‘It is easier for a politician to admit to smoking weed or watching porn than it is to admit that they might take prayer seriously in their daily life’, said a cabinet minister in mid-December at the Conservative Christian Fellowship lecture.
Stephen Crabb, the Secretary of State for Wales, said that in our current culture: ‘Faith gets squeezed further into the margins of public life and religion becomes de-legitimised through suspicion, fear or ridicule.’ He criticised the watering down of religious belief which aims to satisfy everyone and pleases no-one.
NI: pastor not guilty
On 5 January Pastor James McConnell was found not guilty of making ‘grossly offensive’ remarks about Islam.
He was charged following a sermon in May 2014 at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast which was also streamed online. Prompted by the case of Meriam Ibrahim who faced the death penalty for apostasy from Islam he described Islam as heathen, satanic and a doctrine spawned in hell. After the initial hearing in 2015, Pastor McConnell said: ‘Either they try me and put me in prison or I am free to preach the gospel.’ In delivering his verdict, the judge said: ‘The courts need to be very careful not to criticise speech which, however contemptible is no more than offensive.’
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