The Christians' advocate
Interview with Andrea Minichiello Williams of CCFON
Andrea Minichiello Williams works for Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON) and the Christian Legal Centre. These organisations are heavily involved in the crucial task of defending our liberties and helping Christians facing discrimination of various kinds in the UK. At the beginning of March she gave a short interview to EN...
EN: Tell us briefly how you became a Christian.
AMW: When I was four, the local Methodist church sent a minibus around the neighbourhood where I was living inviting the children to Sunday School. I was put on the minibus. When I arrived at Sunday School, Mrs. Hicks, told me all about Jesus and I fell in love with him there and then.
When I was eight, I decided I wanted to be a barrister and prayed to God every night to pass my 11+ exam so that I could go to the grammar school. God granted me my request. At 14, I stood up at a missions conference and committed my life in mission service to the Lord, also saying that I still wanted to be a lawyer. And, so, here I am at 43 as a missionary lawyer. I have had many tests of faith over the years, but can testify that the Lord is sufficient and meets our every need and that he is the only one worth living for.
At a personal level, I am currently battling breast cancer and have found Christ’s hope and peace throughout. Daily, my heart cries out for a lost and broken nation that has turned her back on the truth of the gospel. I pray that every day of my life will count for Christ’s gospel purposes in this land.
EN: How did CCFON come into being and what’s the difference between yourselves and the Christian Institute?
AMW: David Clark, an IT consultant, felt called to broadcast the public policy work that I was doing at the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship to the grass roots and so he registered a domain name: ‘Christianconcernforournation.org’.
In 2004, we worked with Pastor Ade Omooba and Sam Solomon to raise the profile of the campaign against the Racial & Religious Hatred Bill that threatened our freedom to preach the gospel.
Our mailing list snowballed, because people wanted our legal expertise in helping them to campaign against ungodly and unjust laws. We took cases to court on behalf of Christians who had been discriminated against for living out their faith, but, for regulatory reasons, the cases soon had to be managed by a separate company. Today our Christian Legal Centre runs many cases where the freedoms of Christians, human lives, or the truth are at stake.
We continued to work as part of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, issuing briefings and conducting campaigns against bills such as the Joffe Bill, which would have legalised assisted suicide, until June 2008 when we decided to set up on our own so as not to jeopardise the charitable status of the LCF.
Today we work in partnership with other like-minded groups, while retaining our separate identity, seeking to raise a clarion call in the nation, praying outside Parliament when key votes are being taken and providing supporters with the legal and policy expertise needed to campaign against the secularisation and islamisation of Great Britain. The secular pressure groups are many and well funded; there is more than enough room for those dedicated to Christ to raise as much noise as possible. One voice is good, many voices are better.
EN: Why do you think Christians have come under such attack recently? Is it a conspiracy by a group or just the secular spirit of the times?
AMW: Do we still believe the New Testament? Do we believe that we wage war against principalities and power? Do we believe that there is still a roaring lion seeking to devour those who stand for Christ? If we do then we will know that Christians will live under attack always.
It is a mark of Christians being active. Many of us in our nation have become lukewarm and have left our first love — the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has fallen asleep watching as supposedly ‘tolerant’ laws are passed that have accommodated ungodly beliefs and practices, giving way to them until they refuse to tolerate Christians.
Yes, the spirits of the age are secularist, relativist and Islamist, but we need to examine ourselves to see why they are gaining the upper hand. I long to see an outpouring of repentance in the Church and revival in the land.
EN: Tell us about some of the cases with which CCFON has been involved recently.
AMW: At the moment we have over 20 ‘live cases’. The Christian Legal Centre recently supported and advised Caroline Petrie when she was suspended for offering to pray for a patient. She was given her job back. Thankfully, the press publicised the story widely and it became clear to all that Christian freedoms are under threat.
During our campaign against the legalisation of creating and exploiting animal-human hybrids for research in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (as it then was), the Christian Legal Centre applied for a judicial review of the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to grant licences to two universities to create and destroy animal-human hybrid embryos.
The judicial review was not granted, but in January this year the newspapers reported that insufficient funding had been obtained by the universities concerned because their research was deemed to be less useful to science than other stem-cell research. We lost the case, but won the argument!
We have a number of cases where Christian views on sexual ethics are preventing Christians becoming foster parents because of alleged breach of equality codes.
We are also representing a number of people in the public sector who are being sidelined because of their faith and the collision between so called equality and diversity laws which seek to silence Christians.
EN: What are the current needs of CCFON?
AMW: CCFON is a David-sized organisation fighting a Goliath-sized problem. The thrust of legislation, workplace guidelines and mainstream media reporting are all leading to ever greater discrimination against Christians and deeper affronts to the sanctity of life and family. We thank God for the wonderful contribution of many thousands of Christians who make our work possible through prayer and financial donations, which pay for our small team of highly dedicated and talented lawyers and other professionals.
We are, however, in critical need of funding, and are especially in need of regular support, large and small.
EN: How can we pray for you?
AMW: Our biggest challenge is funding. Please pray for funding, staff, protection, wisdom and courage as we seek to navigate the choppy waters of law and politics and to make the Christian viewpoint known and understood.
To contact CCFON, log on to our website (http://www.CCFON.org), where there are clearly marked options to join the mailing list, contact us and donate.