Christian Persecution in Britain: Using Gay Marriage and “Inclusive” Laws to Ghettoize Christians

Persecution doesn’t begin with violence.

It begins with verbal insult, moves to legal prohibitions, which lead to pushing groups out of the mainstream of society and ends up at violent persecution.

Christians all over the world appear to be somewhere on that continuum. Here in the West, Christians have endured verbal insult for quite some time. This has risen to publicly tolerated hate speech and a media that will not report stories about Christians, however positive, without adding some negative twist to them, even if it’s just the reporter’s opinion.

In the past few years, laws that were enacted for other purposes are being used to force Christians to either violate their faith or limit their activities in public life. At this juncture, these laws are aimed at Christian businesses and Christians in the workplace. I predict they will move to limiting the activities of individual Christians within a few years.

The HHS Mandate is one of the most broad examples of this, attacking as it did the entire Roman Catholic Church in America. It is a blatant attempt to destroy Christianity by using government force to make it abandon its teachings.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull, an elderly couple who live in Cornwall in Great Britain, found themselves embroiled in legal persecution for their beliefs. The Bulls own a bed and breakfast, which is also their home. They have a long-standing policy of not renting rooms to either homosexual couples or to heterosexual couples who are unmarried. They accepted a reservation for a Mr and Mrs Priddy, but when the couple showed up it was two men. The Bulls’ employee who was in charge at that time refused to rent them a room.

Instead of going to another inn, the homosexual couple filed suit. The suit wound its way through the legal system, and the Bulls lost. They were forced under government penalty had to either violate their faith or close their business. Their legal counsel suggested that rather than close their business they should reformulate it as a Christian-only non-profit, which they have opted to do.

Problem solved, right?

I don’t think so.

In fact I view this as a successful next step in Christian persecution. This kind of solution is what i was referring to when I spoke of ghettoizing Christians. The message here — and it appears to be pretty direct — is that practicing Christians must either violate their faith or withdraw from the wider public world into a narrower all-Christian world to protect themselves. 

This is legal discrimination of an overt and rather ugly sort. It is also the next step on the continuum toward systematized legal discrimination against Christians in the West. 

An article from this is Cornwall describing the situation says in part:

THE CHRISTIAN owners of a Marazion guesthouse who were taken to court after they refused a gay couple a double room will now legally be allowed to turn away unmarried straight and gay couples.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull have changed the status of the Chymorvah guesthouse to a not-for-profit company, allowing them to specify that anyone staying with them should abide by their Bible-based beliefs.

  1. Peter and Hazelmary Bull

    Peter and Hazelmary Bull

The couple revealed details of the change this week, in their first in-depth interview with The Cornishman since turning away civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy from their guesthouse almost five years ago.

Mr and Mrs Bull, who have run the guesthouse for 27 years, were later ordered to pay £3,600 in damages to the couple and their civil case has been the subject of endless media speculation.

Since then, the guesthouse owners have appealed against the decision in the Court of Appeal, which they lost, and are now set to have the case heard in the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Mrs Bull said they wanted to be able to continue with their policy of not allowing unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexual couples to share a double bed under their roof.

Mrs Bull said: “The Christian Institute advised us on how to form a limited company, which we were able to do by stating in the articles of the company that anyone coming to stay here would be expected to abide by our Bible-based beliefs.

“When we had the trial, there were a number of local B&Bs who said, ‘we are watching this very closely because we want to be able to say no sometimes’, not necessarily to that particular group of people but just on certain occasions.”

Read more: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/story-18471550-detail/story.html#ixzz2OO5GHaQy
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  • Edward

    So wait…you’re telling me that you think that two people who are prejudiced against gay people, are being prejudiced against because they can’t mistreat gay people? Since when did Christianity become synonymous with bigotry? When did homophobic bigots hijack the Christian religion?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      The question here is the legal use of government force to dictate private conscience and the free exercise of religion. Since when did you forget that people have (or should have) the right to not be forced to do things that violate their beliefs?

      • Edward

        But bigotry isn’t part of the Christian religion so how can it be the “free exercise” of religion? I guess it all depends on what you think will happen when you meet God, up close and face-to-face some day. Do you think he’s going to say, “Bravo!…Bravo! You helped make those gay people’s lives miserable!”.

