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Is It Ok for a Charity to Discriminate Against Christians -CT

This weeks Christian Today article – the original can be read here. 

I look at the disturbing case of Stirling Free Church, Amnesty Internationals Intolerance, the Victorian governments threatened oppression, and why the Woke care more about their ideology than they do about the poor.

Is It Ok for a Charity to Discriminate Against Christians?

We live in an age where discrimination is deemed to be a universal wrong. Indeed, so scared are we that some groups will be discriminated against that we grant them protected status. One such status is religion. But it appears that while all are equal, some are more equal than others.

Take for example the case of Stirling Free Church in Scotland. One of its elders is Kenneth Ferguson, the former CEO of the Robertson Trust – a charity which gives over £20 million per year to alleviate poverty. Under his leadership the trust has more than doubled its income and as a result has been able to help thousands of people caught in poverty.

But none of that matters when it comes to ideological purity. The trust’s chair Shonaig Macpherson was apparently furious with him when she discovered that the trust had leased one of its buildings to Stirling Free Church for £6,500 per year for its Sunday services.

According to The Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr Ferguson, he said, “I was told by two members of my senior management team that Shonaig Macpherson went ‘ballistic’ and was almost unable to speak because she was so angry.

“She kept asking why the trust had rented to the Stirling Free Church. One colleague told me that Shonaig had said ‘definitely not the Free Church, anyone but the Free Church, they don’t believe in same-sex marriage’. They said she was ‘incandescent with anger’.”

Stirling Free Church was given notice to quit the property because their use of it “does not comply with trust policy”. The church had its contract overturned on the grounds that the trust does not fund religious or evangelistic projects. The problem is that the trust did not fund the Free Church and was instead being funded by the church who paid it a fair rent for the use of its premises.

Ferguson is suing the charity for unfair dismissal and loss of earnings. The church is suing the trust in a separate case, seeking £10,000 damages for breach of contract and a further £50,000 damages for discrimination.

This is a case of religious discrimination – refusing to provide a service for someone based on their religion. Can you imagine if the Chair had said “definitely not the Muslims, anyone but the Muslims, they don’t believe in same-sex marriage”? Her feet would not have touched the ground as she was shown the door! Outrage from politicians on social media would have been followed by an abject apology from the organisation, and a Scottish government inquiry into Islamaphobia. But the Free Church? Who cares? It’s ok to discriminate against them and other churches that teach the Bible.

Amnesty International Demands No Representation for those who disagree with them.

Such discrimination is now acceptable in our democratic society. Speaking of democracy, Amnesty International, along with a number of other Irish NGOs have signed an open letter calling on politicians to “no longer provide legitimate representation” to those who question transgenderism and gender ideology – which they claim is a ‘far right’ view. ‘Far right’ is the catch-all term that is used for any view which dares to question any aspect of the progressive ideology. 

A church is denied the use of a building because it upholds biblical teaching and a human rights group demands that some humans be denied their democratic rights because they question transgenderism.  Meanwhile in Australia, the state government of Victoria has gone even further, being close to passing a law to criminalise parents who decline hormone therapy for their gender questioning child; criminalise prayer if that prayer is about someone’s LGBT identity; and criminalise ‘wait and see’ treatments for gender dysphoria. All of these grave offences could result in up to ten years in jail!

Forget the Poor – Our Woke Ideology Matters More.

Also in Australia, Margaret Court’s church, Victory Life, in Perth, has been refused an application by the Western Australian government’s Lotterywest for a grant to purchase a freezer truck to deliver food to the poor. Why? “It is the sole reason it was knocked back, because the board didn’t like her personal views on same-sex marriage,” a former Lotterywest employer testified. Notice the similarity with the Stirling church case. Who cares about harming the poor as long as the woke doctrine is kept pure – and all blasphemers punished?

How should Christians respond to this?

Some argue ‘it’s not persecution’ – just think of Christians in North Korea or Nigeria. But that’s like arguing ‘think of those who have cancer’ when you are told that you have Covid! Of course it is not persecution in the extreme sense, but it is the kind of discrimination which will inevitably lead to persecution. They say that the best way to boil a frog is to put it into a pot of cold water and gradually heat it up until it is boiling. That is what is happening to the Church in much of the West today. Yet still some cry ‘it’s not persecution’.

Others declare it’s the end of the world and it’s time for us all to circle the wagons or man the lifeboats, or just sit and wait for the rapture. Doom, despair and defeat should not be the attitudes of the Christian.

