Archbishop Gary Beaver Requests British Government to Review Racial and Religious Hatred Bill

From: Old Catholic Church of Great Britain
Published: Thu Oct 27 2005

Speaking from his office, Archbishop Gary Beaver of the Old Catholic Church stated "we must call for a commission to explore the wider issues of hate speech and freedom of expression" as an all-party amendment passed by 260 votes to 111 in the House of Lords today.

In an official church response to the contentious bill, which would make incitement to hatred on the grounds of religion a crime, Archbishop Gary says that present public order legislation can and should be used to outlaw religious harassment and suggests a reconsideration of present civil offences, rather than reinventing the wheel.

The Old Catholic Church have exposed five of the "foremost difficulties" with what has been put forward by the writers of the bill– issues of definition, legal consistency, scope, accountability and how the law will be applied.

Further concern is that the proposed bill gives unique protection to the Church of England, from the statute. All denominations and members of faith communities that make up the Church Universal should enjoy the same protections and rights as others in civil society, and there should be no difference whether one is Protestant, Catholic or Muslim.

Many of the smaller denominations have criticised the government’s intention to use the Parliament Act to push through a law which has attracted such vast opposition from faith and secular organisations, as well as many members of the legal profession.

"There is no question that all faiths and minority groups face a growing level of menace and harassment, and there needs to be lawful protection. This is exactly what public order and civil provisions are there to provide" Said Archbishop Gary.

The Old Catholic Church of Great Britain opposes the proposed law of blasphemy on theological grounds. Any faith is corrupted when its loyalty or defence is legally required by the state. Archbishop Gary stated "We must be careful that we do not unintentionally paint ourselves into a legal corner that becomes a matter of religious oppression."

Let us all remember that Jesus himself was tried and executed by a union of political and religious forces who objected to his subversive message.

Company: Old Catholic Church of Great Britain
Contact Name: Media Officer
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Contact Phone: 447761055456

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