We are assured that if any culture war exists it is an activity of those brash chaps on the other side of the Atlantic, here in the UK it doesn’t exist. If that is true it is only because here in the UK we have mostly capitulated. Any warfare which does exist is the activity of a few obdurate guerrillas whilst church leaders sip tea and swap bon mots with leaders of state and media opinion formers. “It is jolly important to do nothing to endanger lines of communication.”
As pointed out previously anyone who has read Cornelius Van Til, and managed to understand any of his work, will be aware of one lesson he forced home – there is no such things as neutrality; not in philosophy, not in politics, not in laws and especially not in belief. We see this clearly in law. Legislation is enacted morality. Any law says basically “Action A is right, action B is wrong.” Whether we talk about drunk driving or insider trading the law attempts to codify prevailing cultural morality and values.
We see this conflict clearly when the Council of Europe talks of ‘the supremacy of human rights over any religious tenet’. Here in the U.K., charity law no longer sees religion as by definition a charitable object, but it has to prove to be of ‘public benefit’.
There are numerous incidents such as prohibitions on wearing a cross, or praying with or even mentioning God to others in the workplace. These are of little importance individually but point towards a mind set which restricts freedom and clamps down on divergent opinion.
Freedom of conscience and the exercise of religious belief is regularly trumped by an ethic of supposed ‘equality’ which actually favours one group over another. Thus principled Catholic adoption agencies are forced to close rather than place children with homosexual couples.
Freedom is not a matter of judging right and wrong, rather it is about accommodation. How far we should go in respecting the freedom of those whom we oppose? It is meaningless to speak of freedom of conscience and religion if we effectively ban beliefs and practices we do not share.
Every society limits freedom, that is part of our social compact. This does not mean that fundamental beliefs should not be accommodated as far as possible. Seeking to legally silence opponents is a step towards totalitarianism.
The High Court in England and Wales has effectively ruled in the Johns case that traditional Christians cannot foster children. Observant Jews, Hindus, Muslims, in fact the orthodox amongst all major religions still hold to traditional sexual morality; presumably this means that none of these can foster, or logically speaking, adopt. The wellbeing of vulnerable children falls under the wheels of the ‘rights’ of homosexuals. Once again the powerful triumph at the cost of the weak.
More important than the judgment itself was the reasoning behind it. In its ruling the High Court said the laws of the realm “do not include Christianity.” The reasoning being that as a pluralistic and secular state British law cannot favour one set of beliefs over another.
Yet in the Johns case there was no appeal to favour one set of beliefs over another. The Johns were merely asking for the state to make allowance for the enactment of their Christian convictions; an accommodation which would injure no-one. The court refused.
Once again in a British court the secular belief system triumphed over a form of religious belief. Whilst proclaiming its belief in and respect for pluralism the court calmly and deliberately chose one side in a clash of values. A traditional view of sexual morality was set aside in favour of a relativistic sexual ethic.
A particular set of values, and ultimately religious outlook, is being imposed upon Britain.
Whether we like it or not there is a cultural struggle. Traditional Christians are finding themselves, however reluctantly, in conflict with a new absolutism clothed in the camouflage of pluralism.