        Or, do you think he’ll instead say, “What the HELL were you thinking???”

        And if you point to the bible and say in your defense, “But-B ut God…it says right here…”

        Maybe that’s when he turns to you, looks you in the eye and says, “If people have difficulty with people who are different than they are now…don’t you think that people in my day could also have had difficulty with people who are different than them?”

        And you’ll know right then that you weren’t serving your God at all…

    • Ted Seeber

      When did heterophobic bigots hijack the gay agenda? Seems to me the insults happened pretty simultaneously. I say that as a man who was a progressive Catholic in favor of civil unions until March 2002, when overnight due to the decision of a county government close to me I became a conservative Catholic homophobic bigot in favor of civil unions.

      Notice, I did not change MY beliefs one whit. It was the other side that changed and suddenly *required* everybody to agree with gay marriage or be ostracized as a bigot.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ Jessica Hoff

    The couple have now reclassified their guest house as a religious retreat – and can now choose their guests. That’s the thing about laws – we can always find one which works :)

    • Edward

      Right – and if you find a law that works that allows you to continue to be a bigot, then who is the loser?

      • Mark Jeffery

        Who is this Edward, who cannot let anyone else have an opinion?

      • SteveP

        Bandying about the word “bigot” seems to be a favorite pastime of male homosexuals. Perhaps they might develop the habit of reading classical literature:
        .
        “Men have twisty tongues, and on them speech
        Of all kinds; wide is the grazing land of words,
        both east and west. The manner of speech you use,
        the same you are apt to hear.”
        (Iliad, 20.281)

  • helen

    So they’ve reclassified their home. That will probably change where/how they can advertise.
    If people are afraid to make a reservation there because they’ll be tarred with the “bigot” brush, who really won?

  • pagansister

    The last restaurant I was in had a sign on the wall that said they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. So, guess it is still legal here in the USA.

    • Theodore Seeber

      There have been many cases where businesses have been sued for that sign in the United States. That’s not a safe assumption anymore.

  • Bill S

    “Who is this Edward, who cannot let anyone else have an opinion?”

    He’s not me. I’ve been deleted too many times to continue, but I am not commenting under a pseudonym. I’m just reading and enjoying the articles and the comments made by Edward and pagansister.

  • Dale

    Pagansister, the sign you mention may be legal to post in a restaurant, but that doesn’t mean that it has any legal standing in court. As a public accommodation, a restaurant can not discriminate on the basis of certain protected classes e.g. race, religion, gender etc. The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers all of the US, but the states or cities often add additional classes e.g. sexual orientation .

    And courts often have ruled that restaurants can not discriminate for arbitrary reasons e.g. eye color.

    Additional explanation is at this link
    http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/restaurants-right-to-refuse-service.html

    (It isn’t an authoritative source, simply one I found quickly. However, in the past I have seen the same explanations offered by other sources.

    • pagansister

      Dale, I realize that a restaurant isn’t allowed to refuse service because of a person’ s race etc. I just thought it was interesting to see it posted. I have also seen ones that say (as I’m sure you have too) “No shirt, no shoes, no service”.

