Has Christianity Become Intolerable?
In the last few years, countries outside of the UK have increasingly been concerned about and commenting on developments within the UK with respect to Christians and the freedom to bear witness to the Christian faith. Benjamin Bull asks the question.
by Benjamin Bull
Peter and Hazelmary Bull
There has been a demonstrable move away from Judeo-Christian faith and practice in Europe for a number of years. Just ask British hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull.
What was once respected as authoritative is now considered Victorian, and what was widely embraced as a moral guide has been dismissed with the morals in which it guided people…all in the name of tolerance, mind you.
And so the Bulls have experienced the irony of ironies that Christianity is being forced out of the room by those who claim tolerance as their guiding principle.
They used to be poked fun at for their guest policy, “No double rooms for unmarried couples,” but they rolled with it. In fact, Mrs. Bull would simply deflect the criticism by saying, “You have to have some principles.”
But those days were fleeting. Now, instead of jokes, criticism, or negative headlines, the Bulls face lawsuits over their policy.
As the effects of Christianity have steadily eroded, the tentacles of secularization (its proponents would call it an “enlightened” secularization) has taken hold. It is marked by egalitarianism and utopian fantasies, but especially tolerance.
Tolerance for everything, except that which is intolerable, of course.
And at this particular turn in the road, a hotel policy that won’t allow two unmarried people to share a bed is at the apex of what will not be tolerated.
In fact, a British appeals court just upheld a £3,600 ($5,800) fine against the Bulls over their policy. This stems from a 2008 complaint against them, filed when they refused to rent Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy a double room because they are not married.
Hall and Preddy countered that they are in a civil union and that the refusal to rent them a room violates the U.K.’s 2007 Equality Act.
That act, like so many acts similarly impacting freedom of religion and conscience, “exempts some religious institutions from some nondiscrimination laws, but commercial guesthouses” aren’t among those receiving exemptions.
It’s the same act that allowed practicing Sikhs to carry their ceremonial swords on passenger airplanes but made no room for British Airways’ employee Nadia Eweida to wear a cross.
And this is when the intolerance of Christianity comes into full view. The same British government that said a secularly-owned business has no obligation to allow a Christian to wear her cross has now gone the extra step—in the Bulls’ case—to claim that no one forces Christians to start a business and, therefore, they can’t object when the government wants to force them to violate their consciences.
In other words, if you’re a secularist, you and the law are going to get along just fine. But if you are a Christian, you start a business at your own peril.
It’s kind of like saying, “heads I win, tails you lose.”
That’s the new face of “tolerance” that has replaced “Victorian,” biblical ideals like freedom of expression and religion.
To anyone who’s really thinking, the Judeo-Christian principles that truly respect dissenters with a conscience are welcome ideals indeed.
Footnotes: See also report in The Wall Street Journal
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have now won permission to fight their case in the Supreme Court
Benjamin Bull, 27/09/2012