IT IS becoming ever more apparent how far progressives are prepared to go in their relentless search for ‘freedom’ from the restrictions of the created order. It is not only the woke media and academia who push the boundaries: there are arms of the state which find the Bible, and with it God, too threatening to be let loose in the public square.
In England and Wales criminal prosecutions are brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Describing their function, the CPS say: ‘Our duty is to make sure that the right person is prosecuted for the right offence, and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible.’ Their criteria for prosecuting include a need to be satisfied ‘that prosecuting is in the public interest’.
In November 2020, 55 year old former Special Forces soldier John Dunn was preaching in the open air on Swindon High Street, as he had been doing for 15 years despite losing his voice box due to throat cancer. In conversation with two women who said they were in a same-sex marriage, Dunn told them: ‘It says in the Bible that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.’ Dunn claims his motivation was concern for the women and those passers-by who were listening.
The women reported Dunn’s ‘biblical speak’ to the police. Dunn voluntarily attended a police station for interview and was subsequently charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act with using ‘threatening or abusive words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby’. The CPS decided that he had ‘to be brought to justice’ and that a criminal prosecution was ‘in the public interest’. The case came before Swindon magistrates’ court last month, when it was dropped because the lesbians involved could not be contacted by police.
While pressing their case against him, the CPS made the following written argument to the court: ‘Whether a statement of Christian belief or not, the court is being asked to consider whether the language has the potential to cause harassment, alarm or distress . . . There are references in the Bible which are simply no longer appropriate in modern society and which would be deemed offensive if stated in public.’
Among the Bible references no longer considered appropriate by the CPS for public airing are ‘material recognising slavery (Exodus 21:7), the death sentence (Exodus 35:2 and Leviticus 24:16) and cannibalism (Deuteronomy 28:27)’.
An arm of the state, the UK’s main prosecution service, has decided that voicing certain passages from the Bible in public constitutes a criminal offence. Whilst the CPS handles prosecutions only for England and Wales, the arguments it advances and precedents it sets may influence other jurisdictions. Meanwhile there has been no hint of concern from any of the mainstream churches of the UK.
The statements from the CPS reveal the biblical illiteracy of our ‘educated’ elites. Deuteronomy 28:27 makes no reference to cannibalism (this is what it says in the New International Version: ‘The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumours, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured’) and the other verses are quoted without context. When it comes to biblical interpretation, the woke are almost invariably extreme fundamentalists.
The CPS arguments are of great significance because they uncover the underlying progressive intent to reject our traditional tools for understanding the world around us. Why do we read in the Bible’s very first chapter that God created us ‘male and female’? Genesis 1:27 seems so obvious to our experience that it shouldn’t need saying. Yet this verse is fundamental to the biblical interpretation of the world and differs utterly from the understanding of progressives who reject the Bible and its teaching.
Genesis 1 tells of the emergence of order from chaos. At the completion of creation Genesis 1:27 reveals the distinctiveness and equal value of male and female, and that the two sexes establish the building blocks of society. They constitute the most basic category in the world around us and give us an interpretative tool for understanding.
There is a genuinely contrasting diversity at the core of society from which flows our creative development: we can now ‘be fruitful and fill the earth’ (Genesis 1:28). After the Fall it is men and women made in the image of God who have the ability to create order from the chaos of a now fallen world.
The biblical world-view is founded on contrast and true diversity, the progressive world-view embraces surface-only cosmetic diversity with an underlying enforced conformity. When distinction is lost anything goes. When anything can be moral, morality loses its meaning, when anything can be true, nothing is true. Order disappears and chaos reigns.
The success of the LGBTQ+ and the transgender movements have greater consequences than unrestrained sexual licence. If we lose the Bible’s distinct and complementary categories of understanding, we enter an undifferentiated chaotic world.
This article appeared in A Grain of Sand on November 30, 2022, and is republished by kind permission.