You may think the day would never come when preaching the Gospel would be illegal in a Western country—when governments would restrict what Christians can teach.
You would be wrong. The persecution against the Church has taken a decisive turn in the cradle of civil liberty—the United Kingdom (UK). And it will happen in America, also, if we do not wake up to the danger.
In London last month, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights recommended regulations that would make it illegal for private, religious schools to teach that homosexual conduct is immoral. The committee claimed the regulations are needed to combat discrimination against homosexuals.
And we know about this. Last summer, the British government closed down our IFI unit because we teach that sex should be limited to heterosexual marriage. And if these regulations violate the rights of Christians—what does the government say? "Too bad."
Luke Gormally, a fellow at London's Linacre Centre, a Christian bioethics institute, put it this way: "The Committee could not be clearer in saying that they believe the freedom to live a practicing homosexual lifestyle trumps the freedom to live a religious lifestyle."
The committee explicitly said that no exemption should be made for Christian schools. So, unbelievable though it sounds, Gormally notes, when it comes to sexual morality, the committee would make it illegal for Christian schools "to teach that Christianity and its principles are 'objectively true.'"
Christian schools will not be alone in seeing their religious freedom stripped away. If this law passes, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for ministers to share the Bible's teachings on sexual morality. Property owners who do not want, for moral reasons, to rent property to homosexuals will be breaking the law. So will Christian printers who refuse to print pro-gay literature.
Last Thursday, a House of Commons committee met to decide on the Sexual Orientation Regulations. Many MPs protested the Blair government's refusal to allow a full debate in the House of Commons. And despite repeated appeals for a postponement, the chairperson insisted on taking an immediate vote: The regulations were upheld.
Now, the Blair government is attempting to rush the law through both houses of Parliament before opponents have time to organize. The vote will take place on Wednesday.
On that day, many Christians will be found at a prayer vigil in Old Palace Yard near the entrance to the House of Lords. We need to be praying with them, because it is going to take a miracle to keep this law from passing.
We must also realize that we are going to face this same kind of persecution if same-sex "marriage" is legalized in America. It's already begun, especially in Massachusetts, where same-sex "marriage" was imposed by judges. For instance, a federal judge recently decreed that Christian parents cannot opt their kindergarteners out of public school classes that normalize homosexuality. And last year Catholic Charities shut down its adoption agencies rather than agree to send innocent children into homosexual homes.
This is why we desperately need to be vigilant—especially our religious liberty groups. This is why, for example, we need to pass a federal marriage amendment. If we do nothing, we are going to be facing the same future that Christians in the UK are facing: a future in which preaching the truths of the Gospel is against the law.
From BreakPoint®, March 20, 2007, Copyright 2007, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship Ministries