As you will probably know from the media, the Government has proposed amending the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill to introduce an offence of inciting hatred on the grounds of sexuality. This Bill will affect the law in England and Wales. There is a serious risk that this would effect the freedom of Christians and others to openly express their views and beliefs about sexuality. Such a law is unnecessary, as homosexuals are already adequately protected from abuse by the criminal law, in the same way that we all benefit from such protection. However Stonewall have been lobbying hard on this.
The next stage of proceedings is that the House of Commons have convened a Committee to discuss the Bill and decide what amendments should be put to Parliament. This Committee will be considering a whole raft of provisions, but one of the issues they will consider is whether to include this amendment.
The Committee will begin meeting on Tuesday 16th October, and on that day they will be hearing evidence from Stonewall, the homosexual rights lobbyist group which has been advocating this change in the law. So far no religious groups have been announced as one of the groups being asked to give evidence to the Committee.
Please email/ phone / write to the members of the Committee List of members of the Committee http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmpbcriminal.htm, preferably before Tuesday, to stress your concerns about whether this amendment is needed, and the negative effect it would have on freedom of speech and freedom of religion in this country. If you cannot submit the evidence before Tuesday, it will still be read and considered if it is received by the end of next week. Written evidence can be submitted to email@example.com, and it will be circulated to all members of the committee and published on the committee website.
Many Christians will be unaware of this, please do share it with as many as possible and encourage your congregations to pray.