In Western societies such as the UK, it has been obvious for years that to public bodies, corporations, much of the mainstream media, and even sometimes the law, #ChristiansDontMatter.
They don’t matter in domestic politics; they don’t matter around the world.
The eventual ruling by the UK Supreme Court in the Ashers Bakery ‘gay cake’ case in 2018 felt like a watershed moment. It firmly established the legal principle that a religious person — in this case a Christian — had the right to disagree with a prevailing viewpoint, even when that viewpoint concerned that most toxic of spheres in public debate, identity politics. (A similar ruling in the United States established the same principle there.)
“The ruling by the UK Supreme Court in the Ashers Bakery ‘gay cake’ case in 2018 felt like a watershed moment. It firmly established the legal principle that a religious person — in this case a Christian — had the right to disagree with a prevailing viewpoint, even when that viewpoint concerned that most toxic of spheres in public debate, identity politics.”
It felt as though that ruling would put to bed much of the increasing pressure being directed at Christians — at others, certainly, but especially at Christians — to endorse the prevailing dogmas of modern society.
Unfortunately, that has not proved to be the case. If anything, it seems to have gotten worse since then. Time and again, businesses, public bodies and even sometimes the judiciary in the UK have ignored the consequences of the Ashers ruling, and discriminated against Christians.
Meanwhile the mainstream media largely ignores the plight of persecuted Christians around the world. The plight of the Uighur people in China has rightly received much international attention. But the severe persecution of Christians in many other parts of the world — and indeed the forced closure of churches and jailing of Christian pastors in China itself — has not received the same attention.
Here are just a few of many examples of how modern Western society is demonstrating that, both at home and abroad, #ChristiansDontMatter.
October 2017: BBC website pretends Reformation didn’t happen
Or at least they tried their very hardest to ignore it, on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous ‘95 Theses’ — a defining moment in European history.
May 2018: The genocide of Kachin Christians in Myanmar
Well done to the Guardian for highlighting the plight of Kachin Christians facing genocide from the authorities in Myanmar. But on the whole, this is a people largely overlooked by the Western media.
May 2018: Jo Swinson calls Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Catholic beliefs “extreme”
“Is [your Catholicism] a barrier, do you think, to holding high office?”
Jo Coburn, ‘Daily Politics,’ 22 May 2018
On the BBC’s Daily Politics on 22 May 2018, Member of Parliament Jo Swinson, a guest on the programme, called the views of another guest on the programme, Jacob Rees-Mogg, “extreme.” She was referring to his belief, as a Roman Catholic, that life begins at conception, and therefore that abortion is wrong.
The programme’s presenter, Jo Coburn, also suggested that Rees-Mogg’s Catholic views were “a barrier to holding high office.”
September 2018: Independent Online shames Christian woman for being true to her beliefs
They wouldn’t do it to somebody else. A Christian is ‘fair game,’ it seems.
April 2019: Billy Vunipola axed from Channel 4 because of their ‘values’
In April 2019 the broadcaster Channel 4 said that it was axing the England rugby player Billy Vunipola, who is a Christian, from their rugby coverage because of his support of a social media post by Australian rugby player Israel Folau. The latter had expressed on social media the belief that homosexuality is a sin.
Channel 4 said in a statement that it would not be using Vunipola in their rugby coverage again because his views were “incompatible with our values as an inclusive broadcaster.” Oh the irony.
October 2019: BBC News website endorses forced closure of Chick-fil-A restaurant in Reading
Why the BBC thinks this closure is ‘okay’ is anybody’s guess.
December 2019: BBC can’t find a Christian interested in voting
At the time of the 2019 UK General Election, the BBC website published a Newsbeat article entitled, “General election 2019: ‘Faith is the number one thing influencing my vote.’” But it didn’t seem to think that Christians needed to be represented on this article. Or perhaps they were unable to find a Christian who intended to vote. Who would have guessed?
December 2019: Judge in Maya Forstater employment tribunal rules that belief in biological sex “is not worthy of respect in a democratic society”
“If an employee can be dismissed for the views which Maya Forstater expressed, what is to stop employers dismissing anybody for expressing a mainstream Christian belief?”
Although to my knowledge Maya Forstater does not profess to be a Christian, the view for which she lost her contract at the Centre for Global Development coincides with mainstream Christian belief, embodied in the statement in the first chapter of Genesis, “male and female he created them.” The judge at her employment tribunal, Judge James Tayler, deemed that such a belief “is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
David Aaronovitch rightly points out how sinister this ruling is. If an employee can be dismissed for the views which Maya Forstater expressed, what is to stop employers dismissing anybody for expressing a mainstream Christian belief?
David Aaronovitch, “The law only seems to protect trendy beliefs” (The Times)
June 2020: The terrible persecution of Christians in Nigeria largely ignored by UK media
Well done to the Spectator for highlighting the terrible persecution of Christians in Nigeria, which has been going on for years. But once again, this is an issue largely ignored by the UK mainstream media.
November 2020: Christian actress Seyi Omooba sacked over 2014 Facebook post, is denied right to support of expert witness
In November the Christian actress was denied the right to the support of Lloyd Evans, a theatre critic for the Spectator, in her employment appeal tribunal.
Ms. Omooba had been sacked from a production of The Color Purple after a Facebook post from 2014 emerged in which she had expressed the view that homosexuality is a sin.
The employment appeal tribunal is expected to be heard in the new year.
7 December 2020: Labour shadow faith minister resigns after expressing faith position on freedom of conscience
“I sincerely apologise for my misjudged comments…”
Janet Daby, Shadow Faith Minister, 7 Dec 2020
Labour’s shadow faith minister Janet Daby, a Christian, yesterday resigned after expressing the position in a Zoom briefing for the Religion Media Centre that there “needs to be something in place that respects people’s conscience and views of faith” to protect marriage registrars who, because of religious convictions, did not want to officiate at same-sex marriages.
For this perfectly reasonable stance in a liberal society, Ms Daby later issued an apology for her “misjudged comments.”
Increasingly it looks like the Labour Party in the UK has no place in it for Christians.
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“What these stories say to me as a Christian is: ‘You don’t matter.’”
What all of these incidents and stories say to me, as a Christian, is: “You don’t matter. Your Christian brothers and sisters around the world don’t matter. The people with the power in society don’t care about you.”
That’s why I am trying to raise awareness with the hashtag #ChristiansDontMatter. Please support me if you can.
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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.