Does the Tim Farron heresy hunt show orthodox Christians aren’t welcome in public life?

May 17, 2017 by

by John Charmley, Christian Today:

An inquisitorial tone is to be expected from the presenters on Radio 4’s Today programme, but on Wednesday May 18 we had that tone of outrage reserved by the BBC for an idea which its presenters consider beyond the pale.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman was confronted with the fact that a decade ago his party leader, Tim Farron, had opposed abortion. Was this, the presenter asked, still the case and would it affect party policy?

As the Lib Dems are not famous for extending their definition of diversity to tolerating orthodox Christian beliefs on sexual matters, the answer was a foregone conclusion – no. But what was interesting was the presenter pressing for a recantation. We were duly informed that he had now recanted. Great joy ensued. Here was a man who had opposed gay marriage and abortion, but now he had got with the programme.

Under William III, parliament passed a series of Test Acts designed to bar from public life an otherwise qualified man who was not an Anglican. For 150 years Britain was an Anglican confession state, and not until the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 were Roman Catholics permitted to vote in national elections and sit in parliament.

In their original form the Test Acts allowed any non-Anglican who felt able to turn up to take communion a couple of times a year to vote – in other words, anyone who believed what their Catholic faith taught was barred, but those with looser consciences were able to squeeze in.

We now have a modern test Act.

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