By Rich Peterson
“I’ve just been dismissed by a Christian college for tweets on homosexuality – if I wasn’t safe, no one is.”
These are words written by Aaron Edwards, a former lecturer of theology at Cliff College, an evangelical Bible college in the UK. Aaron Edwards was removed from his position for bringing “disrepute” to the college. The offense was that he expressed the Biblical position on homosexuality over a public forum. Specifically, Twitter. The college demanded he remove the tweet. Edwards’ refusal led to a two week suspension followed by termination.
Mr. Edward’s suspension was followed by a hearing where, reportedly, should he be asked by same sex attracted students for prayer how he might respond. Various news articles report Mr. Edwards was threatened with a referral to Prevent, the deradicalization component of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy. Read here, here, here, and here.
Cliff College principal denies any threat. Perhaps it was a promise?
Whether or not Prevent was mentioned to Dr. Edwards is unclear but it certainly is not a stretch to accept that would have happened.
Aaron Edwards’ experience brings to memory thoughts of the Alliance of Civilizations and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of which I had written about a few years back. The Alliance, becoming the “Mother Tongue” of the UN, would also become the “global conscience” in the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The UK Home Office eagerly partnered with the Alliance to harmonize its counter-terrorism efforts with the UN Global Strategy.
The Alliance of Civilizations uses religion to combat religion. Its definition of extremism, the root cause of terrorism, is especially hostile towards Christianity: one cannot be an adherent of an “exclusive truth” claim.
The threat to refer Dr. Edwards to Prevent (or not), is consistent with the counter-terrorism strategy’s goal to combat religious fundamentalism. Back in 2007 as I read the through the Alliance of Civilizations/Council of Europe counter terrorism materials, I recall thinking they intend to use beliefs about homosexuality as a means to categorize people as either tolerant or extremists.
“No one may invoke cultural diversity to infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law…” Ponder that.
UNESCO policy is to include sexual orientation as part of cultural diversity. For Aaron Edwards to speak openly of homosexuality as sin would be viewed as an infringement of another’s rights.
What happened to Aaron Edwards speaks volumes. His words of warning are ominous:
“Whilst my situation remains difficult for me and my family, it is also a microcosm of the greater difficulties awaiting other Christians in the post-Christian West. The growing expectation is that we should keep quiet about our beliefs, especially if they may offend others.”
“Western progressive ideals of inclusivity no longer include many Christian beliefs. Indeed, the vociferous responses to my tweet demonstrate the problem my tweet was highlighting. There are some Christian beliefs that Christians are no longer allowed to express, not even to other Christians.”