Staggering and chilling comments yesterday from Lord Justice Laws in the case of Gary McFarlane, the counsellor dismissed for being unwilling to provide counselling for homosexual couples:
“...in the eye of everyone save the believer religious faith is necessarily subjective, being incommunicable by any kind of proof or evidence. It may of course be true; but the ascertainment of such a truth lies beyond the means by which laws are made in a reasonable society. Therefore it lies only in the heart of the believer, who is alone bound by it. No one else is or can be so bound, unless by his own free choice he accepts its claims.
"The promulgation of law for the protection of a position held purely on religious grounds cannot therefore be justified. It is irrational, as preferring the subjective over the objective. But it is also divisive, capricious and arbitrary.”
Note well, this judgement assumes:
- That Christianity is not evidential
- It is entirely subjective (for which read "untrue")
- Shouldn't be a factor in the public square, especially in law-making
- The views of religious people should not be taken into account in a "reasonable society".
I take this last point to mean that "reasonable" for the Lord Justice means "secular atheist". It seems to me a very small step from this to defining what may or may not be thought, publicly taught or what claims for objectivity will simply be dismissed from public discussion, legislatively or otherwise. How long before someone brings a court case against parts of the Bible being publicly read or taught? For sure Christian teaching on morality better get out of the public square according to this judgement, or it will act as a bar to working in a variety of public sector positions. Bye-bye freedom of speech.
This is a classic instance of an atheist believing that atheism is the arbiter of the validity of all worldviews rather than one of the participants in the discourse.
How do Christians respond?
- We speak anyway. We continue to teach, preach and live the moral implications of the gospel; with gentleness and respect but firm clarity too
- We expect those who disagree to increasingly try to use law to change our opinion, frighten us into silence, or remove us from our jobs. It is a power game pure and simple. When faced with people who don't buy your argument, silence them by force
- We pray for those who persecute us and do them good wherever we are able
- We pray for God to comfort his people and protect them from the evil one, especially Mr McFarlane
- We use every opportunity and every breath to tell the whole wide world that Lord Justice Laws is simply wrong. Christianity is objective, not subjective, evidential, rational. God does not reside only in the heart of the believer
- We had better be very sure that we are able to say why we believe what we believe. Because what we believe is increasingly not being tolerated. There is no more crucial time to train all our people to given clear reasons for the hope that we have
- We realise that this is simply "normal service" being resumed. It is like this - and much worse - for most Christians in the world all the time. We have simply become sleepily used to society not hating Christians and need to wake up, take it on the chin, and use every opportunity it gives to witness to authorities. If we can't get into the public square through being allowed in (strange in a democracy), then we get in when called to testify in court