Growing anti-Christian prejudice in the U.K. 

Barnabas Fund which works to serve and protect the persecuted church around the world has highlighted the attacks upon a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party.


Ed preface: Although the following article focusses on the withdrawal of Andrea Leadsom MP from the post-David Cameron post-Brexit leadership contest in the Conservative Party, reference is made to the serious and escalating problem faced by Christians in the U.K who are involved in public life and/or work for public and third-sector agencies. 
See sidebar for links to related articles on the above theme.


Editorial: Barnabas Fund calls for a national conversation about anti-Christian prejudice and bullying

  Andrea Leadsom MP

Andrea LeadsomThis week saw one of the two candidates to become simultaneously leader of the UK’s Conservative Party and Prime Minister drop out, leaving her rival to claim the crown without any further voting. The reason Andrea Leadsom withdrew was a sustained media campaign against her that by Friday last week was being described by seasoned political commentators as “feral” and based on prejudice towards her Christian faith.

It was being claimed that her support for traditional marriage and family values, rather than wholeheartedly endorsing every aspect of the gay rights agenda, was morally wrong and that being a Christian in politics somehow made her suspect. On Friday last week, well before that campaign of abuse had reached its zenith, Paul Goodman editor of ConservativeHome the UK’s main independent Conservative website and himself a former MP and shadow minister observed:
“Scrutiny is one thing; prejudice is quite another.  Iain Dale was right to suggest this in his column this morning that much of the media coverage of Leadsom’s campaign has been feral.  Support for same-sex marriage is a litmus test of social acceptability among the class that helps to shape our political culture, and there is a sense in some of the reporting of her reservations about it that her position is not merely wrong but somehow wicked.  Nick Boles’s famous text to other MPs can also be read in this way. Leadsom has also been asked while being interviewed on TV if God speaks to her..”
"I was deeply concerned that the concerted and brutal attempt to destroy her character led directly to her resignation.”
(For more details of this see our Operation Nehemiah article). Of course all politicians have to take the rough and tumble of politics, but this went far beyond that. Following her decision to withdraw from the leadership contest on Monday, partly due to the impact on her children, former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith observed that:
 “The departure of Andrea Leadsom on Monday morning, even by the low standards of Westminster leadership elections, was painful. I was deeply concerned that the concerted and brutal attempt to destroy her character led directly to her resignation.”
While Daily Telegraph journalist Allison Pearson asked:
 “What was the final straw? I think Leadsom was genuinely shocked by the poisonous attacks from forces within her own party. She said it was highly unlikely that the daily stories saying how useless/dishonest/Christian she was ‘are coincidental’ (Interesting isn’t it that no-one calls practising Muslim Sadiq Khan a ‘religious nutter’)…Well the skullduggers succeeded.”
That level of interference in the political process ....... is a deeply disturbing development
Even before these events it was becoming increasingly difficult for Christians to become parliamentary candidates for any of the major political parties without being seen to give at least notional assent to the “new morality” that regards traditional Christian sexual ethics as outdated. However, the level of anti-Christian prejudice directed at Mrs Leadsom took this growing exclusion of Christians from certain areas of public life to a new level by directly interfering in the choice of who should be the next Prime Minister. That level of interference in the political process in one of the world’s most longstanding democracies is a deeply disturbing development.
What we are seeing is indicative of a wider loss of freedom of religion, not just in the UK but across many western countries. The enforcement of the new morality has already forced out of their jobs Christian marriage registrars, magistrates on adoption panels, marriage guidance counsellors and is even being enforced on private businesses as in the case of  Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland.
This disparaging of Christianity is, as Daily Telegraph journalist Allison Pearson pointed out, not directed against all religious belief, but specifically against Christianity. Indeed, one of the strangest aspects of the media coverage of the whole Conservative leadership contest, was the fact, that until the very end of that contest there was absolutely no mention whatsoever of the fact that Mrs May, who is now Prime Minister, had while her leadership rivals were occupied with the referendum campaign, quietly set up a committee to look at whether the UK should legally recognise shari‘a courts. Yet this received almost no media scrutiny at all until the leadership contest was virtually over and only then in response to a concerted campaign by women’s rights groups.  In contrast, the fact that Theresa May’s rival Andrea Leadsom was open about her Christian faith led to a barrage of the most brutal and humiliating media coverage.
The disparaging of Christian belief by government and governmental bodies is itself becoming directly linked to a growing trend of wider anti-Christian prejudice in society
This is clearly not a level playing field. It is Christianity and historic Christian belief that is subject to so much prejudice. What is particularly disturbing about this new anti-Christian prejudice that has been formenting for the last decade or so, is that it now operates at governmental level.
The UK has a proud history of freedom of religion that emerged over three centuries. Laws requiring individuals to assent to particular beliefs in order to hold public office were successively repealed between 1673 and 1871, which marks the point at which full freedom of religion was achieved. Yet, it is now becoming increasingly evident, as this week’s events only too painfully demonstrate, that progress over former centuries towards  full religious liberty is now being put into incremental, but nonetheless very evident reverse. 
Why does that matter? Well it matters for two very important reasons.
First, from the sixteenth century onwards freedom of religion gradually developed into one of the UK’s defining national values, something that also became true of other countries that emerged from it, such as the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It was the reason that refugees fleeing religious persecution came to Britain, whether French Huguenots in the sixteenth century, Jews fleeing the Nazi Holocaust or later Ugandan Christians, such as the present Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu,  who fled Idi Amin’s brutal regime in the 1970s.
Secondly, as we argued in a recent editorial, the disparaging of Christian belief by government and governmental bodies is itself becoming directly linked to a growing trend of wider anti-Christian prejudice in society, which has in turn encouraged a small but increasing trend of violence against Christians. In fact, in some instances, as in the Ashers bakery case, there is a specific link between action by a governmental body – in that instance the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland -  and anti-Christian violence.
Both of these trends have enormous long term implications. However, the incremental way that they are happening means that many members of the wider public will be unaware of the bigger picture. The treatment of Mrs Leadsom needs to be a wake-up call.
That is why Barnabas Fund is calling for a national conversation in the UK and other western countries about the importance of freedom of religion as one of our most important historic national values and how we maintain it.
We are free to speak up for the persecuted church elsewhere because we have freedom of religion here. It is vital that we protect it.