  • Steve Callum

    It is a pathetic thing in the second decade of the 21st Century when people cannot be just viewed as PEOPLE despte their race or sexuality preferances. here are far more important issues that so called catholics and christians should be really battling to stop and thats poverty!!! So yeah I am GAY and I love my partner and he loves me. We support charities and try to offer what help we can taid those in desperate need of help….oooohhh but thats not good enough fr the hypocritical christians who say we shoulntgive into a lie and only sleep with woman….it doesnt matter that I and my partner are probably more supportive of our local community ad more giving and selfless than the majority of gay hating christians around this little globe of ours….NO we are automatically condemned and so yes I say too right we should fight against the bigots like the gay hating catholics nd christians. You arnt serving God your just dying in a decaying world thats slowly caving in because it is full of intolerance and hatred. God is LOVE not HATE. Hate belongs to the evil you would know or term as the DEVIL….so in reality you serve the dark lord with all your hate mongering and your biggottry….I am sick and tired of hearing how christians and catholics feel hard done by….WELL NOW YOU KNOW HOW GAY PEOPLE AND BI SEXUAL PEOPLE AND LESBIANS HAVE FELT FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF PERSICUTION FROM NASTY LITTLE BINKERED PEOPLE LIKE YOU LOT!!! I am sick of hearing religious people take the love that should exist naturally in this world and twist it all with decrees that are both damaging and poisonous to humanity. You people clai to be the ENLIGHTENED ones but in reality you are as far from the creator as you can get! You claim to understand the nature of all things but you understand NOTHING of NATURE and the UNIVERSE. Nature doesnt fit into tiny little boxes just to suit you lot and your religious extremes. ATURE HAS MANY TWISTS AND TURNS so iether get with them and accept that nature ill have its way or jus remain blinkered and hateful but gay people and bi sexual people and lesbians will NOT go away just because YOU lot wish we would. God has a purpose for everyone including gays so what gives you the right to tell God that he was WRONG when he created us this way??? Your arrogance and Ego’s need to be put in front of big mirrors so that you can see how hateful and intolerant you are. Ok rant over.

    • SteveP

      It seems the most bellicose voices against the Church are closet-Catholics. I think it is safe for you to come out to your local parish. I’d suggest this Good Friday – it cannot be healthy to so deeply hide your devotion to Christ Jesus.

    • Dale

      Hi Steve Callum, welcome to Public Catholic. If you aren’t new here, well, I am… so somehow a welcome seems appropriate. :)

      I sensed some anger in your post, and its presence indicates you are offended, frustrated and/or hurt. I apologize if I or my fellow Catholics or my Church has caused you harm.

      I recognize there are some points of Catholic teaching or Catholic action which you reject, perhaps even resent. On those things, I will not contend. Some disagreements are irreconcilable, and the best we can achieve is a respectful co-existence. I hope our discussions here will move towards that goal.

      I am glad that you and your life partner are committed to aiding the poor. Helping the weak is a natural human good which we all can agree on. Sometimes such projects can serve to unite persons of different viewpoints. If you are involved in a particular effort to reduce poverty or suffering, would you consider reaching out to local Catholics, or other Christians, to also participate?

      I realize that might be asking a lot, if you have strong feelings against Catholics or Catholicism. As you are aware, the Catholic Church opposes same-gender sexual activity. And the Church provides some of the leadership against same-sex marriage. But are you aware that the Church is also opposed to unjust discrimination against homosexuals, such as denial of housing or employment simply for being gay? Yes, the Catholic Church is opposed to homosexual activity, but it also teaches that all human beings have an inherent dignity which deserves and requires protection, including those who are gay or lesbian.

      Steve, there are some things we will not agree on. But I think there is more common ground than your post seems to indicate. If you would like to discuss these things, I would welcome that discussion.

  • pagansister

    Steve Callum: Your first 2 sentences say it all——there are more important issues in the 21st century. Well said. :-)

    • SteveP

      pagansister: Excellent use of irony to expose sarcasm.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/103133177397090504113 Tony Sidaway

    It seems to me that the Cornish case showed human rights law working as it should. People shouldn’t be treated like second class citizens as the Bulls did to Mr Preddy and Mr Hall. It’s disingenuous to claim that the Bulls had lost a “right” to mistreat them based on their religious beliefs, for in fact beliefs give nobody any rights to harm another.

    Now the Bulls have apparently reformed their guest house as a private institution, rather than a public guest house. This seems like a very sensible move. If they wanted to run a public guest house, they would have to obey the same law that applies to everybody else.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I’m going to point out that these are standard arguments used to ghettoize Christians practicing Christians and see what bubbles up. Can anyone address this line of reasoning?

    • Theodore Seeber

      Ok, so in other words, homosexuals always good, heterosexuals always evil. Got it. You’re just another heterophobic bigot.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Ted, I know you sometimes say things more harshly than you intend. But please, watch the name-calling.

        • Theodore Seeber

          Warning taken, but when it comes to heterophobia and the gay agenda- I certainly DO intend the harshness. Anti-homophobia in recent years has become a witch hunt- even as the equally bad gay bashing recedes into distant memory.

