered a motion to get rid of them. Unfortunately they are waiting to see what the Government’s position is on all this before discussing it again. Knowing this Government’s track record against Christianiy, that does not bode well.