UK Bishop Warns Of ‘A Slide Towards Ever Greater State Control’ as Pressure Mounts On Christians*
A Catholic bishop in the UK has written to his flock telling them he fears “of a slide towards ever greater State control.”
And in contradiction to Prime Minister David Cameron’s secular “British values” agenda, the bishop has set forth his own version, citing “fidelity to our Christian patrimony” and “values derived from love of God.”
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth Diocese issued his pastoral letter “The Church’s ‘Best Kept Secret’” to be read out in churches this month.
His comments come just as the British government steps up its rhetoric around ‘British values’ and the tackling of extremism, leading many to fear opposition to abortion and same-sex “marriage” will be labelled “extremist” and liable to punishment.
Concerns were heightened at the announcement of a new ‘Extremism Bill’ in the Queen’s speech at the State opening of Parliament this year.
In far-reaching comments, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. … This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. … That means actively promoting certain values.”
He went on to cite equal rights regardless of gender or sexuality, as part of his vision. Under the banner of equality and rights, Britain has seen a number of people maligned, demoted, sacked, fined, and taken to court over issues like abortion and homosexuality, in recent years.
However, Bishop Egan has hit back, reminding society that “what makes Britain great is fidelity to our Christian patrimony, a concern for justice, freedom and the rule of law, values derived from love of God and neighbour, fused with our native genius.”
“It is about building a society founded on authentically human values: respect for life from conception to natural death, supporting marriage and the family, the dignity of work, caring for the poor, safeguarding the environment and promoting peace at home and abroad.”
Bishop Egan called on Catholics to “participate vociferously in the democratic process, contributing our distinctive, saving message,” even though many Christian teachings, especially those about authority and sexuality, are now seen as “countercultural.”
In further comments, British Home Secretary Theresa May has said the introduction of the Extremism Bill, to include ‘Extremism Disruption Disorders,’ aims to tackle not only extremism, but all forms of “intolerance,” “hate,” and “those who reject our values.” The bill is expected to create a raft of wide-ranging powers for State agencies.
Described by some as worryingly prophetic, Bishop Egan hit home his message with the following words: “There is a real danger in Britain today, with advances in technology and as traditional Christian values are eclipsed, of a slide towards ever greater State control.”