As expected the Queen’s Speech included the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. If these Bills clear the commons during this session they will have a considerable effect on our society. It is noteworthy that the media have remained very quiet about them; if unchanged, they will further constrain Christians in living out and proclaiming Biblical truth, and will have a harmful effect on society as a whole.
Human Tissue and Embryos Bill
The Lawyers Christian Fellowship note: “The Government are pressing ahead with laws to allow the creation of ‘cytoplasmic hybrid embryos’ (human cells mixed with animal eggs) and ‘true’ hybrids (human eggs mixed with animal sperm and vice versa). Although these proposals have been described as ones which will “ensure Britain remains at the forefront of medical research”, experimenting in this way is not only a horrific affront to God’s creation order, usurping His role as Creator, but is highly dangerous, unethical and unbiblical.
Furthermore, Parliament will relinquish to the regulator of embryo research, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the power to decide the boundaries of science in this area in the future. We cannot predict what scientists will do when given this amount of power to play with the embryo. Unimagined science fiction possibilities could become a living reality.”
Then there is the fact that the family, as we know it, will be redefined when laws are introduced to allow lesbian couples to gain automatic legal status as parents (two mother legal parenthood) over children born using a sperm donor, even though only one of them will be biologically related to the child“, and under similar provisions, Homosexual men will be allowed to request a parental order (two father legal parenthood) where a child has been born from a surrogate mother. Effectively this further undermines the ‘family’.
Another sweeping change is found in IVF treatment, where there has previously been a legal stipulation that the need for a father should be taken into consideration; in this Bill that is removed so parenthood is defined in law according to a person’s preference rather than truth, biological fact or the child’s best interests. This drives a coach and horses through the biblical ideal for family.
In addition the new Bill expands the scope for ‘saviour siblings’. Present law allows embryo selection in order to treat existing children who suffer from life threatening conditions. This process involves numerous healthy embryos being destroyed. The bill proposes that embryos can be selected to help children with a ‘serious illness’ too. No legal definition for ‘serious illness’, therefore a wholly subjective judgement could include anything which those providing treatment want to include within that definition. The present law is unsound, but these proposals will further slacken the application of this ethically defective approach to healthcare.
Christian Concern For Our Nation is working on an action pack on how to respond to this piece of legislation, I will post the link as it becomes available.
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill
This sounds innocuous enough, doesn’t it? The problem is that it will include a provision making it a criminal offence to incite hatred against a person on the grounds of their sexuality. The provisions represent a serious assault on freedom of expression and freedom of speech. As Christians we must love people irrespective of their sexuality, but also, we are called to speak the truth in love. This new law will put us in a tough position as biblical teaching on homosexual practice is likely to be alleged as incitement of hatred against homosexuals. Christians may be unable to speak openly about the bible’s teaching on sex and sexuality even within our own meetings.
The introduction of this law is excessive and unnecessary since criminal law in the UK already (quite rightly!) prohibits physical and verbal assaults, in addition to the use of threatening language and behaviour against homosexuals, as it does against all people.
“So”, I here you cry, “what can we do about this?” For now, pray, and lobby your MP telling them of any concerns you have and why you feel they should take an interest in these issues (http://www.writetothem.com/).
Then as the Public Bills Committee reports on these proposals in the coming weeks, we can be more specific about how to approach our lobbying. I will review any action packs as they become available and post the links on this page.