No person or organisation should be forced to be involved in or to approve of same-sex marriages.
That is the wording of a motion in the Scottish Parliament which has been branded “anti-gay”, “bizarre”, and “spurious”. A homosexual MSP is now calling for “full and dispassionate” debate.
I’d like to propose some additional motions.
No person or organisation should be forced to be involved in or to approve of Christian worship.
I hope no one labels me anti-Christian or bizarre for suggesting such a motion.
No person or organisation should be forced to be involved in or to approve of heterosexual marriages.
I hope no one labels me anti-heterosexual or bizarre.
From the Abortion Act (1967):
4.-(1) Subject to subsection (2) of this section, no person shall be under any duty, whether by contract or by any statutory objection to or other legal requirement, to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection: Provided that in any legal proceedings the burden of proof of conscientious objection shall rest on the person claiming to rely on it.
There is precedent in UK law for provisions exempting those who, as a matter of conscience, are opposed to taking part in actions which they believe to be morally wrong. It is not “spurious” to suggest that such protections need to be in place, as two Roman Catholic nurses had to go to court recently to be exempted from taking part in abortions.
Why are people opposed to freedom of conscience? Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). We aren’t surprised, but we do recognise this for what it is. It really is hateful to try to force someone to take part in something which they believe to be immoral, and it is hateful to call it “anti-gay” or “bizarre” when someone tries to protect against such compulsion.
Yes, the government should protect our freedom of conscience. We should not be expected to condone or take part in that which the Bible says is wrong. We have the right and the responsibility to ask our representatives to protect us from compulsive laws against God’s law. However, the real danger for Christians is not that we will face opposition and even persecution. That comes with the territory if you are going to truly follow Christ (II Timothy 3:12). The real danger for us is to forget that Jesus told us to love those who make themselves our enemies, and to forget that He told us to rejoice in the face of persecution.