Sir, Now that an Election is approaching it is interesting to note how the Party leaders are suddenly noticing the contribution that many Christians make in the workforce, not least in the charitable and voluntary sectors, but I shall judge them not by their polite words, but by their actions.
I for one would be unable to support any candidate, irrespective of Party, who was unwilling to support a modification of the so-called Equality laws so that they stop discriminating against my brothers and sisters, and as a result putting them at an economic and social disadvantage.
Indeed, this issue is the most important one for me at the Election.
Increasingly Christians are having to choose between following their conscience and losing their livelihood, or else promoting values and lifestyles that go against it, whilst ill-informed judges in Courts or Employment Tribunals, who have little understanding of Faith, make judgments based on prejudice and political correctness.
One recalls the Coalition government’s claim, supported by Labour, to the European Court of Human Rights that the wearing of a cross was not ‘a generally recognised form of practising the Christian faith’ and that the freedom to resign secures freedom of religion!
Whilst I appreciate the discrimination is as nothing compared with the persecution in many other parts of the world, we as a country call ourselves democratic and have prided ourselves on having higher standards of justice! By the time this is read a judgment may have been given on the Northern Ireland Christian bakery that was taken to court for refusing to make a cake promoting homosexuality, but, irrespective of the result, this case should never have been brought and has created a lot of stress for the owners.
Sadly this is just one example, and sadder still, the Church leaders in the main don’t seem to be speaking out!
As the Election campaign seems so often to be dominated by stings, soundbites and smears, let us pray that Christians will seek to understand the issues and then engage politely, robustly and authentically with those standing for office and that people of integrity will be elected. As for Election day itself, which might be the only one when our neighbours visit our churches, why not provide welcoming refreshments and display attractive non-partisan posters declaring what we are about?