Now that everything in London is busy again after the snow which followed the Christmas break, political issues are back in the headlines. Specifically, the Government’s new Bill which claims to promote Equality.
Does it do so? No. It aims, among other things, to ensure that churches are prevented from insisting on the right to teach, without equivocation, the Christian message on sexual ethics. By the time you read this, various amendments may have been proposed and – possibly, given enough prayer and support! – adopted. But in its initial form, the legislation is deeply worrying for Christians. It means that The Bill currently proposes making it impossible for churches and their linked organisations to insist that a successful applicant (including applicants for the role of vicar, priest or pastor) live the faith with respect to sexual ethics and would make it impossible for many church and para-church bodies, especially within the Evangelical and Catholic traditions, to function in accordance with their faith.
Is the Government trying to hurry all this into law before a General Election? Already, there has been some acknowledgement that the law could be extremely unjust, and some minor amendments have been made on the Government side – but not enough to ensure that churches can preach and teach with integrity.