At the other extreme there are even those who are so spiritually and intellectually disjointed that though they profess to be Christians, they deny the teachings of Christ and welcome the state imposing anti-Christian beliefs upon us all – in the name of diversity and equality.

My preference is that we should speak up (cry to the Lord); speak out (prophetically declare the antidote of the Word of the Lord to a society that is slowly poisoning itself); and speak ‘in’ (to the context and heart of those who are struggling with the deadly fruit of progressive ideology).

Stirling Free Church is an example of how to respond. Just as they became headline news, Evangelical Alliance Scotland issued a report, Stories of Hope. Among the stories of active Christianity working within the community is one about Stirling Free Church. That’s the way to answer the accusations and intolerance of our society – love our neighbours and love God with all our heart, soul and mind.

Is The Crown the Truth, the Whole Truth and nothing but the Truth? – CT

Brilliant Article on Abortion and the New Intolerance from Kevin McKenna

13 comments

  1. Totally agree with article. Hate to be picky though but I think it’s “boil a frog” not chicken…🙂

  2. It’s another of the “just when we thought it wouldn’t get any worse… it does, and will some time continue in this downward spiral!” Isn’t it shocking how quickly how Government Ministers apologise and captitulate once their views are questioned, having dared to speak against the ‘woke set’. We need renewal, revitalisation and revival. Another excellent article, thank you.

  3. Well, that’s an interesting read about the church being kicked out of the building because “Shonaig Macpherson went ‘ballistic’” about same sex marriage. OK – so now Stirling Free Church was given notice to leave the property because id “does not comply with [The Robertson Trust] policy”. I’m not sure how successful Kenneth Ferguson or Stirling Free Church will be with their law suit in this “woke” culture. Obviously there is a biblical precedent for this with the apostle Paul demanding his right of appeal as a Roman citizen. And if in any similar situation it would be wise to take this approach or better to be simply moving on and finding a place where welcomed without the hassle of a legal process taking up resources in the current political climate.

    I remember an interview with Jacob Ress-Mogg talking calmly about supporting the teaching of the Catholic Church, marriage being a sacrament and a sacrament being under the authority of the church, not of the state. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUlXx0krZWo. I hear your view David that Christians should “prophetically declare the antidote of the Word of the Lord to a society that is slowly poisoning itself.” I would be interested in your view as to whether Jacob Ress-Mogg was consistent with this in the clip that I provide a link to.

    Clearly The Robertson Trust does not welcome the Stirling Free Church in their building. It seems therefore there is a principle with what Jesus said to his disciples about what to do when not being welcomed applies. “If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town” (Matt 10:13-15).

  4. Fascinating story about Amnesty International. The fact that they seem to be involved in labeling a Lesbian – Gay – Bisexual group as a “hate group” because the LGB group doesn’t support “trans rights” is amazing.

    30 years ago, if I had been told about a spat between Amnesty International and an LGB group, I would not have expected that the latter would be the one holding to conventional traditional views.

  5. As mentioned in Scripture (e.g. 2 Timothy 3:12) the church has always been persecuted – and that includes the UK – it’s just that the intensity of persecution has varied from time to time and place to place.

    That persecution is worse in some other countries is obviously true but the opposition Christians face in the UK is on the same spectrum of hate towards Christians that manifests itself more violently elsewhere in the world.

  6. As much as I loathe religion of whatever stripe, this woke mentality is simply ridiculous.

    However, as George Harrison once sang, All Things Must Pass.

    I am reminded of the movie: It’s a mad mad mad mad world.

  7. I agree this is most unfortunate. And maybe, with a lot of hard thinking you could call it persecution. And I don’t understand all the legal implications about breach of contract and so on. I truly think all this is really miserable and there is going to be less and less space for Christians and their beliefs.

    But, when you look at this from a principal standpoint (and forget about the breach of contract for a minute), how is this different from a baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding based on the bakers beliefs? It is the belief of the charity that the view of the church is wrong on LGBT issues, so they don’t want to provide their service to the church who holds beliefs that they can’t support.

    The same is true for a baker who refuses to bake a cake for a gay couple, because the baker can’t provide a service for something that they do not support.

    I don’t fully see why it is different. And because of this I don’t fully agree with calling this persecution. If so, then gay people who cannot obtain their cake from the Christian baker, are also persecuted.

    Also I think we Christians, especially the ones who live in a country that used to be predominantly Christian for a very long time, just have to get used to the fact that we are a small minority, just like the first Christians in the Roman Empire. We signed up for persecution, whenh we became Christians. That was part of the deal.

  8. John 15
    If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’[

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