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Christians urged to sign petition to protect religious freedom in UK
Christian organisations have claimed religious freedom is eroding in the UK and want the government to make sure it is protected in law for the future.
Affinity, a fellowship of evangelical churches and individuals, are encouraging Christian organisations to support them and sign a petition by ourreligiousfreedom.org to prevent the potential persecution of religion in the future.
Graham Nicholls, the Director of Affinity, told Premier why a law was needed: "There is a clash going on, a cultural clash, a colliding of different rights and responsibilities.
"In that clash, religious freedom in part is being squeezed out by secular freedom, so we think it would be helpful and clarifying if religious rights were somehow enshrined in law."
Nicholls said that believers do have many legal rights but that there is a danger these can slip away when tested in everyday life.
Explaining that many rights are enshrined in law, Nicholls added: "It's not clarified what that actually means and how that works out in practice and whether we are free to worship - to read the scripture in public for example - is that a right that we should have? We think it should be and to be able to interpret scripture without government interference."
Nicholls argued that a law would "save a lot of time wasted on spurious cases of prosecuting Christians on things like people preaching in public".
When asked if our current freedoms are really in danger currently, he replied: "In practice. Not many of the cases have held against street preachers or against Christian preaching being classified as hate speech...but the very fact that these cases are being brought and that there are real cases of teachers being sacked or from the health service... I think it is under threat, yes."
Speaking about the fact that we have a lot more freedom than many countries, Nicholls explained having a better track-record comparatively doesn't mean we shouldn't still seek protection of what we have de jure.
"If you talk to people who've campaigned around the world for human rights and religious rights, they would say that where we are starting is actually on a path that could lead to the same sort of regimes that are elsewhere in the world, certainly in terms of persecution of Christians," he said.
He said he wanted to clarify and protect "the freedoms we have now" and stop "the trend which has a trajectory towards silencing the Christian voice".
Listen to the whole interview with Graham Nicholls here, speaking with Premier's Cara Bentley:
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