Blackadder star teams up with Evangelicals to oppose religious hatred bill
Conservative Christian groups have found an unusual ally in the form of Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson, who is to lead a coalition of comedians, writers, religious groups and academics in opposition to the new Government Bill designed to control extremists who incite religious hatred.
The group, which also includes MPs and representatives of the National Secular Society, is launching a campaign against elements of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill.
Conservative groups including the Barnabas Fund, the Evangelical Alliance, and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, have signalled their opposition to the new bill which is due for its second reading this week, and will create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred to protect faith groups ñ particularly Muslims ñ from hate attacks.
The Bishop of Manchester has however already pledged the backing of the bench of bishops in the House of Lords to the Government's proposals.