‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A Christian Conscience in the Public Square

Once upon a time it was illegal to be a practicing homosexual, but the law was changed to give freedom to those who did not wish to live according to a Christian moral code. But how times have changed, now it is becoming increasingly apparent that in many areas of public life it is illegal to be a practicing Christian with a keenly honed conscience. In our increasingly secular state the law protects the right of consumers in using services, but it does not protect those who wish to serve the public within the framework of a Christian ethos. There have been some important equality moves in the past, even many supported by Christians, but the law is now creating and extending equality legislation on the basis of sentiment and lifestyle choices, not on objectively established criteria of what it is to be human. In other words, the law is becoming detached from reality and is being used to persecute people on the basis of their deeply held faith.   

The latest case involves a gay couple taking another B&B to court http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19991266 Of course many Christians would turn a blind eye to what people do in private, but these cases pick-out the vulnerable Christians who are not sophisticated enough to play the modern games society expects. This is though, I would suggest, a hollow victory for the gay community because some (perhaps it is only a minority) seek to deny other people the freedoms they have won for themselves, and the law is moving towards the isolation of Christians from large areas of public life, areas such as adoption, counselling and marriage where the church has been central to the life of the community in the past. The Christian community has a strong sense of social concern and a deontological understanding of human rights and values, but the state is cutting it off from its vocation, this on the basis of sentiment, materialism and consumerism so as to establish, rather ironically, social equality.

Of course we need to be careful to recognise the humanity of gay people, many are genuinely hurting, but at the same time we need to remember the humanity and conscience of Christians in public life as well.

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