Iâ€™ve been following the progress of the religious hatred bill debate since the start of last October (05) when the protest of hundreds against it took place. Iâ€™ve even been doing pieces on it for an online writer/journal called Dogmanet. But I have not made my view (where I stand) on the possibility of the Bill known. Neither in the journal, nor to myself.
Needless to say but when I say the Religious Hatred Bill debate I am speaking of that debate which brought comedians like Rowan â€œmr.beanâ€ Atkinson to be alongside Premiere radio and evangelical alliances representing the Christian voice of Britain. Both sides protesting against such a Bill to ever come into existence. One of the actions the lay believer could have taken was to sign a petition at your local church or through Premiere radio website to name a few. My elder brother signed one, and I would have done the same if presented, though I am not so optimistic about the effectiveness e-mail signatures to stop a law.
There is one question that ran through my mind while I was submitting the latest happenings on the Bill for the journal, and that was where do I stood on the issue, on the debate over the Religious Hatred Bill. Where I stood on whether it should be brought into existence or not. I ask myself where I stand because I am not a public street preacher, or preach from the rooftops, I am not in a position in a religious institution to indoctrinate one faith, nor am I taking phone numbers inviting unbelievers to my local church, or door knocking to convert. So I come to the conclusion that the passing of this Bill may not directly affect me, but as a believer my faith is based in a book, which speaks of exclusions and damnations as well as salvation. So I wonder whether I should support and sign petition against the Bill on Christian Principle not practice alone.
I hope this fits in Andy, and keep it up.
I think too many are reacting to this bill without knowing the details, including me! It seems to me that if we arrived in a place where preaching hell and damnation was perceived to be against the law we might attract a few more to the noble cause in this age when protest seems popular?
I strongly opposed the bill – slightly strange feeling, as I felt closer to the atheists campaigning against it than some of the fundamentalists!
But it must be important for us to have a lot of freedom to criticise other’s beliefs. The argument is that the bill doesn’t do anything about that, but I’m totally convinced by the counter-argument that it would generate a lot of self-censorship.
I must personally say that I havent thought about my faith this way in a while, that practising it or speaking about what attributes to it can be against the law. But as for drawing “more” people to the noble cause, I pause to question. Because the way to salvation is narrow after all, maybe such a scenario would draw less people but they would be “more” committed to the cause.
Fraid so mate! Fraid so. But here are some reasons why I feel this particular “guilty expression” you were alluding to.
The comedians and atheists protesting against this bill are probably from the stand point that we should be allowed to criticise other’s beliefs without it being against the law, which as you have stated is important for us.
On the other hand I have a feeling that my evangelical comrades are protesting also for the right to criticise other’s beliefs; which is cool. But from the stand point that â€œour beliefsâ€ are above criticism. So I guess I am more inclined to side with the stand point that criticises (not damns), and expects criticisms in return. If that makes sense.
Probably like a lot of people, I’m not sure what the point of the Bill is and why we need it when we’ve already got other laws. And like other people said, the fact that evangelical Christians are petitioning against it makes me feel wary about joining them, whereas for me, Rowan Atkinson lends more credibility to the protests.
Christian protests in general are a tricky question. I remember years ago, some Muslims criticised the depiction of Jesus in Spitting Image, and someone said it’s a shame we have to rely on the Muslims to protest, that the Christians hadn’t done so. But I feel like it’s a waste of time in our culture – protesting against Spitting Image or Jerry Springer The Opera doesn’t bring more honour to Jesus’ name, it just makes Christians look silly. ‘Christian Voice’ would argue that it’s our duty and right to protest, and to be taken as seriously as Muslims and Hindus. But I just don’t think that works in our society.
Ideally I think we should follow the advice in 1 Peter: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” and Jesus’ advice: “Let your light shine before other people, so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” In other words, our effort should be to make Jesus and Christianity look good by positive means, not negative ones – attracting respect and admiration rather than fighting against accusations and slander.
> the fact that evangelical Christians are petitioning against it makes me feel wary about joining them
Sums up my opinion exactly.
Sounds pretty sensible to me – protects Muslims from spreading hatred based on religion.
On the other hand, maybe I don’t believe in any of these “hatred”-type crimes. Why not just have laws against violence and encouraging violence and leave it at that?
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