Monday, February 06, 2012

Putting the pressure on those Christians

Unbelieving secular organisations are still telling Christians how they can and how they can't live their lives. There have been at least three examples in the news in the past week.

In Bath, a group of Christians belonging to a number of different churches - the group are a registered Christian trust - have gathered over the past three years outside Bath Abbey to pray for people, including people who are sick.

Presumably they go there out of the goodness of their hearts. Presumably they make no charge for their prayers, and presumably they only pray for people who are happy to be prayed for.

A woman complained about the group and the group has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority. What has it got to do with the Advertising Standards Authority, you might ask? The woman said the group's claims "could not be substantiated." The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaint, and has ordered the group to stop stating on their website or in literature that God can heal in answer to their prayers.

In London, the Student Union at University College London has voted to take a pro-abortion stance and affiliated itself to the organisation Abortion Rights. It has said that a Catholic Society at the university organising a meeting with a pro-life speaker must also have a pro-choice speaker and an independent chairman "to ensure there is a balance."

A barrister versed in religious discrimination law says the Student Union's motion is illegal. It is also claimed that in affiliating itself with Abortion Rights the Student Union has breached its own constitution.

In America, the US Government has announced that religious organisations will have to offer their employees contraceptive services, including sterilisation and drugs that induce abortions, as part of their healthcare provisions. Churches will be exempt, but faith-based organisations like colleges and hospitals will not.

Catholic churches and the National Association of Evangelicals have protested. As a concession, the Government has given the organisations a year before they have to violate their consciences in obedience to the new law.

Critics say the new law contravenes the US Constitution, which promises freedom to practise a religion, and should be ignored. The battle goes on.