The Christian Institute has condemned a sweeping editorial in The Guardian which claimed there is no reason for Christians to be ‘hysterical’ over imagined persecution in the UK.
Simon Calvert, spokesman for the Christian Institute, claimed the editorial was minimising the reality of life for UK believers and endorsing the right of other groups to override the rights of Christians.
On 17 April The Guardian published an editorial entitled, ‘The Guardian view on religious liberty: Christians in the west have nothing to fear’. It argued that the severe persecution of Christians overseas meant Christians in the UK should not complain about lesser problems in their own country. The editorial went on to say that Christian evangelism, although ‘obnoxious and embarrassing’, should not be made illegal; however, Christians should not get ‘hysterical’ about being marginalised in the UK.
Mr Calvert responded: ‘Most UK Christians do not need The Guardian to remind them that their own marginalisation should not be put on a par with the persecution of believers overseas. This does not mean that highlighting such marginalisation is “hysterical”. Why are Christians the only people The Guardian thinks should keep quiet when they are mistreated?’ He said the editorial seemed to equate ‘civilised society’ to ‘endorsing homosexual relationships’ and, in so doing, The Guardian was ‘devaluing centuries of orthodox Christian thinking’. Mr Calvert added: ‘This entirely ignores the fact that Christianity has made arguably the biggest single contribution to the civilised society our country has enjoyed for hundreds of years. More than that, they ignore the fact that the principle of religious liberty, Christians being able to live out their faith in the public square, is vital for a truly civilised society’.
According to Mr Calvert, letters criticising the editorial’s claims were subsequently published by the newspaper, with one respondent describing the editorial as ‘sinister’.