24 August 2011
Parliamentary inquiry launched to assess Christian freedoms
Are Christians being marginalised in public life? Is it becoming more difficult to speak freely or be authentically Christian in the workplace? What does the law actually have to say about these issues?
These are just some of the questions a cross-party group of Christian MPs and Peers are attempting to address as part of Clearing the Ground - a parliamentary inquiry to see how the law treats Christians.
The All Party Parliamentary Group 'Christians in Parliament' has launched the inquiry to seek clarity regarding what Christians can and cannot do within the law. It will cut through the claims made in the media and by opposing campaign groups to consider whether Christians are finding their freedoms eroded.
Gary Streeter MP, who is chairing the inquiry, said: "There has never been a more significant time for Christians to make a positive contribution to our society, but if we are to do that it is important to clear the ground of the confusion that sometimes appears to hinder our capacity to live and speak freely. This cross-party enquiry from both the Commons and the Lords attempts to do just that. "
Clearing the Ground follows a series of high profile cases of Christians facing the courts because of the way they have lived out their beliefs - particularly in the workplace. The legal complexity and media portrayal of such cases is making many Christians and others unclear about the position of their supposed freedoms, and uncertain as to how they can continue to contribute to public life in the UK.
Christians in Parliament has invited a range of established Christian groups with a track record in public policy to submit evidence to the committee across a range of areas such as education, family and children, business and employment and civil liberties and human rights.
Written evidence will be submitted to the committee between August and October with oral evidence sessions taking place in November in the Houses of Parliament. Following the written submissions and oral evidence sessions, a report will be compiled to help Christians and others understand the legal situation, make any appropriate suggestions for amendments to the law or how it can be better interpreted.
The Evangelical Alliance has been asked to provide the secretariat for the Clearing the Ground inquiry.
Tel: 07766 444 650
Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.