Don’t Say Anything

Caroline Petrie has gotten her job back – for now. Given the overwhelming support she received in the press (including a petition started by the Daily Telegraph) and the broadcast media, North Somerset Primary Healthcare Trust probably didn’t want the backlash they would face if they sacked her.

That doesn’t mean that healing will be allowed to be associated with the Healer. The officially Christian country is still run by an aggressively anti-Christian Government. The Department of Health has issues guidelines that mean anyone working for the National Health Service who talks about their faith in any way to patients or colleagues could end up joining the ranks of the unemployed. It could be considered harrassment and intimidation.

This is further evidence that we are not living in a non-religious society, but rather an anti-religious society. (Not that I need further evidence, as I am confronted with this every day.) When Mrs Petrie was interviewed on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2, she was followed by an atheist psychologist. This woman was very concerned that someone would ask to pray from an ill person. She expressed that she would be very upset if someone asked to pray for her. (She made the point that she even rebukes those who say “God bless you” in passing.) The guest host of the show couldn’t understand why it would matter if someone wanted to pray to a God the atheist didn’t even believe in. This would obviously be done by someone showing care for her welfare. But for some reason the very mention of God to her is enough to set her off.

How do you hate Someone you don’t even believe exists?

Police Enforce No-Go Area for Christians

I was on the verge of writing about how Robert Mugabe has banned open-air prayer meetings in the run-up to the run-off election in Zimbabwe. Then I came across something closer to home – about 60 miles from my home.

Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham were handing out tracts in Birmingham. Abraham is pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship Church in Saltley. Cunningham is also in full-time ministry. They were sharing the Gospel with four young Muslims. That’s when the trouble started – not with the young people, but with a police community support officer. PCSOs are not sworn cops, but wear uniforms and work for the local police forces. They interrupted the conversation and began berating the preachers.

When the PCSO realised that Cunningham was an American ex-pat, he started on at them about Bush and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The Telegraph and BBC say that both are American, but according to his church website, Abraham is Egyptian and Muslim by birth.) If it had ended there, we would just have a case of extreme unprofessionalism from a member of West Midlands Police. But, of course it didn’t.

When the preachers didn’t take his bait, the PCSO got even more aggressive. According to Cunningham, “He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.” He didn’t. PCSOs don’t have powers of arrest. Of course he knew that. He was just harrassing them.

But he wasn’t done. He decided to try and scare them away. “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned”. Now if the only person who was aggressive and abusive to them was the PCSO, who was threatening to beat them up? Was he going to do it? Did he have people who would?

West Midlands Police have refused to apologise to Cunningham and Abraham. Their spokeswoman said, “The investigation concluded that the PCSO acted with the best of intentions when he intervened to diffuse a heated argument between two groups of men.” She said the unnamed PCSO had been offered “guidance around what constitutes a hate crime as well as his communication style”.

So in other words, West Midlands Police acknowledges that their employee wrongly accused the preachers of a hate crime. Their investigation obviously also concluded that PCSO did not communicate in an appropriate manner. Nonetheless, they refuse to apologise.

British Muslims Favour Killing Christians

The Sunday Telegraph has an important article today on the threat to Muslims who convert to Christianity in this county.

It’s the aspect of Islam that isn’t included in most school curricula. It doesn’t fit with the multi-cultural pan-religionism the Government (and all good liberal open-minded teachers) want to promote. The death penalty for apostates is a moderate Muslim view. This is not extremism.  This is not al-Qaeda and a few radical mosques.

Under the human rights pressure of international community, only seven countries have codified the death penalty. Pakistan, the sixth most populous country in the world, is currently considering legislation to make apostasy a capital crime. In most countries it is carried out by family and friends.

And yet a significant portion of British Muslims think that such behaviour is not merely right, but a religious obligation: a survey by the think-tank Policy Exchange, for instance, revealed that 36 per cent of young Muslims believe that those who leave Islam should be killed.

This should not come as a surprised because this is what Islam universally teaches.

Patrick Sookhdeo was born a Muslim, but later converted to Christianity. He is now international director of the Barnabas Fund, an organisation that aims to research and to ameliorate the conditions of Christians living in countries hostile to their religion.

He notes that “all four schools of Sunni law, as well as the Shia variety, call for the death penalty for apostates. Most Muslim scholars say that Muslim religious law – sharia – requires the death penalty for apostasy.

“In 2004, Prince Charles called a meeting of leading Muslims to discuss the issue,” adds Dr Sookhdeo. “I was there. All the Muslim leaders at that meeting agreed that the penalty in sharia is death. The hope was that they would issue a public declaration repudiating that doctrine, but not one of them did.”