Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Hatred Laws Face Churches In Britain And Sweden

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
The British government is seeking to extend its existing hate crimes law to include "religious hatred." The proposed legislation, Schedule 10 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, passed the House of Commons on February 7 and is now before the House of Lords. There are concerns that, if this legislation passes, religious leaders and organizations may experience some of the same difficulties as found in Victoria State, Australia where two Christian speakers were recently found guilty of vilification of Muslims under the state's "Racial and Religious tolerance Act." Similar legislation led to the conviction of Swedish pastor, Ake Green, in June 2004. On February 11, however, the Goeta Appeals Court overturned Green's conviction. While pleased with the verdict, Green expects the case to move on to the Supreme Court. Thank God for the acquittal of Pastor Green. Pray that the case will not be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pray for Christian leaders in western nations who need wisdom to know how to respond to hate speech laws designed to protect people but which are being increasingly being used to silence Christian opinion. (From The Voice of the Martyrs)

Glenn Penner, Communications Director for The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada asks some very pertinent questions that we do well to ponder. Is hate speech legislation necessary in a free society? Is it inevitable that Christians will face charges under hate speech legislation in the future for speaking the truth? Do Christians carry a responsibility to make sure that they are persecuted for the content of their message and not because they presented it in an offensive manner?

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