Barnabas Fund, 16/07/2016

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Dale Munday 16/07/2016 15:15
Our former Prime Minister, David Cameron, has been very proud of his achievement of bringing about the so-called 'Equal Marriage' Act mentioning this on several public occasions including his closing speech at the entrance to Downing Street last Wednesday. Unfortunately even the new PM, Theresa May, paid tribute to the outgoing PM by also mentioning this in her speech. I noticed that when all the candidates for selection of the new PM were evaluated, a statement was included as to how they voted on the subject of same sex marriage! As if this was the most important factor that would clinch the whole case for selection! As if to say - this person voted for same sex marriage therefore he/she must be a great moderniser!

The above Editorial paints a very gloomy picture for the future of any true Christian in politics. I'm sure it is an accurate picture. Unless God intervenes in answer to the fervent prayers of His people, I can only see increasing persecution against faithful Christian people across our land.
Editor 16/07/2016 17:28
>>> One of the saddest moments during my time as Education Secretary was the day I took a call from a wonderfully generous philanthropist who had devoted limitless time and money to helping educate disadvantaged children in some of the most challenging areas of Britain but who now felt he had no option but to step away from his commitments because his evangelical Christianity meant that he, and his generosity, were under constant attack.

Michael Gove (April 2015)

See -

JL (Guest) 16/07/2016 20:04
Indeed it is very, very sad that a man or a woman of conscience cannot hold to deep convictions of what is right according to BASIC biblical principles in this increasingly darkening age in which we find ourselves in.
Only a few short weeks ago David Cameron and George Osborne (ex PM & Chancellor) when they heard the news that our new education secretary Justine Greening came OUT as 'gay' said "this is the best news we have had in a long time"! (immediately After Brexit)
I hold my head in despair-we NOW have an education secretary-an EDUCATION secretary that is a lesbian officiating over our state schools!
This ever increasing wickedness that we are witnessing all around us should, I pray wake up those post millennial Christians out of their slumber?
JL (Guest) 16/07/2016 21:25
Christian Voice sent me an e-mail immediately after Teresa May's appointment to PM telling me that I should pray for her to "appoint God fearing, able, true and honest people into her cabinet." Of course I didn't pray such a very foolish and God dishonoring prayer! God is NOT mocked. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Romans 14.23.

First of all, who are the "God fearing" people on the front bench? Name ONE if you can! Then May goes on to appoint a lesbian (Justine Greening) to the post of Education Secretary! God help our kids!

Wickedness is increasing at an exponential rate, as is prophesied in the Scriptures. Cameron and Osbourne (post Brexit) applauded Justine Greening for "coming OUT" saying it was the "best news we have heard in ages"!

"BEST NEWS"!!!!!

Christian Voice is a a Christian witness, but how very deluded they are! Their post millennial, kingdom NOW theology is totally at variance with what the Bible clearly teaches. Do they really think that by going without food for three days or more, they can coerce God to depart from what IS WRITTEN? A party trick, by another name?

Daniel's prayer WAS said in faith-MARK; he said "I Daniel understood by the books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet..." Daniel 9.2.

Christian believers, read this Scripture, and its context-please!

John Smith 17/07/2016 12:20
Well, God seems to have answered their prayers whether you approve or not! Theresa May has appointed Andrea Leadsom to the cabinet, which is of course a promotion for her, as she was only a junior minister before. She needs our prayers.
John Smith 17/07/2016 12:24
As for Michael Gove - is he a Christian? After stabbing Boris in the back? I'm so glad May sacked him. I would not pay a lot of attention to anything he said.
John Smith 17/07/2016 12:33
There is a wider picture here. As Peter said we should not be surprised at the fiery trials that are coming. Those trials are necessary 1) for our purification and to make us the beautiful bride who worthy of Messiah 2) To shake us free from our old selves and from the world 3) For the spread of the Gospel because God needs us to move in our new spirits and not in our old selves. Notice that when the Hebrew Children were thrown into the seven times heated burning fiery furnace, the strange thing is that although their clothes were not even singed and there was no smell of burning about them, THEIR CHAINS BURNT OFF AND THEY WALKED IN THE FIRES FREE!!

So lets stop all this “oh dear this awful thing is happening” and focus on what Jesus is doing in and through these things? Also, we need to focus on “coping strategies” and how to stop clinging to the past, the known and our own comfort zones. We need to metamorphose fully into what God has created.

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