If the Government does introduce a compulsory register of ‘faith leaders’ before they are allowed to conduct a school assembly or speak at a university, as The Sunday Telegraph has reported, then that would be entirely in line with the Blairite worldview.
In 2006, Mr Blair, then Prime Minister, tried to introduce a ‘religious hate speech’ law that certainly would have led to a spate of prosecutions instigated by religious offendees. By God’s grace, this draconian measure was defeated in Parliament.
Compulsory registration for faith leaders is a kissing cousin of this kind of measure, designed to water down contrary religious convictions and enforce consensus within politically correct boundaries.
Such PC supervision fails to distinguish between an incitement to violence or criminal activity and a doctrinal statement by an adherent of one religion, which an adherent of another might find offensive. For example, the official doctrine of the Church of England in its 39 Articles of Religion, which are enshrined in law, is that non-Christian religions do not and cannot lead to eternal salvation. For, to quote Article 18, ‘Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ by which men must be saved’.
That means, according to official Anglican doctrine, that Muslims need to come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as do Buddhists, as do secular humanists if they are to receive God’s gift of eternal salvation. The question clearly arises, would a biblically orthodox Anglican minister who wanted to uphold Article 18 be allowed on the register?
According to The Sunday Telegraph:
‘The strategy, due to be published this autumn, says that Whitehall will “require all faiths to maintain a national register of faith leaders” and the Government will “set out the minimum level of training and checks” faith leaders must have to join the new register.
‘Registration will be compulsory for all faith leaders who wish to work with the public sector, including universities, the document says. In practice, most faith leaders have some dealings with the public sector and the requirement will cover the great majority.’
God willing, this Stalinist measure, rightly dubbed ‘sinister’ by The Christian Institute, will suffer the same democratic rebuff as Mr Blair’s bid to regulate religious debate in 2006.