Are you a “non-violent extremist”? Definitely – especially if the Government counter-extremism plans are approved!
The Christian Institute are encouraging us to pray for the Government’s policy on ‘extremism’ which is posing a real threat to our freedoms.
At the heart of the problem is the definition of “extremism” – the definition the Government has been using is far too wide. According to a comprehensive report by parliament’s joint-committee for human rights (a cross-party group of MPs and peers from the House of Lords) the government’s proposed ‘Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill’, is superfluous because all laws already exist to target any offences. The committee stressed the need for a clear distinction between violent extremism and religious conservatism. They said: “New legislation which would impact on those expressing conservative religious views poses two problems: either it will focus on Muslims, be seen as discriminatory and drive a wedge between communities, or it would operate indiscriminately and could be used against any groups who espouse conservative religious views.” If you want more background information about the issues involved Christian Concern have produced an eBooklet called (click on this link) “Challenges arising from HM Government’s Counter Extremism Strategy” It’s definitely worth a read!
Theresa May was the architect of the ‘Counter-Extremism Bill’ when she was Home Secretary. We must expect it to go ahead now she is Prime Minister.
Many heroes and heroines of the past were labelled ‘non-violent extremists’, like the ones we are covering in our current Sermon Series, including the real Hero of them all – Jesus Christ, simply because they strongly challenged the political or moral consensus of their day.
The Government wants to introduce a law to silence today’s “non-violent extremists” who show “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British Values”. These values are defined as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”. This is dangerously vague and subjective language
A consultation has been promised on the Government proposed measures to counter-extremism, including the definition of ‘extremism’.
Please pray for wisdom for our governing authorities that these extremism plans would be dropped that the Government would instead adopt a targeted response to violence and disorder and for God to preserve our religious liberty and freedom of speech.