Following the enactment of the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), in which the House of Lords voted 168 to 122 in favour of the Government measure, Andrea Williams of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship wrote, ‘The vote … marks the imposition of a new morality’.
She continued, ‘It is a clear sign that, despite saying they were going to consult and listen, the Government has failed to respect the consciences of citizens whose values are formed and shaped by their deeply held religious beliefs, be they Christian, Muslim or Jewish. This could have been easily resolved by a simple conscience clause.
‘In a week where the whole country celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery, brought about, by and large, through the determined efforts of William Wilberforce, we would do well to remember his driving force and motivation stemmed from his Christian conviction.
‘History will record that today’s vote marked the increased secularisation of Britain, confining faith to private thought rather than public manifestation in works of service for the whole community.
‘The consequences and implications of the SORs will unfold month by month. The result of the vote will mean that rather than balancing rights, the right to live a homosexual lifestyle will trump the right to live a Christian lifestyle’.
Freedom to disagree
Reporting on the Lords debate, the Church Society mentioned that only three out of a possible 26 bishops in the House of Lords were there for the vote.
However, John Sentamu Archbishop of York, did quote William Wilberforce – ‘The time is fast approaching when Christianity will be openly disavowed, in language as in fact it is already supposed to have disappeared from the conduct of men: when to believe will be deemed the indication of a feeble mind and contracted understanding’.
Similarly, Baroness O’Cathain declared, ‘I venture to suggest that most religious believers hold that sex is only for marriage. That rules out adultery, sex before marriage and homosexual practice. Churches have believed that for thousands of years. It is profoundly dangerous of the Government to decide to use the law to force religious believers to change their beliefs …
‘In the main, churchgoers … believe love means not helping people to do things that are morally harmful and against biblical teaching, from the Old and New Testaments. That is their belief. It may not be the belief of all noble Lords, or of government ministers, but it is their religious belief.
‘Are we to ride roughshod over it because we think we know better? Is it right to say, “You must do business our way or not at all”? There is not much tolerance or diversity in that. Surely tolerance means freedom to disagree’.
While we thank God for the few who like these expressed their opposition to this misconceived measure – and for the 100 Commons MPs who had earlier voted against it – SORs have resulted in an easy victory for amoral pragmatism.
Nothing can disguise this dreadful fact – we are witnessing a decisive act of communal defiance by Britain against Almighty God.
‘We will not have this man to reign over us’, is how the citizens responded to their King in the parable of the Minas (Luke 19:14). This was precisely the Jewish mindset when they crucified the Lord of glory. That mindset provoked the divine anger and brought catastrophe on the nation 40 years later.
Britain’s progressive rejection of biblical morality, even in a formal sense, has gone on for many years, of course. The SORs are just the latest and perhaps most blatant example. But rejection step by step is still rejection, and God has a long memory!
We need to cry to God – that he will have mercy upon our guilty nation; and that ‘in wrath’ he will ‘remember mercy’.