Submission from Evangelicals Now Limited
We understand that your Committee is taking
submissions during July on matters which relate to religious publications.
As a Christian monthly newspaper we felt that we ought to briefly
let you know of our concerns.
As Christians we believe that mankind is made
in the image of God and therefore it is imperative upon us to
show respect to all people, regardless of their religion or philosophy.
However, at the same time, society can only be open and free as
the government allows freedom of speech to all. Such freedom should
be an inalienable right based upon the dignity which God has bestowed
upon human beings. Therefore, the expression of religious ideas
and freedom to contradict or argue with other religious positions
must be maintained so long as such arguments are couched in reasonable
and temperate language. Within such a framework, it ought to be
possible to maintain both a law against blasphemy and freedom
We encourage your Committee to explore ways
of defining reasonable tolerance between groups of differing opinion.
It needs to specify what is truly victimisation while at the same
time rescuing society from the tyranny of those who would use
the claim of "victimisation" to suppress the religious
freedom of others. Britain has a fine heritage as an "open
society", with its roots in a Christian understanding of
the dignity of humanity. It is vital that this heritage be maintained.
At the present time throughout the world, in
such places as Nigeria, Sudan, Indonesia, China and Vietnam, Christians
are persecuted more than any other religious group. We urge you
not to allow a kind of liberal totalitarianism to diminish free
speech via the back door.
23 July 2002