With all the uproar over expenses, you might think it would be a good time to gently move on with any contentious issues….
This week The Coroners and Justice Bill had its Second Reading Debate in the Lords. This may sound innocuous, but it has two proposals which Christians will have a view on:
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, has a freedom of speech clause which the Government wish to see removed, and they are using this bill as a means of achieving that aim. The concern raised by a number of Peers, and church leaders, is that if this clause were removed it would become even more difficult for Christians to discuss biblical views on homosexuality without being accused of “inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation”.
The Bill also includes provisions that would make it illegal to encourage suicide via the Internet. This is good, however much of the debating time was used by a number of Peers making a case for “assisted suicide”. We should be thankful that it was made clear that this was not and will not be part of the present bill, though a number of Peers seem to be preparing the ground for a Private Members Bill to lay the issue before parliament again.
The next important dates for the Bill’s Committee Stage are 9th and 10th June, when amendments to specific clauses, can be tabled and voted upon.
Christian Concern for the Nation have produced a good briefing document which can be found at: http://www.ccfon.org/docs/Information_and_Action_Pack_on_the_Coroners_and_Justice_Bill.pdf
Please do write to the Lord’s on the subject of this bill; contact details can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/directories/directories.cfm and http://www.writetothem.com/lords