This is an important campaign and we at The Freedom Association are proud to support it. It has been organised by the charity, Barnabas Fund. Here is an extract from its website:
"Religious freedoms in the UK have taken centuries to build, but intolerance, complacency and uniformity are slowly eroding them away. It’s easy to sit back and ignore the damage because, like erosion, it’s not always immediately visible on the surface. But look a little closer and you can begin to see the cracks.
"When nurses are being sacked for wearing crosses or praying, and students are being kicked off their course for their beliefs, you have to ask yourself how safe these freedoms are. At what point do you act?
"We are not looking for a quick fix. Erosion needs prevention and that prevention is a new law: a new law, once and for all, to safeguard, all aspects of freedom of religion or belief before we lose them, along with freedom of speech."
A quick history lesson. Magna Carta’s affirmation that “the English Church shall be free” was gradually worked out over the centuries into seven specific aspects of freedom of religion:
- Freedom to read the Bible in public (achieved 1537)
- Freedom to interpret the Bible without government interference (achieved 1559)
- Freedom of worship (achieved 1689)
- Freedom to choose, or change your faith or belief (achieved 1689)
- Freedom to preach and try to convince others of the truth of your beliefs (achieved 1812)
- Freedom to build churches and other places of worship (achieved 1812)
- Freedom from being required to affirm a particular worldview or set of beliefs in order to hold a public sector job or stand for election, work in professions such as teaching and law, or study at university (achieved by the repeal of various Test Acts between 1719 and 1888)
A petition has been created, which we urge you to sign, to get those freedoms enshrined in law. We want the new law to positively affirm the freedoms to practice, share and change one’s beliefs without government interference or societal persecution.