Christian Concern

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Christian Concern new logo.png
Formation2004 (as part of LCF)
TypeChristian evangelical lobby group
Headquarters70 Wimpole Street, London, United Kingdom
CEO
Andrea Minichiello Williams
Websitechristianconcern.com

Christian Concern is the trading name of CCFON Ltd,[1][third-party source needed] a British Christian evangelical organisation in the United Kingdom which seeks to introduce a more conservative Christian voice into law, the media and Government.[2][3]

History[edit]

The organisation was co-founded[4] by barrister and evangelical activist Andrea Minichiello Williams.[5][6] Before 2008 it was a network run from The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship's Public Policy Unit, which was then headed by Williams.[7] An internet domain was registered to publicise this work, using the name Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON)[8] 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."[9]

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[8] (under UK law, a charity cannot have political activity as any of its charitable purposes[10]) and CCFON Ltd was incorporated as an independent body on 24 June 2008.[11]

In October 2010, CCFON Ltd shortened its operating name to Christian Concern.[12]

Williams is currently CEO of Christian Concern and is also the founder and operating director of Christian Legal Centre, a sister organisation that describes itself as serving to "defend Christians in the public sphere and to protect the freedom of Christians to live their lives in accordance with their Christian beliefs."[13]

Sam Solomon is a consultant for Christian Concern, advising on Islamic Affairs.[14] Solomon wrote A Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding[15] for UKIP MEP Gerard Batten, who wrote the forward to the charter. A link to the charter has featured on the website since at least 2009.[16]

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.[17]

They are opposed to liberalising trends in the Church of England (CofE). In 2014, the CofE responded in support of civil partnerships to a government survey and Christian Concern's Andrea Williams opposed the Church's decision.[18] In 2018, Christian Concern criticised the Anglican Church for supporting civil partnerships; arguing against civil unions, Christian Concern said "Legal recognition of same-sex relationships should not have been given in the first place and should not be allowed for priests in any case. The government should not listen to the alarmed voice of the CofE in this case."[19] When it was revealed that the CofE appointed Nicholas Chamberlain as the Bishop of Grantham knowing that he was in a same-sex relationship, Christian Concern stated that it opposed the appointment.[20] Christian Concern also opposed the CofE's decision to affirm transgender members.[21]

Notable campaigns[edit]

In 2005 and early 2006, the group campaigned alongside other Christian bodies to stop the Religious Hatred Bill. The bill was passed, with amendments in the House of Lords.[22]

In 2006 and 2007 they opposed segments of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, organising a rally outside Parliament[23] and a petition which gained over 10,000 signatures, on the grounds that they claimed the new law would "discriminate heavily" against Christians.[24][better source needed] From autumn 2007, they campaigned against some clauses in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, organising a demonstration outside Parliament in January 2008.[25] 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.[26]

Also in 2007, they supported foster parents who had refused to sign a new contract drawn up to implement the Sexual Orientation Regulations.[27]

'Not Ashamed' was 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 as claimed.[28]

2008 Channel 4 documentary[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.[29] 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."[30][31] 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.[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Christian Concern". Christian Concern.
  2. ^ About Us, Christian Concern. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  3. ^ Christian parent threatens legal action over school's 'gay pride parade' the Guardian. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018
  4. ^ "Christian Concern - People". Christian Concern. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2016. Andrea Minichiello Williams - Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
  5. ^ Christian Concern Press release dated 16 July 2009. Retrieved on 15 February 2012.
  6. ^ Jenkins, P. (2007),God's continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's religious crisis, Oxford University Press, (p.278).
  7. ^ Jennifer Gold (20 February 2007). "Lord Carey Makes Prayer Plea as General Synod Prepares for Gay Debate". Christian Today. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b "The Christians' Advocate: Interview with Andrea Minichiello Williams of CCFON". Evangelicals Now. April 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Christian Concern for our Nation". Archived from the original on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  10. ^ Can a charity have a political purpose? Charity Commission. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  11. ^ CCFON Ltd entry at companiesintheuk.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Christian Concern - Our New Name and Website". us2.campaign-archive.com.
  13. ^ Christian Legal Centre. Retrieved 15 February 2012
  14. ^ "Christian Concern - People". Christian Concern. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2016. Sam Solomon - Islamic Affairs Consultant
  15. ^ Sam Solomon (4 February 2014). "Proposed code of conduct for British Muslims commissioned by Ukip MEP Gerard Batten". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Imam blames Christian Leaders for the Persecutions of Christians". Christian Concern. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2016. Can he not ask prominent Muslim leaders to sign up to basic freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or the Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding?
  17. ^ "...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.
  18. ^ "Church of England in formal support for civil partnerships". Christian Concern. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  19. ^ "CofE Campaigns to retain civil partnerships". Christian Concern. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  20. ^ "CofE bishop reveals he is in a homosexual relationship". Christian Concern. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  21. ^ "The transgender issue is a first-order gospel issue". Christian Concern. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  22. ^ Religious Hatred Bill victory, Christian Concern, 31 January 2006
  23. ^ Association, Press (9 January 2007). "Church groups to march against sexuality law". the Guardian.
  24. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times".
  25. ^ "Scientists in hybrid embryos plea". 24 April 2018 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  26. ^ "'Chastity ring' girl loses case". 16 July 2007 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  27. ^ Ruth Gledhill, Gay row foster parents win right not to 'promote' homosexuality, 1 November 2007, The Times
  28. ^ Christians launch defence of faith 'under attack, BBC News, 1 December 2010
  29. ^ The Right Hand of God, Sunny Hundal, New Statesman, 24 April 2010.
  30. ^ a b David Modell (19 May 2008). "Dispatches: Making a giant leap of faith". The Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  31. ^ a b David Modell (17 May 2008). "Christian fundamentalists fighting spiritual battle in Parliament". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2012.

External links[edit]