How Long Before Christians Are Actively Persecuted in England?
by Sean Gabb: The
Passive Smoking Scare: When Ruling Class Propaganda Masquerades
I think it would be useful to begin this article with a brief statement
of the facts. Eunice and Owen Johns are an elderly couple from Derby,
who fostered a number of children in the 1990s, and who recently
offered their services again to Derby City Council. Their offer
was rejected on the grounds that, as fundamentalist Christians,
they might teach any children in their keeping that homosexual acts
were sinful. They took legal action against the Council, arguing
that their beliefs should not be held against them. On the 28th
February 2011, judgment was given against them in the High Court.
The Judges ruled that, where the laws against discrimination are
concerned, sexual minorities take precedence over religious believers.
Because Mr and Mrs Johns might not remain silent about sexual ethics,
there was a danger to the "welfare" of children taken
from their homes by the Council.
The Judges insisted that this did not represent a "blanket
ban" on the fostering of children by religious believers. There
was no issue involved of religious liberty – no precedent being
set for wider discrimination by the authorities. It was simply a
matter of child welfare. You can read all this for yourself on the
I think we can take it as read that the Judges were talking hot
air about the nature of the precedent they were setting. There is
already a modest but settled ruling class bias in this country against
Christianity. This does not extend, so far as I can tell, to Jews
and Moslems. But the bias does certainly apply to fundamentalist
Christians, especially when it is a matter of what they believe
and might say about homosexuality. Yesterday, they were barred from
fostering, and perhaps also from adoption. It is only a matter of
time before they are barred from teaching. It is conceivable that
they will eventually be classed – on account of their beliefs –
as unfit parents and will have their children taken away from them.
Before that happens, of course, there will be laws against home
education, and an inquisition in the schools of what they have been
telling their children.
This is my most important observation arising from the case. The
issues in themselves are not at all to my taste. I dislike the idea
of fostering. There are times, I accept, when people are so violent
or negligent that children must be taken away for their own protection.
In these few instances, though, I prefer that children should be
kept in orphan asylums or offered for adoption. The present system
allows immense numbers of children to be snatched away by social
workers – often for trivial, and even perhaps for corrupt, reasons
– and then put into the temporary care of strangers. I will not
deny that many foster parents do as fine a job as circumstances
allow. Probably, Mr and Mrs Johns were good foster parents in the
1990s, and would have been again. Even so, those who volunteer as
foster parents are giving support to a system that is mostly used
to steal children who are in no reasonable danger.
Also, I oppose all anti-discrimination laws. People have rights
to life, liberty and property. Deriving from these are the specific
rights to freedom of speech and association, and to due process
of law. No one has the right not to be hated or despised, or not
to be excluded. People have the right to hate or despise anyone
they happen to take against, and – so long as they refrain from
any breach of the rights mentioned above – the right to put their
beliefs into action. While there is good reason for insisting that
the authorities should not discriminate, I fell no general sympathy
for people who make use of anti-discrimination laws to get their
But, this being said, I return to the matter of our ruling class
bias against Christians. Why? Why should Christians be so disliked?
Why should Christian hoteliers be persecuted for refusing to take
in homosexual guests, or refusing to let them occupy double beds?
Why should Christians not be protected – given our apparently comprehensive
anti-discrimination laws – when forbidden to wear crosses at work?
Why should banknotes be printed with pictures on them of Charles
Darwin? The facts that Darwin was a great man, and that I think
he was right about evolution, are beside the point. For very large
number of British citizens, he was a gross blasphemer. Why are the
few British colonies that remain being ordered to remove any reference
to Christianity from their constitutions? Why do many local authorities
keep trying to rename Christmas as Winterval? Why is there so much
evidence, both anecdotal and on the record, of an official bias
One answer, I suppose, is the current power of the homosexual lobby.
The prejudice against homosexuality that has existed throughout
much of European history is blamed – perhaps unjustly – on the Christian
Faith. Certainly, Christian leaders were, until very recently, forthright
in their condemnation of homosexual acts, and they opposed the legalisation
of such acts. There are many homosexual activists on the lookout
for historical revenge, and who are making use of every law that
now stands in their favour.
But I am not satisfied by this explanation. It is impossible to
know how many homosexuals there are – indeed, sexual preference
should not be seen as a matter of homosexual or heterosexual, but
instead as a spectrum on which most people cluster far from the
extremes. But there are not that many embittered homosexual anti-Christians.
If they are being listened to at the moment, I do not believe it
be because they are powerful in themselves. They are getting a hearing
because what they say is what those in power want to hear.
We are moving towards a persecution of Christianity because Christians
believe in a source of authority separate from and higher than the
State. Until recently, it was the custom of absolute states to make
an accommodation with whatever church was largest. In return for
being established, the priests would then preach obedience as a
religious duty. Modern absolute states, though, are secular. Such
were the Jacobin and the Bolshevik tyrannies. Such is our own, as
yet, mild tyranny. In all three cases, religion was or is a problem.
