Support from secular media?
Is the media starting to realise that Christians are being unfairly discriminated against? The following editorial from the Daily Telegraph (7 February; quoted with permission) comments on the cases of nurse Petrie and Pilgrim Homes in Brighton. It highlights the growing perception, even in the secular media, that Christian groups are increasingly being discriminated against and even persecuted in the name of tolerance. It is good to see this opinion being more widely recognised and exposed. The editorial says:
‘We are pleased to see that Caroline Petrie – the nurse who we reported last Sunday had been suspended for asking a patient if she could pray for her in order to aid her recovery – will be reinstated and allowed once again to work with patients. That at least is a victory for common sense.
‘But we are surprised and saddened to discover how little of that commodity the Government and other authorities seem able to deploy in their attempt to lay down rules for the expression of Christian belief by doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
‘As we report today, it took legal action by Pilgrim Homes, an old people’s home specifically for Christians, to persuade Brighton and Hove council to restore to it an annual grant of £13,000.
‘The council had cut the money because Pilgrim Homes was reluctant to ask its residents, 39 of whom were more than 80 [years old], about their sexual orientation not just once, but four times a year. The council accused the home of ‘homophobia’ because of that reluctance, and because it did not feature gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender old people in its promotional leaflets.
‘How many other cases of such stupid, blinkered and pointless ‘regulation’ are there? No one knows, but the anecdotal evidence from Homes and individuals that have faced aggressively punitive action from the authorities merely for demonstrating their Christian convictions suggests that the number is far from small.
‘Religious toleration is the cornerstone of every free society, and of course it is right that faiths other than Christianity should be treated respectfully. But toleration must not become an excuse for the persecution of Christianity – which, it should not be forgotten, is still the official state religion of this country.
‘The Government is entitled to ensure that other faiths are treated fairly. What it is not entitled to do is impose penalties on Christians for practising their faith. Too often, that is what is done’.