What would YOU like the new Prime Minister to do? After the recent turbulent political events, there is a new, apparently steady, hand at the top of government.
But unlike her temporary opponent, Andrea Leadsom, Mrs May has a track record of six years in charge of the Home Office – the government department which arguably has the most power to affect the lives of Christians.
Now Andrea Minichiello Williams, Britain’s best known campaigner for Christians’ freedoms, has written a frank, open letter to the new Prime Minister. She points out that while Mrs May was at the Home Office, we saw an “alarming” increase in Christian organisations being forced to water down or deny their ethos in order to function within the public space.
She also warns vicar’s daughter Mrs May, “To restore the name of Jesus Christ in public life will require enormous courage.”
The new PM has said she’d press the nuclear button. That shows courage. Time will tell if she will deploy that courage to promote Christian values and freedoms.
Andrea Minichiello Williams’ letter
Dear Prime Minister
This feels like an extraordinary moment in British politics. As such, you have been tasked to do extraordinary things.
As someone who has grown up in the Christian faith perhaps you will have, just as Esther did, a sense of being raised up ‘for a moment such as this’. This is, for you, a God-given moment. We pray that you will see it as such and honour the Lord Jesus Christ in all that you do.
In 2015 you voted against the introduction of assisted suicide, for which we thank you. We hope and pray that your government will continue to value the lives of the most vulnerable; the unborn child, the sick, the disabled and the vulnerable, and resist any further attempt to liberalise the law on life issues. Instead, we hope that greater care and support for these members of society would be a priority for your government.
The EU referendum has exposed some deep divisions across many areas of our society. You have spoken of mending broken Britain; of a lost social fabric. We believe that this is because, in our nation, we have forgotten our Christian heritage and squeezed out of public life the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and all the values and social good that come from following him.
During your time as Home Secretary we saw an alarming increase in Christian organisations being forced to water down or deny their ethos in order to function within the public space. At the Christian Legal Centre we have seen, over the past decade, countless instances of Christians being side-lined from the public space, despite the deep compassion that motivates them (particularly in the education, medical and social sectors).
We saw Christians losing their public sector jobs for offering prayer or giving testimony to their faith. We saw them punished and losing their jobs in the public institutions for professing marriage to be between one man and one woman and talking of children doing best when raised by a mother and a father. In an open and free society these freedoms are not superficial but are fundamental.
As Prime Minister can you pledge to end this worrying trend and promote the restoration of Christian values and freedoms in public life? Secular atheism has replaced Christian thinking in the public square and has, instead of providing ‘neutrality’ as it claims, brought hostility and persecution, as is so prevalent with all left-leaning ideologies when thought crime is punished by the state.
Functional atheism provides no answer to the rise of radical Islam. Only Christianity can. Different belief systems have different outcomes. As Prime Minister will you choose to promote Christianity that has brought well-being, human flourishing, kindness, hospitality and prosperity to our nation?
Will you consider an immediate halt to the previous government’s counter-extremism measures that do not distinguish between Christianity and Islam and which will further suppress Christianity in our nation? Will you consider naming clearly the present threat posed by a radical Islamic ideology and ensure current laws are fully implemented to deal with the threat from within? We need specific affirmation and protection of what is good as well as systematic elimination of all that is not good.
The Bible tells us that ‘without a vision, the people perish’. The people are looking to a new prime minister to set out a vision and a hope for the public good; a clear declaration of what is good and what is bad.
To restore the name of Jesus Christ in public life will require enormous courage. We feel sure that if you do this then our nation will flourish and your premiership will be as pivotal as the timing is crucial.
Andrea Minichiello Williams