Christian Concern’s policy proposals

15 November 2019

Our Election Policy Proposals are ten commitments that an incoming government could make to better protect freedom, life and family, for the good of all.

1. Promote free speech as fundamental to a free society

If we are not free to say what we think then we are not living in a free society. The pressing need is to reject a proposed definition of Islamophobia which would restrict the freedom to criticise the religion of Islam. The government should promote the importance of free speech in all areas of society including in universities where there have been many no-platforming incidents.

2. Abolish the concept of non-crime ‘hate incidents’

The government has refused to say that evangelism would not constitute hate speech. A ‘hate incident’ is defined as any non-crime perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate. This is an entirely subjective definition which is wide open to abuse and to wasting police time on non-crime incidents. Just because someone says an incident is hateful means it is. The government should abolish the whole idea of ‘hate incidents’ and tell the police to concentrate on real crimes.

3. Introduce age-verification for online pornography

The government had plans to introduce this, but they were later dropped citing privacy concerns. Too many children are accessing pornography online, many of them accidentally. 83% of parents agree that age-verification controls should be in place for online pornography. Whilst there may be no totally failsafe method, a basic safeguard would still prevent many children from viewing pornography.

4. Protect the rights of parents to withdraw their children from relationships and sex education

From September 2020 there will be no right of withdrawal from relationships education in primary schools, and no absolute right of withdrawal from sex education in secondary schools. The right of withdrawal ensures that schools take parents’ concerns seriously and enables parents to protect their children. The government should recognise the fundamental right of parents to choose how and when their children are taught about sexual matters.

5. Ensure that government policies and services are based on biological sex rather than gender

Allowing people to identify in a different gender to their biological sex is causing problems in society and undermining the rights and safety of women. People should not be allowed to self-identify in an acquired gender, and government services such as prisons and medical and social care should be clearly based on biological sex in order to protect women and safeguard their rights. People should also be allowed to refer to people by their biological sex pronouns if in conscience they believe that is correct.

6. Stop UK foreign aid to countries that do not have religious freedom

The UK government has given £2.6bn of foreign aid to Pakistan over the last decade, or an average of £383,000 per day. Meanwhile, Pakistan has multiple cases of Christians suffering for their faith, and discriminatory practices against minority faiths. Aid to countries like Pakistan should be made conditional on its treatment of religious minorities and guaranteeing of religious freedom to change religion.

7. Promote marriage and the family in the tax system and in education

The latest estimate for the cost of family failure is £51bn per year, up from £37bn ten years ago. Family failure is the root of many of our social issues and of much poverty. The government should incentivise stable families in the tax system and promote the institution of the family in education policy.

8. Introduce legislation to require the registration of all religious marriages

The Council of Europe called on the UK to implement compulsory registration of religious marriages earlier this year in order to protect women’s rights. In particular, Muslim women who are married under sharia law, but not in UK law, do not have legal protections should their husband divorce them, abandon them or die.

9. Introduce an Abortion (Gender and Disability) Bill to prohibit abortion on the grounds of gender and to equalise the upper time limit for abortions of disabled and non-disabled babies

The law as it stands allows abortion for even the most minor of disabilities right up to birth. It has also been shown that gender-selective abortions are taking place in the UK. The law should make clear that gender-selective abortion is illegal and ban abortion for disability up to term.

10. Safeguard the rights of those experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction to access help, advice and counsel

The government promised to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ last year. This would amount to a ‘must stay gay’ law. It could well result in banning some prayer and Biblical preaching. The government should protect the freedoms of people to help and be helped by others.

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