The first UK Gay Liberation Front Manifesto was published in 1971. The document urged activists to target law, education, and the media as part of a cultural revolution to demolish the family. It was critical of Christianity because its ‘teachings support the family and marriage’.
Having such revolutionary aims demonstrates that the gay movement is an ideology (i.e. political movement). Yet today people are taught the falsehood that the gay movement is simply about ‘equality’ and must therefore be embraced and celebrated. Another myth is that Christianity is anti-equality and anti-diversity.
In the last 60 years other anti-Christian ideologies have arisen such as the radical feminist ideology, pro-choice ideology, and trans ideology. In each case we are told they are about equality, justice, and rights. In reality they are anti-Christian ideologies that campaign for major changes that greatly impact the family, children, and education.
This article seeks to explain why and how Christians should respond to the rise of these anti-Christian ideologies.
Why Christians should be concerned with social issues
Supporting the spread of the gospel is one of the most important goals of Christians. However, there are several reasons why Christians should take an interest in social issues and, where appropriate, get directly involved:
(1) The Bible contains the blueprint for the best way to organise society, such as marriage between one man and one woman, the seven-day week, parental rights, and the justice system. Christians have an important role explaining these crucial biblical institutions to governments.
(2) Nations that follow biblical principles are blessed (Psalm 33:12 and Proverbs 14:34). In contrast, nations that do not follow these principles can expect adverse consequences and even judgment (Romans 13:2). There is also an important duty to protect children (Luke 17:2). Governments need Christians to explain these profound promises and warnings.
(3) In the 1960s a parliamentary group of humanists was started. The group has steadily grown to over 100 members. If Christians do not defend Christian-based laws, the humanists will replace them.
(4) Scripture gives us biblical examples of believers being directly involved in government and having a very beneficial influence (e.g. Daniel, Joseph, and Esther). There are Christians in parliament today having an effect for good.
(5) History records many examples of Christians achieving great progress in social equality such as the abolition of slavery (Wilberforce), Labour reform (Earl of Shaftesbury), and prison reform (Elizabeth Fry).
(6) Campaigning and lobbying organisations like Stonewall now have a huge influence in society. Because the LGBT ideology is viewed as being about equality and diversity, Stonewall have almost open access to schools. Stonewall have education professionals that they offer to schools to explain how to integrate its own ideological viewpoint into the curriculum. They encourage primary and secondary schools to apply for School Champion Awards of gold, silver, or bronze. To get these awards the school must make LGBT doctrines prominent in the school classroom and curriculum. Christians need to be aware of the influence of such pressure groups.
How Christian-based laws have been eroded in the last 60 years
The last 60 years have seen a gradual but large erosion of Christian-based laws.
(1) Abortion Acts
One of the consequences of the sexual revolution in the 1960s was a dramatic increase in unwanted pregnancies. And so it was no surprise that abortion was legalised in 1967. The pro-choice ideology essentially argues that the abortion of babies is a price worth paying for enabling people to choose a promiscuous lifestyle.
The Vice President of the USA recently pointed out in response to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, ‘All lives matter including the lives of the unborn.’ Sadly, no UK political leaders have voiced opposition to abortion with such clarity.
Since 2017 pro-abortion MPs have been trying to bring in legislation to decriminalise abortion. If the legislation is successful it will represent a significant change because it will be a move toward ‘abortion on demand’ rather than for a medical reason. The legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland in 2020 was the end of any pro-life legislation in the United Kingdom.
I have a personal interest in the abortion law as I was born in 1963 out of wedlock and following an unwanted pregnancy. I would have been a prime candidate for abortion and so can appreciate the profound consequences of the abortion law.
(2) Divorce Acts
The Divorce Reform Act 1969 made obtaining a divorce much easier and came into force in 1971. This led to a dramatic rise in the number of broken families and encouraged people to stop seeing marriage as sacred and lifelong (Matthew 19:6 and Malachi 2:16). Rather than saving people from bad marriages, the Divorce Reform Act has mainly had the effect of allowing many people to seek divorce for selfish reasons.
A bill introducing ‘no-fault’ divorces in England and Wales received royal assent in June this year and is likely to come into force in late 2021. The bill will enable a married couple to get divorced on the grounds that their relationship has broken down rather than because of any unreasonable behaviour on the part of either person. The new bill also removes the requirement of having to be separated for a period of at least two years.
While the intention to reduce conflict in divorce is very understandable, the bill nevertheless is damaging to the institution of marriage by making divorce quicker and easier. The modern relationship culture is such that young people see relationship splits as a normal and regular part of life. If divorce is made to be easy then there is the danger of short marriages being seen as the norm.
(3) Acts relating to homosexuality
Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 banned local authorities and schools from promoting homosexuality. Following pressure from lobby groups, this legislation was repealed in 2003 with David Cameron later making an apology for the original legislation. The repeal of Section 28 led to other LGBT policy goals, such as the adoption of children by same-sex couples and the legalisation of same-sex marriages (Marriage Equality Act 2013).
