Cameron’s extremism orders ‘could criminalise traditional Christian teaching’
New measures to curb hate preachers could be a ‘disaster area’ for mainstream religions, says head of top Anglican theological college
Traditional Christian teaching could effectively be “criminalised” in some settings under David Cameron’s plans for new anti-extremist banning orders, a top Anglican theologian and former Parliamentary draftsman has war
The Rev Dr Mike Ovey, a former lawyer and now principal of Oak Hill Theological College in London, a training school for Church of England clergy, said proposals for new “Extremism Disruption Orders” could be a “disaster area” for people from all the mainstream religions and none.
Mr Cameron and Theresa May have signalled that the new orders, planned as part of the Government’s Counter-Extremism Bill, would not curb the activities of radical Islamist clerics but the promotion of other views deemed to go against “British values” even if it is non-violent and legal.
Ministers have defined British values in the past as including broad notions like democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.
In a speech last month Mr Cameron said that for too long Britain had been a “passively tolerant society” in which people were told “as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone”.
Dr Ovey warned that unless the criteria are tightly defined, the orders could be used against almost anyone and would have “chilling effect” on preachers and even call into question the curriculum of colleges such as his.