Christians Being Warned That EU Debate Could Distract from Issues of Religious Restrictions

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Christians Being Warned That EU Debate Could Distract from Issues of Religious Restrictions

Christians are being warned that the Westminster government could use a European Union referendum as a distraction to inspect churches.

According to Christian Today, Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute, said the debate over the European Union might take the public’s attention while “highly contentious legislation” is pushed through.

That legislation, Hart said, includes proposals to allow Ofsted to inspect churches and plans for Extremist Disruption Orders. Hart said he is worried Christians could be labeled as “extremists.”

"Christians must not stop holding the Westminster Government to account over its proposals," he said. "We will be on our guard but Christians across the nation also need to be vigilant and ready to speak out to prevent this happening."

The Christian Institute has teamed up with the National Secular Society and the Peter Tatchell Foundation, a gay rights campaign group. The three usually opposing groups are now fighting together to form the Defend Free Speech campaign to oppose the plan for the Extremist Disruption Orders.

Under the proposal, an EDO would be issued by the High Court when it is suspected that someone is “participating in activities that spread, incite, promote or justify hatred against a person (or group of persons) on the grounds of that person's (or group of persons') disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and/or transgender identity.”

"Law-abiding citizens, such as Christians, could be caught by the vague definitions of extremism that get bandied about when ministers are trying to talk tough," Hart said.

Publication date: March 2, 2016

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.