          • TheKnowerseeker

            Anti-Christianity.

        • TheKnowerseeker

          For every name called against a pro-gay activist, 10 are slung against anti-gay and/or Christian commenters.

      • https://twitter.com/tonysidaway Tony Sidaway

        “Ok, so in other words, homosexuals always good, heterosexuals always evil.”

        No, certainly not. People should not harm one another, that is all. This was a case of one party (the hoteliers) causing objective harm to another by refusing services. The court concluded that the harm could not be justified, so the hoteliers in this case were at fault. If a gay non-believing hotelier had refused services in the same circumstances, the hotelier would still be at fault.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Tony, I don’t think this was the logic of the court at all. It was, rather, based on a bad statute that did not admit of personal conscience and religious freedom.

        • SteveP

          Tony Sidaway: Ought we be concerned that two men who seemingly represent the acme of consensual relationships so punished non-consent?

        • Theodore Seeber

          If that is true, can you prove objectively that the couple involved is indeed gay?

          I’m beginning to be of the opinion that sexual orientation is incredibly hard to prove objectively.

    • TheKnowerseeker

      People who own private businesses should always be allowed to turn away whomever they wish; that is the whole idea of *private property*. Now, I am not against making some businesses or services be government-owned to accommodate customers who are not welcome anywhere else. I think the combination of these two factors would be most fair.

  • https://twitter.com/tonysidaway Tony Sidaway

    Rebecca Hamilton, I read the Bristol County Court ruling in the Cornish guest house case when it was published. It was based on the Equality Act in the context of the Human Rights Act which recognizes the right to practise a religion.

    Civil Partnerships are identical to marriage in UK law, therefore in treating Hall and Preddy as unmarried for the purpose of accommodation the Bulls discriminated unlawfully against them. In his analysis Judge Andrew Rutherford determined that, had he not found direct discrimination, he would have found indirect discrimination.

    SteveP if anybody was punished that night in 2008 it was the couple whose booking was cancelled without warning, forcing them to find alternative arrangements at very short notice. The case was a claim for damages arising from that unlawful discrimination.

    To those who assert that the hoteliers’ right of conscience overrides the right of the couple to be treated like any other married couple, I’d have to ask how far they think that right goes. To what extent could it exempt a person from complying with the law?

    I think this gets to the heart of the matter. It seems to me that Christians are claiming that their beliefs give them the privilege of ignoring the laws they don’t like and mistreating people on the basis of those beliefs. They’re not being persecuted, they’re being unreasonable.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Tony, I’m not arguing whether or not the Bulls violated British law. I am arguing that if they did, then the law is unjust and wrong. Also, if your quotes here are correct, the judge ruled on a rather nebulous term (at least in American) law when he spoke of “indirect” discrimination. That sounds (at least it would be here) vague and wide-open to judicial and prosecutorial interpretations into which those officials could pour any sort of meaning they wanted. I may, of course, be wrong about that, since I don’t know British law. However, in America, a law that vague would be subject to being overturned in the courts because of its vagueness alone, since it could lead to unjust prosecution.

      Again, I am not questioning whether or not the Bulls violated the law. I am saying that the law itself is bad and this case proves it.

      “therefore in treating Hall and Preddy as unmarried for the purpose of accommodation the Bulls discriminated unlawfully against them. In his analysis Judge Andrew Rutherford determined that, had he not found direct discrimination, he would have found indirect discrimination.”

    • SteveP

      Tony Sidaway: There is disagreement that CP is the same as marriage; the Bulls mistake, if any, was not explicitly stating “double occupancy only for a man and a woman who are married to each other.”
      .
      I think the lawsuit was to press the point that one does not say “No!” to some homosexuals.

    • Theodore Seeber

      “To what extent could it exempt a person from complying with the law?”

      Now THAT is an interesting question. I’d say *to the point of physical harm*. Not perceived insults. Not potentially fake gay couples suing businesses for the fun of it.

  • https://twitter.com/tonysidaway Tony Sidaway

    Apologies to those whom I didn’t mention by name in my reply above. I hope it’s clear from the context to whom I’m replying on each paragraph.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    It is *not* the job of Christians to accept homosexuality; it is our job to resist it. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” — John 15:18