The Christian Institute has spoken out amid pressure on Christians to censor themselves from speaking on topics such as marriage and abortion.
Speaking at a press conference on the research paper, “Perceptions on Self-Censorship: Confirming and Understanding the ‘Chilling Effect'”, Deputy Director for Public Affairs Simon Calvert addressed the impact of self-censorship.
The paper analyses four case studies conducted in Germany, France, Colombia and Mexico to explore why Christians opt to censor themselves. The research was jointly published by the International Institute for Religious Freedom and two other organisations.
Mr Calvert said: “One of the things that the report says, and one of the things I want to strongly underline, is that certainly here in the UK the law is almost always much better than the culture when it comes to free speech.
“The law is almost always strongly in favour of your freedom to speak, but the culture is not.”
He explained that street preachers are often concerned about giving biblical answers on sexuality, but the law protects them and the Institute has won every street preacher case it has taken on.
Mr Calvert said that if Christians speak well on controversial issues, it provides opportunities for others to agree with them, which creates space in the public square for similar views to be expressed.
The law is almost always strongly in favour of your freedom to speak, but the culture is not.
Last month, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke called on officers to tackle serious crime, burglaries and car theft but to steer clear of policing people’s views.
Cooke told The Times: “We’re not the thought police, we follow legislation and we follow the law, simple as that.”
He added: “The law is quite clear in relation to what is an offence and what isn’t an offence.”