Christian Concern

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Not to be confused with 'Christian Concern Crewe', who also operate under the name 'Christian Concern'.[1]
Christian Concern logo.JPG
Formation 2004 (as part of LCF)
Type Christian lobby group
Headquarters 70 Wimpole Street, London, United Kingdom
CEO Andrea Minichiello Williams
Website christianconcern.com

Christian Concern is the trading name of CCFON Ltd,[2] a Christian organisation in the United Kingdom which seeks to introduce a 'Christian voice' into law, the media and Government.[3]

History[edit]

The organisation was founded by barrister and evangelical activist Andrea Minichiello Williams.[4][5] Before 2008 it was a network run from The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship's Public Policy Unit, which was then headed by Williams.[6] An internet domain was registered to publicise this work, using the name Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON)[7] and in 2006, CCFON described itself as "an activity of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship Public Policy Unit. It functioned as a service for non-lawyers who want to be equipped to understand, act and respond to the increasing number of legal issues impacting the Gospel and Biblical justice at the heart of our society. CCFON consists of a website and e-mail update service supported by an active team of lawyers."[8]

Williams stated that she decided to set up a separate organisation in June 2008 so as not to jeopardise the charitable status of the LCF[7] (under UK law, a charity cannot have political activity as any of its charitable purposes[9]) and CCFON Ltd was incorporated as an independent body on 24 June 2008.[10]

In October 2010, CCFON Ltd shortened its operating name to Christian Concern.[11]

Williams is currently CEO of Christian Concern and is also the founder and operating director of Christian Legal Centre, a sister organisation that serves to "defend Christians in the public sphere and to protect the freedom of Christians to live their lives in accordance with their Christian beliefs." [12]

Agenda[edit]

Christian Concern states, that as a result of society turning its back on Jesus the growth of ideas such as "secular liberal humanism, moral relativism and sexual licence" has led to "widespread family breakdown, immorality and social disintegration." The organisation views the "fruit" of ideas that are alternative to Christianity as "rotten" and seeks to remedy the situation by engaging politically with a broad range of issues, including: abortion, adoption and fostering, bioethics, marriage, education, employment, end of life, equality, family, free speech, Islamism, religious freedom, the sex trade, social issues and issues relating to sexual orientation. [13]

Notable campaigns[edit]

In 2005 and early 2006, the group campaigned alongside other Christian bodies to stop the Religious Hatred Bill. Although they failed to prevent the bill becoming law, it was passed only after amendments in the House of Lords. Christian Concern claimed this as a victory[14] stating that, whilst they "would still prefer that the law was removed from the statute books", the bill, in its amended form, "allays almost all the fears which we have talked about over the past months".

In 2006 and 2007 they opposed segments of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, organising a rally outside Parliament[15] and a petition which gained over 10,000 signatures, on the grounds that the new law would "discriminate heavily" against Christians.[16] From autumn 2007 they highlighted concerns over some clauses in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, organising a demonstration outside Parliament in January 2008.[17] Both Bills subsequently passed reading in the House of Commons without amendment.

In 2007, they supported Lydia Playfoot, a schoolgirl who had been instructed to remove a sexual abstinence ring in school because it contravened her school's uniform policy. Miss Playfoot took her case to the High Court of Justice alleging her human rights had been violated under the European Convention on Human Rights, but the High Court found against her, awarding her school £12,000 costs.[18]

Also in 2007, they supported foster parents who had refused to sign a new contract drawn up to implement the Sexual Orientation Regulations.[19]

Current campaigns[edit]

As of 2012, Christian Concern has three main campaigns; Awake, Arise; Choose Life and Not Ashamed.[20]

The 'Awake, Arise' campaign primarily centres on day conferences which seek to encourage Christians to engage with society 'robustly and relevantly' at both the national and local level.

'Choose Life' is an anti-abortion campaign, aimed at encouraging a new generation of 'advocates for life’. Two significant events, organised under this campaign, include the 'Make Abortion History Conference' and 'Demonstration for Life' rally, both of which took place on the 44th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act.

