The Christian Institute held an open meeting at St George’s Church, Worthing, in February, when Vicar Brian Penfold introduced James McIntosh and Gavin Webster from the Institute.
James and Gavin shared the concerns and some of the work of the Institute in addressing the increasing level of repression of public Christian values and expressions. This trend is reflected in several much
publicised court actions, such as the Ashers’ bakery case, where a baker declined to make a cake promoting gay marriage, and in the downgraded rating by Ofsted of a highly regarded and popular Christian school. It is reported that some girls at a Jewish school were recently ‘traumatised’ by intrusive questioning from Ofsted inspectors.
Gavin pointed out that 800 years ago, on 15 June 1215, the Magna Carta was signed to ensure freedom of faith in the UK, and that while we do still have much greater freedom than in many other countries, our freedom to live by Gospel values is now under threat.
James then highlighted the disregard of the Christian perspective on the sanctity of life – the UK has conducted 8 million abortions since 1967 and that there have been recent parliamentary debates on assisted euthanasia and the potential genetic modification of babies.
The growing concern about these trends in our society was reflected in the questions from some of the 150 who attended the meeting.
James encouraged those present to sign up for news on these matters from the Institute, which has a large variety of free booklets and reports on these and other key topics.
Both James and Gavin urged that Christians should:
• Be informed
• Pray, together when possible
• Write letters to MPs
• Engage with the media