Friday, 28 April 2017

Liberty of speech in the UK in 2017 - and what are we going to do about it?

Background: Tim Farron caved on a key issue in which the world and the followers of Christ are opposed. A front-line issue. He now finds himself in the unhappy position of all of those who do so. He's now not at home on either side. The people of the world who wanted to see him cave won't believe him, because they know that he caved under duress, rather than freely speaking his mind. They suspect, very strongly, that he doesn't really believe what he said when he caved - because if he did believe it, why would he not have said it earlier? Why the coyness, when he was just being asked to agree with the majority around him in the circles that he's in? What was the problem with going with the flow and saying that you hold the fashionable view?

Whereas, on the other side, he's just sold the cause of Christ down the river because his professed adherence to Christ's teachings was politically inconvenient. He's publicly legitimised those who say that the commandments of Christ have no place in the public sphere, and that anyone who wants to be more than a private individual must call good evil, and call evil good to get along. For Tim Farron, to call wickedness wickedness would have been bad for his current ambitions in the things of this life. He's denied the teaching of Christ on one of today's key issues, publicly denying the authority of God to determine human sexual ethics. What God calls vile rebellion against his created order, Tim Farron says is not a sin at all. This denial should immediately trigger a church disciplinary process within his fellowship. He ought to be required by his church to choose one side or the other, for the love of his own soul and the protection of the flock.

But notice this from the article too: in 2017, 32% of Britons believe that there should be no freedom for public figures to express a view on sexual ethics that deviates from the new orthodoxy. They don't just disagree with Christian sexual ethics - they think that public figures should be forbidden to do otherwise than disagree with it. Speaking out against the sexual revolution is apparently not just a mistaken idea that people can debate. The very act of wanting to debate it is wrong. Anyone wanting to do so should be banished from public life, apparently.

I don't think it takes any great stretch of the imagination to believe that the figure of 32% is higher among our social "elite", who have been far "ahead" of the public at large on such issues. i.e. Among the law-makers - the people with the power to put the thought that "people who disagree with me should have no right to speak" into practice. This is the UK in 2017. We are increasingly proving false the idea that freedom and Christianity can be maintained separately. i.e. That if we banish Christianity from public life as the source of moral instruction, then we can still hold on to the ideas that it brought with it. Or put another way, we can chop the roots off, and still have some good, healthy fruit. The fact is, that it has historically been Protestant Christianity - with its doctrines of a future day of judgment, and sphere sovereignty - that has provided the basis for freedom to disagree within reasonable bounds during the present time. Once you do away with that, you just have the state and "might is right". Public oaths of conformity for all public persons to rigid anti-Christian state dogma. The thought police. This isn't a distopian future. This is what a very considerable people in high places in the UK today actually want, and are no longer afraid to say so. What's your church's strategy for dealing with that reality?

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