'Not Ashamed' is a campaign aimed at encouraging Christians to live out their faith in public, drawing attention to instances where Christians believed themselves to have been marginalised at work or in public life. The campaign was backed by George Carey, and secured wide media coverage on its official launch in December 2010. Another Christian think tank, Ekklesia, said that there was "no evidence" of systematic discrimination.[21]

2008 Channel 4 documentary controversy[edit]

The Channel 4 Dispatches documentary "In God's Name", which first aired on 19 May 2008, examined the growing influence of Christian evangelical movements in the UK. Investigative journalist David Modell followed Andrea Minichiello Williams who, at the time, was public policy director of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship.[22] The film highlighted the LCF's involvement in lobbying the British Government on issues such as abortion, gay rights and the enforcing of laws relating to blasphemy. Modell concluded that Williams was "a colourful and powerful campaigner for the implementation of radical Christian views." and that she "believes any law that goes against her strict biblical beliefs must be fought."[23][24] The programme included footage of Williams' meetings with Conservative politicians Norman Tebbit and Nadine Dorries, both of whom have worked with the LCF to influence policy on matters where they had a common agenda. Williams is reported as stating that the Human Fertilisation Bill was 'the work of the devil', that homosexuality is sinful, that abortion should be illegal, and that the world is just 4,000 years old [24][23]

Action against the Law Society and Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre[edit]

In July 2012, Christian Concern announced its intention to sue the Law Society and Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster for breach of contract following the cancellation of a conference (One Man. One Woman. Making the case for marriage for the good of society) that was due to have taken place on 23 May, prompted by the Government’s proposals to allow same-sex marriage.[25] In a television interview, Andrea Williams said she was told the conference had been cancelled because it did not accord with the Law Society's equality and diversity policy.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ www.christianconcerncrewe.org home page
  2. ^ www.notashamed.org.uk (bottom line)
  3. ^ About Us, Christian Concern. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  4. ^ Christian Concern Press release dated 16 July 2009. Retrieved on 15 February 2012.
  5. ^ Jenkins, P. (2007),God's continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's religious crisis, Oxford University Press, (p.278).
  6. ^ Jennifer Gold (21 February 2007). "Lord Carey Makes Prayer Plea as General Synod Prepares for Gay Debate". Christian Today Australia. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  7. ^ a b "The Christians' Advocate: Interview with Andrea Minichiello Williams of CCFON". Evangelicals Now. April 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Christian Concern for our Nation at the Wayback Machine (archived October 4, 2006)
  9. ^ Can a charity have a political purpose? Charity Commission. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  10. ^ CCFON Ltd entry at companiesintheuk.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  11. ^ Christian Concern website, change of name
  12. ^ Christian Legal Centre. Retrieved 15 February 2012
  13. ^ "...in the last few decades the nation has largely turned her back on Jesus and embraced alternative ideas such as secular liberal humanism, moral relativism and sexual licence. The fruit of this is rotten, and can be seen in widespread family breakdown, immorality and social disintegration....We want to be a strong Christian voice in the public sphere, arguing passionately for the truth of the Gospel and defending the historic freedoms that we have enjoyed in this nation for so long.We believe that by doing so, society as a whole will benefit. We seek to highlight injustice, change public opinion on issues of key importance and affect policy at the highest levels.We engage on a broad large range of issues, including abortion,adoption and fostering, bioethics, marriage, education, employment, end of life, equality, family, free speech, Islamism, religious freedom, the sex trade, social issues and issues relating to sexual orientation." Excerpt of mission statement taken from the Christian Concern website, About Christian Concern, Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  14. ^ Religious Hatred Bill victory, Christian Concern, 31 January 2006
  15. ^ Church groups to march against sexuality law, 9 January 2007, The Guardian
  16. ^ Gay rights laws draw religious protest, 9 January 2007, The Times
  17. ^ Scientists in hybrid embryos plea, 15 January 2008, BBC News
  18. ^ 'Chastity ring' girl loses case, 16 July 2007, BBC News
  19. ^ Ruth Gledhill, Gay row foster parents win right not to 'promote' homosexuality, 1 November 2007, The Times
  20. ^ Christian Concern website, Campaigns
  21. ^ Christians launch defence of faith 'under attack, BBC News, 1 December 2010
  22. ^ The Right Hand of God, Sunny Hundal, New Statesman, 24 April 2010.
  23. ^ a b David Modell (19 May 2008). "Dispatches: Making a giant leap of faith". The Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  24. ^ a b David Modell (17 May 2008). "Christian fundamentalists fighting spiritual battle in Parliament". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  25. ^ Press Release: Law Society and QEII2 Centre to be taken to Court for cancelling Christian conference on 'same-sex marriage', christianconcern.com
  26. ^ Interview with Andrea Williams and Neil Sexton, Sky News, 5 February 2013 (YouTube)

External links[edit]