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The following is a transcript.
Tame churches are useful. They confirm the values and priorities of the powerful and help keep believers quiet. They play the game.
It is easy to co-opt a church. Give it a distinctive place in the state. Shower its leaders with honours. Make it beholden to the state for its place in society. As we saw in Nazi Germany and elsewhere this works remarkably well.
There is however, always God’s Awkward Squad. Those Christians who reject the enticements of the powerful. What the powerful cannot abide is a Church which doesn’t play the game, which rejects the values and priorities of the establishment. A challenging Church must be silenced.
Progressive power over the culture forming institutions remains overwhelming. Progressives dominate our schools and universities, the unions, mainstream denominations and especially the media and entertainment.
The one sector where they don’t hold sway is amongst traditional Christians. Traditional Christians are seen by progressives and the mainstream Church as ‘God’s Awkward Squad’. They insist on holding to the foundational beliefs progressives are otherwise successfully overthrowing.
Progressives have to find a tactic to stop traditional Christians. Nazi Germany and the USSR turned to persecution. The problem with this is that it doesn’t always work. As long ago as AD 197 Tertullian wrote, ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.’
The progressive’s chosen method is to portray Christianity as a private passion. A hobby to be exercised in private but not allowed out into the public square.
The most egregious example came in 2004 when Italy nominated Rocco Buttiglone, for the post of European Justice minister. Buttiglione, a practicing Catholic, holds traditional Christian views on marriage, family life and homosexuality.
‘I may think that homosexuality is a sin,’ he said when questioned by members of the European parliament, ‘But this has no effect on politics, unless I say homosexuality is a crime.’ He continued, ‘The state has no right to stick its nose into these things.’
These traditional Christian views clearly disturbed many members of the European parliament who thought the state did have the right to stick its nose into such things.
Some MEPs denounced him as unfit for the important post. Josep Borrell, the socialist president of the European parliament, described Buttiglione’s comments as ‘Shocking’. Borrell suggested ‘If he were in charge of beetroots his Christian beliefs would not be such an important factor.’
Criticising the establishment’s tame press for superficial coverage which misquoted his statements Buttiglione said, ‘I’m an innocent victim of an orchestrated campaign. And he was right.
In 2015 Felix Ngole a student on a social work MA course posted comments on Facebook supporting an American registrar who was sacked for refusing to conduct homosexual weddings. Part of Ngole’s offence was that he quoted the Bible. Ngole was chucked off his course at Sheffield University, effectively closing off a career in social work.
In July 2018 David Mackereth, a Christian doctor who had worked for the NHS for 26 years, was about to take up a senior post at the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions when he was declared ‘Unfit to work’.
Why? He thinks that one’s sex is defined by biology, not self-identitification. Dr Makereth said during a training session that he could not in ‘good conscience’ deny his belief in the biblical teaching that ‘God made humans male and female.’
Nurses losing their jobs for offering to pray for patients. Registrars forced out of post for refusing to participate in same-sex unions. An academic stripped of his research fellowship at a British university for Tweeting about Islam. Cases such as these could be multiplied.
Even more damaging is the creation of an atmosphere where Christians are silenced through fear of the consequences of speaking out. Self-censorship is a potent means of silencing contrary views.
In 2016, the Casey review into community integration in Britain recommended there should be an oath to uphold ‘British values’ for all holders of public office.
The report attempted to define those values in the prevailing secular, socially liberal terms by redefining ‘extremism’ as any religious view ‘at odds with the views of mainstream society.’
By today’s definitions those holding biblical views, held by Christians for two millennia and which shaped Western society’ can be labelled extremists ‘at odds with the views of mainstream society’.
Dame Louise Casey’s review actually singled out the ‘newer Christian churches’ as an example of those whose beliefs are not acceptable to her.
This is all of a piece with the progressive narrative. Progressive society increasingly puts forward the position that we Christians are entitled to hold our biblical views, even on sexual ethics. We are not, however, entitled to express them in public.
Freedom of belief without freedom of expression is no freedom at all.