United Kingdom barrister Paul Diamond, who specialises in defending the rights of Christians in a culture that has become hostile to believers, will address a church conference in Stellenbosch next week.
Diamond’s experience was relevant in South Africa where there was a risk of the legal climate turning against Christians as a result of the country’s liberal laws and constitution, said Sias le Roux, Missions Director of Shofar Christian Church which is hosting a Worship and Missions Conference from Thursday September 29 to Sunday October 2.
Writing after a British court ruled that a couple could not foster a child because their orthodox Christian views could be harmful to children, Diamond says: “In recent years, I have argued cases that I would have thought of as unthinkable back in 1997. In the British Airways Cross case, our national flag carrier permitted the wearing of the hijab, the Sikh turban and the Siska Hindu ponytail, but banned the wearing of a small cross around the neck, the size of a sixpence.”
He also says: “In another case, an employee was disciplined for expressing an unacceptable view; namely his support for marriage in a private conversation with a fellow employee as this discriminated against people living together. In another, a nurse made the serious violation of asking a patient if she wanted prayer. Churches have had noise abatement notices served on them for singing hymns too loudly on a Sunday morning. I could go on about the countless other cases where no permissible accommodation of conscience is permitted for Christian marriage, registrars or bed and breakfast owners” .
He suggests that there is a serious moral agenda being pursued by those who oppose Christianity, with laws being used to eradicate Judeo-Christian morality and usher in secular values.
He says it is now up to the people of the UK to redirect the nation as the courts, though a combination of poor laws and poor judges, have proved that they won’t.
“The British people have reversed silly laws in the past; the time is ripe for a review of the equality laws,” he said.
Le Roux said that if South Africa, with its liberal laws, followed the same route as Britain, Christian schools, Christians who counselled non-believers and Christians who upheld traditional, Biblical family values were among those who would need to be alert to legal hazards.
He said more than 1 000 people had registered to attend the conference next week. Delegates can still register online.