How modern ideologies are dangerous for society
It is vital to be aware of the dangers of modern ideologies:
(1) Modern ideologies confuse young people about who they are. Some authors claim there are 13 genders, some 63, while others argue that gender is fluid. Young women are mocked if they want to be ‘just’ mothers and young men are told they should not see themselves as the leader of their family. I have held senior pastoral positions in academia and witnessed how the mental health of young people has deteriorated over the last 25 years. I have no doubt that confused teaching about gender roles has played a significant factor.
(2) There is intense pressure to conform to modern ideologies. As with school awards, Stonewall have diversity awards they give to organisations. If a company does not have one of these awards at the bottom of their letters and emails, they risk being named and shamed.
(3) Modern ideologies encourage a ‘victim’ or ‘identity’ mentality. Identity politics is where people identify with a narrow cause (feminism, homosexuality, transgenderism, and BLM) and see themselves as victims who need to make emotional protests about perceived past injustices. Ironically, identity politics ends up creating a divisive society by pitting one group of people against another (e.g. black versus white and feminist versus trans). When almost everyone is a victim, it is then harder to identify true victims who are experiencing real abuse.
(4) Modern ideologies encourage an intolerant ‘cancel’ culture. People who challenge such ideologies have their invitations cancelled or their products boycotted. Stonewall have given out ‘bigot’ awards to people (mainly Christians) who question modern ideologies. When David Jones, the Secretary of State for Wales, voted against the same-sex marriage law and pointed out the obvious fact that a father and mother were the best thing for children, he was heavily criticised in the press. Recently, authors who have questioned aspects of the trans ideology have lost their work contracts.
(5) Modern ideologies encourage an anti-authority culture. They encourage rebellion against parents (Romans 1:30), government, and sometimes even the police. And the cancel culture is a type of mob rule which often hides behind the internet. Instead of government, they want leadership by self-appointed pressure groups and social media campaigns. Leaders are now expected to bow the knee to the people rather than the other way around. Of course, rebellion against authority leads to chaos in every part of society.
(6) Modern ideologies encourage an anti-God culture. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK desperately needs to call on God for help. Sadly, no national leader in the UK has done that. Instead of seeking God’s help, there have been declarations of trust in science and the resourcefulness of people. In contrast, the USA Vice President Mike Pence has openly called on Christians to pray for their nation in this time of crisis.
(7) Modern ideologies get privileged publicity. Premiership footballers have worn LGBT rainbow laces and BLM shirts to give free support to those ideologies. This is despite the premier league having a policy of banning politics from football. The soccer coach Pep Guardiola recently made a complaint about this unfair practice, pointing out that he was fined and reprimanded for wearing a yellow pro-Catalonia symbol at a football match.
How Christians can respond
(1) Pray for protection of the church. The influence of modern ideologies can be seen in the church with increased divorce rates, increased rebellion against parents and increased questioning of biblical gender roles. It is important for church leaders to affirm the biblical female role of homemaker and male role of leader. The church also needs to encourage respect for authority and biblical marriage.
(2) Give prayer and support to Christian lobby groups like The Christian Institute, Christian Concern, CARE, and the Lord’s Day Observance Society. The Christian Institute has had a very beneficial impact on parliament and has won some key cases. From 2014–2019 it led a campaign that caused the Scottish parliament to drop the ‘named person’ scheme that would have caused serious conflicts with parental freedoms. Christian Concern has also successfully supported important court cases. Creation organisations like Answers In Genesis and Christian Ministries International also play a vital role in defending biblical teaching on marriage and gender.
(3) Pray for Christian schools to be protected from being forced to embrace modern ideologies. Of course, Christian education is not appropriate or possible for every Christian family. However, Christian schools are providing a safe haven for many children. Growing numbers of non-Christian parents can see the benefits of sending their children to Christian schools.
(4) Pray for the nation (1 Timothy 2:1-2). If there is further rebellion against God’s laws, the breakdown of society will accelerate. We should pray that God will deal with our nation not as it deserves but according to his mercy (Psalm 103:10).
The facts of history show how Christianity has brought peace and stability to nations through true equality and true diversity. The book of Revelation describes the diverse nature of the church with members of every nation, tribe, people, and tongue (Revelation 7:9). Male, female, black, and white are equal before God. The accusation that Christians are anti-diversity is a lie of the devil.
The world’s version of diversity is a false one that leads to division and a breakdown of the family. We are currently living at a time of a great spiritual battle in national politics. Satan is attacking the institutions of marriage, gender, Sunday, and parenting, knowing that this will create chaos and anarchy.
We can be comforted that God will gain the victory and fulfil his purposes and so we should not be dismayed. However, we can still grieve for our nation and fight to bring back true godly standards.
Professor Stuart Burgess is a speaker/writer on apologetics. He holds senior academic positions in the UK and USA.