Christians in the U.K. are continuing to warn that the government’s planned “equality” legislation will drive Christian believers out of public life. The Christian Institute, Britain’s leading evangelical Christian lobby group, has issued a report titled “Marginalising Christians,” detailing the many recent cases of Christians who have been disciplined or lost work because of conflicts between faith and the government-sponsored and increasingly aggressive secularism.
The government’s recent equality and diversity laws, the group says, leave Christians “the first to be punished and the last to be protected.”
The report cites a poll taken in January 2009 that found that 84 per cent of Britons felt that freedoms of religion and of speech are at risk in the UK.
The report said that this “growing sense of intolerance felt by Christians is made all the worse when they face hostility in the name of ‘equality and diversity’.”
“Christians wonder why they are not being treated equally and why diversity does not include them. They feel that a hierarchy of rights has sprung up which leaves them bottom of the pile. This has led to a growing feeling that ‘equality and diversity’ is code for marginalising Christian beliefs.”
George Pitcher wrote Monday in The Daily Telegraph that the Labour government’s Equality bill, currently working through the House of Lords, was being used by “parliamentary secularists to drive religion from the public sphere.”
“Any issue will serve as a means for secularists to marginalise believers. You could call that discriminatory, but to do it under the banner of equality is peculiarly hypocritical,” wrote Pitcher, a liberal Anglican minister and religion editor for the Telegraph.
There is, he said, “a delicious irony in equality being thrust upon the household of faith.”