In a surprising alliance, atheists and Christians have joined together to defend freedom of speech from a new government law in the U.K.
Christian Today reports that The Christian Institute and the National Secular Society have joined together to fight the introduction of Extremism Disruption Orders next year.
Leaders of both organizations have stated that the new legislation could seriously restrict the free speech rights of ordinary citizens.
"The vital importance of free speech is an issue on which both our organisations have always agreed," said Colin Hart of the Christian Institute and Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society.
“We have previously been able to see off an attempt to make it illegal to be 'annoying' in public. We have prevented prosecutions for mere 'insults' by helping to secure changes to Section 5 of the Public Order Act. Extremism Disruption Orders are as bad as anything we have seen in the past – probably worse. It is another attempt by a Government to clamp down on free speech in the guise of combating extremism,” they continued.
Although the new laws claim to make society safer by preventing extremism, Porteous Wood stated, “Political activists, environmental campaigners, as well as groups like ours, could all be branded ‘extremists’ under the Government’s massively broad proposals.”
In May, Prime Minister David Cameron told the National Security Council: "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'. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach."
Publication date: December 21, 2015