Blunkett speech causes fear of clampdown on Christian belief
Earlier this afternoon David Blunkett launched an astonishing attack on Christians throughout the UK. Announcing a new policy to criminalise ‘incitement to hatred’, the Home Secretary has implied that he wants to clamp down on the beliefs of evangelical Christians.
David Blunkett has resurrected the proposed law after it was thrown out in 2001 by the House of Lords. At the time evangelical Christians raised alarm that the incitement offence could be used to criminalise ordinary Christians for expressing their beliefs.
In his speech this afternoon David Blunkett explicitly equated evangelicals with Islamic terrorists. He talked about “those who would take our lives because they reject our faith” and went on “…[the new law] applies equally from far right evangelical Christians, to extremists in the Islamic faith.” [See below for fuller transcript.]
The proposal appears to be a new censorship law which allows politicians to decide what is an acceptable religious belief and what isn’t.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said today:
“David Blunkett today has showed the danger of giving politicians the power to censor religious belief. The confidence of evangelicals in this new law has been shattered by the Home Secretary’s intemperate comments.”
“He appears to want to introduce this law to clamp down on evangelicals. A new incitement offence could put church leaders in jail and affect Christian schools, youth work or street preaching.”
“Many evangelicals have gone down in history as great Britons – Wilberforce, Shaftsbury and Josephine Butler, to name a few. To equate evangelicals with terrorists is an outrage. I call on the Home Secretary to retract his implied assertion that evangelicals in the UK are calling for the murder of non-Christians.”
Note for editors:
- Extract from speech given by David Blunkett on 7 July 2004:”We need to be able to take on those extremists and say, I’m afraid in our society, pluralism and openness, the ability to accept differences without being subsumed, is crucial to our survival, it’s what distinguishes all of us, from every faith, from those who would take our lives because they reject our faith, and it applies equally from far right evangelical Christians, to extremists in the Islamic faith.”