Why Religious Persecution in Modern Britain?

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Why Religious Persecution in Modern Britain?

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The persecution of Christians in the developing world has increased rapidly during the last decade. Newsweek reported that “terrorist attacks on Christians in Africa, the Middle East and Asia increased 309% from 2003 to 2010”—a mere seven years (Feb. 16, 2012). But one wouldn’t normally expect religious mistreatment in the English-speaking, democratic Western world. Nonetheless, raw persecution is now rearing its ugly head in Britain.

Most realize that the secular establishment has not been friendly to Christianity, and churchgoing in Britain has been in decline for decades. Evidence for this can be seen in a recent study of children called “What’s Next for This Year’s Child?” in which a metaphorical baby exclaims: “By the time I’m an adult, there’s a 70 per cent chance that I’ll be an unbeliever” (Seven, The Sunday Telegraph, Feb. 19, 2012).

The current climate in Britain becomes more evident from published statements such as the one in the Financial Times attributed to Baroness Warsi: “Lady Warsi, the Conservative [Party] Chairman, fears ‘a militant secularism taking hold of our societies…Her greatest fear seems to be the waning awe in which religion is held by states’” (Feb. 19, 2012). She expressly stated: “Faith has been neglected, undermined—and yes, even attacked—by governments.”

Consider recent applications of British law. A high-court judge in England ruled against local councils including prayers in formal meetings. Concurrently a Christian couple lost their court appeal not to allow homosexuals to share a double room in a private bed and breakfast establishment.

Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, warned in a forthright Daily Mail feature article: “For the Christian faith is being increasingly marginalised in this country—as a shocking court case this week has illustrated. Since the September 11 attacks, we seem to have become obsessed with not upsetting British Muslims while successive pieces of legislation mean the rights of homosexuals now seem to trump those of everyone else.”

Lord Carey concluded: “Sadly I could take you to many countries in the world where brave Christian minorities are facing dreadful persecution. What is happening here [in Britain] is that Christians are being pushed into the background by a secular establishment that seems to be embarrassed by the fact that Britain is a Christian country” (Feb. 10, 2012, emphasis added throughout).

Of course, some observers would dispute that Britain is still in fact a Christian nation. After all, throughout church history many have been deceived into embracing a counterfeit Christianity—which has not produced the spiritual fruits one would expect from a church. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do the things which I say?” asked Jesus Christ (Luke 6:46). He also firmly declared: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he [or she] who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:1).

How could this be? Matthew 24:4-5 goes a long way toward explaining this sad state of affairs. “For many will come in My name…and will deceive many.” Clearly the ultimate source of all religious deception is Satan the devil” (see Revelation 12:9; 1 John 5:19 and our free booklet Is There Really a Devil?).

Nonetheless, many nominal Christians in our modern age have chosen the path of least resistance while conducting their personal lives. They simply do not adhere to the clear teachings of the Bible. What has actually happened to Christ’s Church during the last 2,000 years? How did it veer off track? How did a counterfeit church arise? Are nominal Christians today being persecuted for their obedient, Christ-like way of life?

All of these questions are addressed and answered in our comprehensive free booklet, The Church Jesus Built. Request your copy in print or download it on our Internet website.