Though a Catholic, Aquinas speaks for most Christians when he explains
the limits of obedience:
"Laws are often unjust.... They may be contrary to the good
of mankind... either with regard to their end – as when a ruler
imposes laws which are burdensome and are not designed for the common
good, but proceed from his own rapacity or vanity; or with regard
to their maker – if, for example, a ruler should go beyond his proper
powers; or with regard to their form – if, though intended for the
common good, their burdens should be inequitably distributed. Such
laws come closer to violence than to true law.... They do not, therefore,
oblige in conscience, except perhaps for the avoidance of scandal
or disorder." (Summa Theologiae, I-II, 96, 4, my translation)
Certain kinds of bad law do not bind in conscience. And there may
be times when even the avoidance of scandal or disorder do not justify
obedience. Then, it will be the duty of the Faithful to stand up
and say "No!" It will be their duty to disobey regardless
of what threats are made against them. Any ruling class that has
absolutist ambitions, and is not willing or able to make an accommodation
with the religious authorities, will eventually face a wall of resistance.
It will eventually go too far, and command things that cannot be
given. The French Revolutionaries were taken by surprise. The Bolsheviks
knew exactly what they were doing when they hanged all those priests
and dynamited those churches. Our own ruling class also knows what
it is doing. The politically correct lovefeast it has been preparing
for us throughout my life requires the absolute obedience of the
governed – absolute obedience to commands that no fundamentalist
Christian can regard as lawful. Therefore, the gathering attack
As said, this does not yet apply to the other religions. The Jews
are untouchable. Besides, religious Jews are a minority within a
minority, and involve themselves in our national life only so far
as is needed to separate themselves from it. The Moslems and others
are not really considered part of the nation. Otherwise, they are
considered objective allies of the new order under construction.
Otherwise, no one wants to provoke them to rioting and blowing themselves
up in coffee bars. But it goes without saying that they must eventually
be persecuted should the Christians ever be humbled.
I think this explains what is happening. Whatever the case, it
is wrong. Now, the accepted rule for defending any unpopular group
is to begin with a disclaimer – for example: "I am not myself
a Christian/homosexual/white nationalist, etc. Indeed, I bow to
no man in the horror and disgust these people inspire in my heart."
There are further protestations that depend on the circumstances.
But the concluding plea is the same: "It is therefore only
out of a possibly misguided commitment to Victorian liberalism that
I ask for these people not to suffer the extreme penalties of law.
All else aside, it sets an unwise precedent that may be used on
day against undoubtedly good people."
Well, I do not propose to make this sort of defence. I am a Christian
of sorts, and I think that even fundamentalist Christianity is a
very fine religion. It is the historic faith of my country, and
part of my national identity. It is also connected, however loosely,
with the growth of civility and the rule of law. I do not like to
see it persecuted. And the persecution is wrong in itself. I may
not have a clear message to give about the refusal to let two elderly
Pentecostalists to become foster parents. But I do object to the
creeping delegitimisation of the Christian Faith in England. Any
Christian who is willing to stand up and speak in the terms set
by Thomas Aquinas gets my support.
But now – and only now – that I have said this, I will talk about
precedents. Sooner or later, the present order of things will come
to an end. It is based on too many false assumptions about human
nature. It is based, indeed, on too many misapprehensions about
the natural world. In the short term – even without pointing guns
at them – people can be bullied into nodding and smiling at the
most ludicrous propositions. In the longer term, bullying always
fails. The Bolsheviks had seventy years, and murdered on a scale
still hard to conceive. They never produced their New Soviet Man.
Except for the worse, they never touched the basic nature of the
Russian people. Our own ruling class will fail. What new order will
then be established I cannot say. But I suspect it will be broadly
What we shall then see may not be very liberal. Possibly, homosexual
acts will be made criminal again, or everything just short of criminal.
I spent my early years as a libertarian denouncing the legal persecution
of homosexuals. I have now spent years arguing against persecution
by homosexuals. I may sooner or later need to turn round again.
As with all collective revenge, the individuals affected will not
be those who are now behaving so badly – just as those now persecuted
probably did not make any fuss about the 1967 Act that legalised
most homosexual acts. But that is the nature of collective revenge.
Because the most prominent homosexual leaders have not been satisfied
with a mere equality of rights, ordinary homosexuals in the future
may find the current precedents used against them.
For the moment, however, England is a country where Christians
are fair game for harassment. I do not suppose that the case of
Mr and Mrs Johns will be my last reason for commenting on this fact.
Gabb [send him mail]
is the author of Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power.
His book, Cultural Revolution,
Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back,
can be downloaded for free. See his
© 2011 Sean Gabb