Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The non-PCs fight back

I am in favour of people's right to believe and people's right not to believe - but people dictating to Christians about what they can and can't do gets to be a bit much.

The Student Union at University College London decided that the campus would take a pro-abortion stance and affiliated itself to the organisation Abortion Rights. It voted that if the Catholic Society at the university organised a meeting with a pro-life speaker it must also have a pro-choice speaker and an independent chairman "to ensure there is a balance."

Some students took legal advice and threatened the Student Union with a legal challenge unless the decision concerning the Catholic Society were overturned. They pointed out that the resolution breached section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986, which defends freedom of speech in universities, and Articles 9 (Freedom of Religion), 10 (Freedom of Speech) and 11 (Freedom of Association) in the European Convention of Human Rights. They also pointed out that proposals to affiliate and donate to the Abortion Rights campaign were against the charity laws that govern student unions.

The Student Union trustees have now accepted that their decision regarding the Catholic Society was unlawful.

Neil Addison, director of the legal centre which advised the students, said "I am delighted with the result, which is due to the courage of pro-life students refusing to be intimidated. I find it worrying that a students' union should be so ignorant of the concept of free speech and demonstrate such a totalitarian and intolerant mindset."

Said Andrea Minichiello Williams, of Christian Concern: "This was an attempt to stop freedom of speech and belief. It is a snapshot of what is happening across the country. Deeply held beliefs are being labelled as offensive and those who hold them are being victimised. Political correctness is being used to control what people can think or say. It is an ideology that must be challenged because it's undermining historic freedoms in a significant way."

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

Atheist Hayley Stevens complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the group's claims "could not be substantiated." The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaint and ordered the group to stop stating on their website or in literature that God can heal in answer to their prayers.

Christian MPs Gary Streeter, Gavin Shuker and Tim Farron have written to the ASA telling them that unless they have "indisputable scientific evidence" that it is impossible for God to heal in answer to prayer, they intend to bring up the matter in Parliament.

Interesting, eh?