The closure of churches is a threat to our human rights

Jul 3, 2020 by

by David Hathaway, Premier:

I believe there are clear reasons why church leaders must challenge the government over its treatment of churches during this pandemic.

For 2,000 years the Church has been subjected to attempts to stop or control us by kings, governments and people, resulting in persecution, suffering, martyrdom and, in my case, imprisonment.

The worship of God, while it can be done individually (as I found out when I was in prison in the 1970s for bringing bibles into the Soviet Union), is the corporate response and confirmation of the unity of the body.

The Church is neither a building nor an individual, but according to scripture, it is a group of Christians who meet together. While live streaming helps individuals, it is not the Church as described in the Bible.

For this reason, 1,000 years ago, King John, in the first clause of Magna Carta, said: “Granted to God, and by this present Charter have confirmed, that the Church of England shall be free and shall have all her rights and liberties inviolable, forever.”

In more recent times the right of people to worship freely has been confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights. But the coronavirus crisis has threatened these freedoms in a very real way. So much so that legal challenges to overturn the restrictions on churches were brought – and won – in courts in Germany, France and the US. Yet our government sought to prevent a similar challenge in the UK. This is why I’m joining with other Church leaders to take legal action against the Government.

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