Canterbury Cathedral

Islamist extremists are among the winners from new government anti-radicalisation rules for British universities, which are about to drag evangelical Christian Unions into the censorship net.

Under the Prevent duty guidance accompanying the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, university authorities would be required to vet external speakers at student meetings by getting ‘advance notice of the content of the event, including an outline of the topics to be discussed and sight of any presentations, footage to be broadcast etc’. Many Christian Unions have an outside speaker – often an ordained minister – at least once a week during term time.

As the inept, cavalier government of Charles 1 demonstrated with its infamous ‘etcetera’ oath imposed on Puritan clergy in 1640, its reincarnation in this State edict ought to be of profound concern. Where is politically correct interference in Christian freedom of expression going to stop?

The valiant Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute, points out: ‘Quite apart from being a bureaucratic nightmare, past events indicate the level of hostility to CUs on university campuses. Over the last decade cases have included: Hull CU and Birmingham CU being told to accept non-Christians in leadership positions, Edinburgh CU being banned from holding a course on sexual ethics and Exeter CU going to court to defend its right to operate on campus. It is not hard to predict the harm these extraordinary new rules could cause.’

Along with socially Marxist neo-Stalinists on British campuses, the Islamist extremists would also be the winners from the gagging of Christian Unions. That is because the gospel of God’s forgiving love in Jesus Christ, which evangelical CUs communicate, is antithetical to the Islamists’ chosen course of violence for the propagation of their religion.

What did the Lord Jesus say to one of His followers who tried to resort to violence to prevent His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane? ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who draw the sword will perish by the sword’ (Matthew 26v52 – RSV).

Under the new rules, that kind of statement  in a PowerPoint presentation would be subject to a risk assessment.  The God-hating spectre of Stalin must be laughing at what the British State has in store for Christianity in our country’s centres of learning.

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