There has been practically nothing in the mainstream media recently about the decision of the Charity Commission to remove UK Charitable Status from the Exclusive Brethren’s Preston Down Trust.
When one considers that the reason given, according to “The Christian Institute” at http://www.christian.org.uk/news/brethren-denied-charity-status-over-communion/ is that Holy Communion services are for members only. The Commission’s head of legal services has stated in a letter: “This decision makes it clear that there was no presumption that religion generally, or at any more specific level, is for the public benefit, even in the case of Christianity or the Church of England.” Perhaps the Charity Commission can make a case for the benefit to the public of having a registered charity like “Stonewall Equality Limited” for those who are not lesbian, gay or bisexual. Perhaps they would like to tell us of the benefits to unborn children that the registered charity Marie Stopes International provides.
I was brought up in the Church of Scotland where it was not possible to enter the church for a communion service unless one handed over one’s communion token to the elders who policed attendance at such a service. I know that the Church of Scotland has become much more liberal and much less biblical since those days in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but that is not all that long ago.
We need to look at this decision in the light of the failure of the Charity Commission to clamp down on charities which break the rules explicitly. Such charities are frequently sponsored by or support prominent Labour Party politicians, and in one case were found to have been giving support to a politician in his running for office in his party. Indeed the Smith Institute, which reportedly had close links with Gordon Brown, was only investigated by the Charity Commission, if the Wikipedia reference is correct, following a complaint from the “right-wing media”.
We also need to look at this decision in the light of the counter-Christian attitude of the entire apparatus of the State in the UK, where you can do what you like as a Christian so long as you are considered unlikely to offend any other group or believer in another faith.
I do object to the state being able to tell me that I must allow anyone of any group that I do not like to have access to the goods or services I provide on the same terms as anyone else. I do not run a bed and breakfast business, nor am I a member of the clergy of any denomination. I do drive from place to place for my work.
In this country we have such cases as people being sued successfully for breaching the anti-discrimination laws for refusing to give a room with a double bed to a homosexual couple on grounds according with their Christian faith that the couple were not married and such rooms were reserved for only married couples, or in another case disciplined for carrying a palm cross in their works van.
It looks like the boom is starting to fall on Christians in the UK. Let us hope we, like Bunyan’s Pilgrim, prove worthy of the Name which we bear.