We the undersigned registered voters of the City of Durham electoral constituency sign this petition as a statement of our disappointment with the current MP (Roberta Blackman-Woods). We firmly believe that she has failed to fully promote freedom of speech or the interests of Christians.
- The freedom to speak freely about one’s religious beliefs should not be considered harassment but a fundamental right in society.
- That Christian values have a place in our society and its parliament and governance. They shouldn’t be pushed to the side or silenced.
- The right for churches and Christians to preach any party of the Bible to their church family and in their evangelism amongst the public community.
- The right for churches and Christians to preach from the Bible their views on any issues such as sexuality, gender, sin and salvation. (For example Romans 1:18-32 could be preached to show that the Bible clearly teaches that the only context for sexual activity is within lifelong monogamous marriage, meaning that fornication, adultery and homosexual practice are wrong.)
- A concern that the Equality Bill in its current form will cause truly terrifying consequences the following areas:
- In the area of free speech through a conflict with the proposed harassment law.
- Through denying individuals, churches and charities the ability to make an essential religious distinction between orientation and practice in their employment of staff, along with the issue of gender. We believe that churches should be allowed to retain the right to employ only men as ministers and for other key posts. Indeed, this is essential to allow churches the freedom to operate in accordance with their religious beliefs.
- Through making it easy for individuals hostile to the relevant belief to launch legal actions against charities holding to that belief.
- By promoting the discriminatory treatment of religious believers holding to their beliefs. (No-one has ever suggested that political parties should be forced to employ people with opposing political beliefs, or that vegetarian restaurants should be forced to employ non-vegetarians. They are entitled to freedom of association to protect their fundamental ideas. Forcing them to engage people hostile to their beliefs would be disruptive and offensive). In a similar way, churches too are based on Biblical ideas. They must never be compelled to take on people who reject their ideas. This would dilute their message and change the way they operate. It would be a profound attack on their civil liberties.