Posted by: stpowen | February 11, 2011

Freedom of Worship or freedom of Religion?

Martin Marprelate would not be an instinctive ally of Archbishop Cranmer, but I am grateful to his Grace for highlighting part of David Cameron’s recent speech in Munich. 

The Prime Minister said,   “…I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality.”

The problem is the little phrase, “Freedom of Worship.”  How is that different from “Freedom of Religion”?  Cranmer, quoting a Danish blogger, explains:-

 Freedom of religion includes the right to have a faith, to manifest it and propagate for it, alone or together with others, also in the public arena. It also gives the right to change beliefs and religious affiliation. This is what democracies would (or should) adhere to.

Freedom of worship is a definition practiced in countries influenced by Islam. You may be allowed to be a Christian, but you mustn’t take it into the public arena or share your faith with others. If you are a Muslim you are free to be a Muslim and display it publically but you can’t leave Islam.

So in other words, Mr Cameron will let us have our faith as long as we do it in private and keep quiet about it.  It used to be homosexuality that was permitted to ‘Consenting adults in private,’ but now homosexuals can be as open and in-your-face as they wish and it is Christians who, like Peter and Hazelmary Bull (1), will face the full force of the law if they seek to live out the implications of their faith.  

There also appears that there may be some double-talk going on.  When I wrote to my M.P. about Said Musa (2) who is on Death Row in Afghanistan for leaving islam for Christianity, I got a letter from Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister responsible for Afghanistan, saying that the F.O. was “monitoring developments.”  It looks as if it might be monitoring Mr Musa all the way to the gallows, but let that pass.   Mr Burt also stated that “We [the government] also strongly support the right to freedom of religion or belief.” 

So who is telling the truth?  Or is there one version of it for private letters to constituents and one for International consumption?  I think it would be a very good idea if as many Christians as possible wrote to their M.P.s asking if the Government supports Freedom of Worship or Freedom of Religion.

If you would like to support Said Musa, you can sign an e-petition here.





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