Christianity in Public Life
John Bercow takes the opportunity of a debate on Christianity in Public Life to commend the humanitarian and advocacy work of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
John Bercow (Buckingham) (Con): Before the hon. Gentleman moves on to his second, and probably unrelated, point, will he take this opportunity to pay tribute to the quite outstanding international humanitarian and advocacy work undertaken by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, with which he and I are both personally very familiar? If he is inclined to do so, will he also pay tribute to that beacon of hope in an often difficult world, the organisation’s south Asia advocacy officer, Ben Rogers, who is a quite remarkable human being?
Mr. Drew: I will. Even though we do not agree politically, we both respect Ben and all he does, and I thank my hon. Friend—in this respect—for highlighting what that wonderful organisation does in all parts of the world. We must recognise that aspect, too, because we are talking about Christianity in public life not just in this country, but in the wider sphere.
John Bercow: Like others, my hon. Friend is making an extremely thoughtful and interesting speech. I can well understand and empathise with the concern that he and my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bedfordshire have expressed about the obstacles that are sometimes put in the way of faith-based groups that seek not to proselytise but to deliver results. However, does he accept that whatever his views about gay sexual practice, for example, it is a bit much for people to say, “As Christians, we are being discriminated by comparison with others”? All that people such as me and the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon would say is that Christian faith cannot trump an Act of Parliament dealing with human rights, which are universal.
Mr. Streeter: If my hon. Friend visits Christian projects in his constituency, as I am sure he does—indeed, I can take him to a few in south-west Devon if he would like to come with me one weekend—he will see that there has been movement on that issue in most Christian work over the past few years. Most Christian charities are open to all comers and want to serve everybody, irrespective of their background or the condition in which they find themselves. There has been a maturing in the Christian Church and the charitable movement in recent times, so my hon. Friend may be a little out of date.