Online Safety Bill will ‘fan flames of intolerance’ towards Christians

The Government’s Online Safety Bill seriously threatens Christians’ free speech, a leading campaigner has warned.

In an interview for news website Christian Today, Toby Young, Founder of The Free Speech Union (FSU), said the “short and medium-term prognosis” for Christian freedom of expression under the Bill “isn’t good”.

He said this is because some traditional Christian views are already considered “offensive, or even ‘hate speech’”, and that the proposed legislation would make this worse.

Hate speech

Young argued that the legislation, which will force social media companies to address ‘legal but harmful’ speech on their platforms, will almost certainly result in them taking down “posts expressing orthodox Christian beliefs”.

He feared the duties imposed on Big Tech by the Bill content “will make those platforms even more intolerant” of some Christian teaching – “such as the belief that sex is immutable”.

Young continued: “That belief isn’t ‘harmful’, of course, but trans rights activists will claim that anyone expressing that belief is ‘harming’ them and such objections are likely to be taken seriously. Indeed, that claim is already taken seriously by some social media companies”.

He explained that a FSU member “started a petition on urging the Oxford English Dictionary to keep its definition of woman as ‘adult human female’ and removed it on the grounds that defining a woman as an ‘adult human female’ was ‘hate speech’.”


The Christian Institute has previously raised concerns that the Government’s push to clamp down on illegal and harmful content online could result in the censorship of Christian teaching.

Institute Director Colin Hart observed that the Bill contained only a “very weak and ineffective duty” to uphold free speech, and asked: “Where will this leave mainstream Christian beliefs on sexual and medical ethics, gender, marriage and parenting?”

He warned that Big Tech “will get to decide what should and shouldn’t be allowed in crucial and controversial areas of debate. Their yardstick will be their own commercial interest and so will inevitably go much further than what the law requires.”

Also see:

Online Safety Bill may license ‘woke prejudice’

Online Safety Bill risks censorship of Christian teaching

Revamped Online Safety Bill still a serious threat