As Christians living in modern Britain we enjoy precious freedoms that our fellow believers in less open nations could only dream of. These freedoms didn’t fall out of the clear blue sky, they were won for us in past generations by courageous Christians who wrestled for them and passed them on to us.Now, I was under the impression that the head of state of the United Kingdom was also the head of the Church of England. How much, do you think, have Christians in this country had to fight, over the centuries, to practice their faith? Not a lot, I suspect.
On the other hand, it wasn't until 1753 that the Christian rulers of this country would actually allow Jews to become citizens of the UK. Even then,
on being brought down to the House of Commons, the Tories made a great outcry against this "abandonment of Christianity", as they called it.When Webster claims
There is not one inch of liberty that isn’t worth fighting forI wonder how far he intends to go.
He backs up his moaning by providing examples of harassed Christians, such as
Lillian Ladele, the Christian registrar from Islington who was threatened with dismissal unless she performed homosexual civil partnership registrations. The Supreme Court said the case “does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance”. Miss Ladele is now taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the UK has unlawfully infringed her rights to religious liberty.Liberty in this case meaning, the right to bring your prejudices against homosexuals to work, and refuse to carry out the job you're paid to do. If Miss Ladele was a bus driver, and refused to allow homosexuals onto her bus, would people like Webster be making a song and dance about it? It's exactly the same principle.
There was good news in April when a case involving a Christian mother and part-time school receptionist was settled without going to court. Jennie Cain had been disciplined by her employers following a dispute about a private prayer email.What isn't mentioned is that Cain's daughter had been going around informing her classmates that they would go to hell if they didn't believe in Jesus. After the headteacher admonished her daughter, and then reprimanded Cain (since, after all, the child didn't pluck notions of original sin and eternal damnation out of thin air), Cain sent around an email whining about her treatment.
Mrs Cain took legal action against her employers for religious discrimination and the matter was settled out of court. Her employers paid out an undisclosed sum of money and agreed that Christians should be treated with “sensitivity and respect” at the school.
Mr Read defended the school's treatment of the matter and said they encouraged all children to "think independently", but would not condone one child "frightening" another.Webster then cites the case of the homophobic B&B operators, who presumably have no problem with a husband raping his wife in one of their double beds, but can't abide the thought of two gay men having a good night's kip in one.
He said: "We have 271 children in our school from a diversity of backgrounds.
"We encourage all our children to think independently and discuss their beliefs with their teachers and classmates when it is appropriate to do so.
"What we do not condone is one child frightening a six-year-old with the prospect of 'going to hell' if she does not believe in God.
"We conveyed to her mother, in a perfectly respectful manner, that we do not expect it to happen again."
In the same month, the Christian owners of a Guesthouse appeared in Bristol County Court to defend themselves against a claim of discrimination brought by a homosexual couple. Peter and Hazelmary Bull’s guesthouse restricts double bed accommodation to married couples. The guesthouse is also their home. But civil partners Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall say the policy is unlawful and are suing the Christians for £5,000, including for injuring their feelings. The trial lasted two days and the judge has reserved his decision until after Christmas.More pathetic whimpering. If you want to provide a service which is open to the public, why do you feel that your beliefs earn you a right to opt out of whatever equality provision you choose?
To sum up, then, Christians want their place in society while taking none of the responsibility. As their book states, they deem themselves special, and demand their prejudices be taken seriously. They want the right to discriminate against whoever they choose, and not to be discriminated against themselves.
It's time they started to stop complaining about their lot in life, and start accepting that in a modern secular society, which is what it is, there's going to be a lot of people who disagree with you.
Anyway, isn't it supposed to be good for you to suffer? And aren't you going to have the last laugh on Judgement Day anyway?