BTM:- Prevent Strategy Consultation Response 30 January 2015
In Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference September 2014, she said:
“And I want to tell you about another change we intend to make. As part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent has only ever been focused on the hard end of the extremism spectrum. So the Home Office will soon, for the first time, assume responsibility for a new counter-extremism strategy that goes beyond terrorism.
This strategy will be devised and overseen by the Home Office, but its implementation will be the responsibility of the whole of government, the rest of the public sector, and wider civil society. It will aim to undermine and eliminate extremism in all its forms - neo-Nazism and other forms of extremism as well as Islamist extremism - and it will aim to build up society to identify extremism, confront it, challenge it and defeat it. (conservatives.com, 30 September 2014)
In the Terrorism Act 2000 the word ‘Extremism’ cannot be found.
So there is indeed a change in the Prevent Strategy (2011) where the concept of extremism is defined as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.”
And the word ‘Ideology’ is defined as “a set of beliefs and an ‘ideologue’ is a proponent as well as an adherent of an ideology.” (HM Government, Glossary: Prevent Strategy, 2011)
Admittedly, in Theresa May’s speech she was mainly talking about combating Islamic terrorism and extremism, even though, against all obvious signs and Islamic theology itself, she still maintains that Islam is the religion of peace. However her “new counter-extremism strategy that goes beyond terrorism” to combat extremism in any form, which by definition includes “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs” will impact anybody who disseminates their opposition to what the state has declared in law or politicians have decreed are the new British values.
A Christian therefore, by the definitions above, would be an ‘ideologue’ and Christianity would be an ‘ideology’ which is a set of beliefs and doctrines found and contained in the Bible.
The question then naturally arises, would Christians and an organisation like Bible Theology Ministries (BTM) be considered as extremist and even terrorists as we publish and encourage the practice of Judaeo- Christian values which are the origins of the historic British values and the legal and justice system in this country, and which do no harm?
Christian beliefs are based on the Bible, which clearly teaches that:
- Marriage is exclusively between a man (male sex at birth) and a woman (female sex at birth). The state has legalised same-sex marriage and the majority of politicians celebrate that this is now part of the new ‘British values’. Others in the UK, particularly those employed in the public sector, have lost their jobs of suffered financial loss for upholding a traditional view of marriage if they have applied their deeply held beliefs within the context of their working environment or just expressed their view point. So we know from experience that the state is hostile to Christians applying their beliefs when they come in conflict with the state.
- Homosexuality is a sin, an abomination, and that all men and women are obviously born heterosexual. Homosexuality is a lifestyle and behaviour choice not a sexual orientation and should not be a legally protected characteristic. As the government and politicians show huge deference to homosexuals would it be an extremist act to speak against this legislation and if not why not? And if ‘yes’ – why?
In practice, we have seen the courts always apply the principle that the protected characteristic of ‘sexual orientation’ trumps the freedom to manifest Christian ‘religion or belief’ in public. Recently, Geraint Davies MP attempted to introduce a bill to make it illegal for anyone to counsel a person that they can stop their homosexual behaviour, such is the hatred in parliament for truth and the desire to promote sin and behaviour harmful to all of society.
- There is only one true religion and that is Christianity. All other religions are false. When we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation from sin the message is that there is only one way to peace with God. Christianity is by definition intolerant of other religions, but we will not and cannot force someone to become a Christian as it is God who has chosen those who He will save not us. Our doctrines also teach us to live peaceably with all men as far as we are able and where there is no conflict with our beliefs to obey the powers of authority that be.
- There are many other instances where Christians are in vocal opposition to the state and legal laws e.g. abortion, adoption of children by homosexuals, embryo experimentation, children being taught that homosexuality and same sex marriage is normal in schools, etc.
As Christians express their “vocal or active opposition to (the new) fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs” would this then mean that these views would be considered to be extremist and the precursor to acts of terrorism by opposing the values of the state? The implications of the Prevent strategy answer, yes.
The proposals in the Prevent Strategy to engage local authorities and educational establishments, etc. with the duty in ‘policing’ this new definition of extremism is the implementation of a Nazi or Soviet style police state by delegation and under the cloak of a health and safety style extremist risk assessment. The planned ‘Support Programme’ for people or children who are at risk is nothing short of a communist re-education programme. Penalties and punishment will follow for non-compliance. Therefore, to ‘prevent’ ideologies such as neo-Nazism, the government plans to prevent it BY neo-Nazism!
The new scope of the Prevent strategy is using the very real and tangible threat of Muslims, who follow the true teachings of Islam where everyone must submit to its doctrines and laws if they desire peace, to implement control orders across the UK and monitor and silence anyone who opposes the new doctrine of British values as defined by the state.
By Prevent’s own definitions it is impossible to protect freedom of speech and thought, because if an individual’s ideas are, without qualification, against the new British values or law, they must be censored. Freedom of religion and academic freedom cannot therefore co-exist unless they are subservient to this unqualified Prevent principle. We have seen the same principle with homosexual related legislation, which trumps all other rights and freedom of speech particularly preaching in a public space.
The Prevent guiding principle 3.10 is contradictory as terrorism is rooted in extremism which is against British values and the laws which are defined by the state. Therefore according to Prevent if I oppose the state in vocal or active opposition I am an extremist and must be eliminated.
“3.10 We remain absolutely committed to protecting freedom of speech in this country. But preventing terrorism will mean challenging extremist (and non-violent) ideas that are also part of a terrorist ideology. Prevent will also mean intervening to stop people moving from extremist groups or from extremism into terrorist-related activity.” (Prevent Strategy, 2011)
In effect the government proposes that itself is the sole judge and jury and the sole definer of values, even though a large percentage of the population reject some of them peacefully and with genuine reasons.
With the implementation of the new Prevent strategy, I envisage local authorities having to diligently execute their duty to undertake a risk assessment on every single church, house-fellowship, out-of school Christian group for children and Christian faith school if they are known to teach ‘extremist’ true Christian values that are contrary to new British values.
This is not a farfetched concept as in the USA it is reported that there have been numerous incidents where US army instructors have stated that evangelical Christians and others who oppose government policy are terrorists (Fox News 23 October 2013) This is against all logic and observation.
The critical issue we currently have in the UK with terrorists and extremists is with those who uphold the real doctrines of Islam as found in the Koran and want to follow the historical traditions and practices of the prophet Mohammed. The government and its ministers must stop positioning Islam as a religion of peace and trying to placate and hoodwink the British people to the truth. The foundation of Islam is one of submission and its doctrine and values are certainly not compatible with traditional British values. See 109 verses in the Koran that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule (The Religon of Peace, accessed 30 January 2015) and see Paul Weston’s video.
BTM have published our own response and recommendations to the recent Islamic terrorism attack here. You will see that Christians advocate living peaceably with those who practice Islam if they renounce their Islamic doctrines of violence, supremacy of Sharia law, and submission by all infidels. Therefore those who genuinely practice Judaeo-Christian values should be exempt from the scope of Prevent’s strategy and unqualified definition of extremism.
In conclusion, I see the government’s Prevent strategy as a way of creating a police state in the UK by delegating a monitoring or surveillance duty to local organisation of the state or enterprise and consequently resulting in a vital loss of freedom and liberty across the UK. This will provide the legal mandate to start a systematic surveillance and persecution by the state on Bible believing Christians and their children who want to manifest their religion in their daily life, preach the gospel and rebuke evil. The new Prevent strategy is, in stark reality, the resurrection of Soviet-style Marxism and Nazi ideals and practices.
Dr James B Waddell
© 30 January 2015