A Christian produced a video in which he voiced his opinions against transgenderism. For that, he was reported to – and was investigated by – North Yorkshire Police for a ‘hate crime’. I sincerely hope by the time you’re reading this, the police have dropped the troubling case. But we are hearing of these incidents with increasing frequency. And it’s chilling.
The irony is, this all stemmed from a Church of England project called ‘Living in Love and Faith’. The project aims to promote ‘learning together, listening to one another’ about LGBT issues. It was promoted with a trailer featuring a transgender vicar. Yet, as soon as someone dared to criticise her, the ‘learning’ and ‘listening’ to one another went right out the window. She dialled 999.
Make no mistake about it, there are campaigners who don’t want a genuine dialogue. They’re not interested in a conversation for mutual understanding. They mean to criminalise churches and preachers who hold to biblical teaching about gender and sexual ethics.
In November’s ET, our front page reported on former evangelical Steve Chalke teaming up with others to campaign for precisely that. They think churches should face high profile prosecutions if they preach, teach, pray, or offer pastoral counselling according to biblical sexual ethics. And the government is giving it serious consideration, under the guise of banning ‘conversion therapy’.
Not only that, the Scottish government is also considering the introduction of new draconian hate crime laws. In an echo of the East German Stasi, they even think the laws should reach into people’s private homes, not to mention churches. It is good to hear that some concessions have been made, but the bill is still dangerously flawed.
We need great wisdom and grace as we navigate these turbulent waters. We also need courage. We can’t allow ourselves to be shaped by the pressures coming from the culture. We must hold firm. We must look to Christ to guide us. We must look to God’s Word to sustain us. And we must keep on preaching the gospel, no matter the cost.