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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

British Government to crack down on meetings of intellectuals?

Poland 006

Christian Concern alerts us to a worrying development in the push to enforce the teaching of "British Values" in the wake of the "Trojan Horse" scandal of Muslim infiltration of state schools. An Open Consultation has been published on draft guidance to be issued under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, for "specified authorities to have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism." This is itself a dangerous Trojan Horse.

Christian concern particularly highlights the effect that this guidance would have on Christian Unions in universities and Colleges (See: Protect gospel freedom in universities and colleges)

We share the concern of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in this matter because the guidance would also effect Catholic Societies at Universities and Colleges. Essentially, such societies would need to provide, at least two weeks in advance, details of speakers and events that they are organising, including an outline of the topics to be discussed and sight of any presentations, footage to be broadcast etc.

This would impose an impossible burden on student societies. It is difficult enough to organise speakers, arrange travel expenses, print a programme and advertise the event around a university. To have to go through a vetting process would kill off initiatives that are part and parcel of a healthy university life. (I well remember the heady days of being President of the Newman Society in Oxford in Hilary Term of 1979, arranging a controversial term card of speakers to present traditional Catholic teaching, and getting the word out.)

A couple of years ago I visited Poland and met with some fine lay people who had taken an active part in opposing the Communist regime. As well as standing guard outside the residence of Blessed Jerzy Popielusko, and taking part in Solidarity demonstrations, they organised clandestine and illegal meetings of intellectuals which were the powerhouse of the struggle for freedom.

Are we soon to be reduced to such measures in England? Let us presume so, and begin to organise house groups, family gatherings and meetings of intellectuals before draconian laws are introduced under the guise of preventing terrorism, measures that will in fact prevent freedom of expression and enforce secularism, anti-life and anti-family policies in the public square.

Saint John Paul. Pray for us.

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