By requiring people to work without pay, the government's workfare schemes are pushing more and more people into poverty and unemployment, says Ekklesia associate Symon Hill. Christian organisations need to campaign against workfare, not participate in it, he argues.
Ten years ago today, he joined millions of other people around the world in marching against the planned invasion of Iraq. This week, Symon Hill was effectively banned from his local branch of Costcutter for trying to buy newspapers. It’s been a strange decade, he writes.
The European Court of Human Rights has rightly declared that Christians who object to same-sex relationships do not have the right to use their jobs to practise discrimination. A critic of the ruling has claimed that they should have the same rights as conscientious objectors in wartime. This attempted parallel is inaccurate and misguided.
The Church of England has announced that people in same-sex relationships can become bishops if they do not have sex. It is tempting to see this as a sign of progress, but for many gay and bisexual people it will be the latest message telling them that they are not welcome as equals in the Christian Church.
The government's proposals for same-sex marriage have revealed them to be clueless about religion, contemptuous of civil rights and bizarrely ignorant about the history, culture and politics of Wales. There is a serious possibility of these proposals failing to pass through Parliament. We must step up the campaign for civil rights, not assume they have been won.
As news came through of the Church of England's rejection of women bishops, Symon Hill was reminded of a small clique of sexist Christians who he knew at university. Supporters of equality have tried to reach accommodation with opponents, but their efforts have been aggressively rejected. We must stop appeasing prejudice and stand up for equality, he says.
Every time that I think I can no longer be surprised by the behaviour of church institutions, I am proved wrong. Like many others, I was shocked to learn that a conference for arms dealers will take place in Church House. Thankfully, many Christians are still campaigning against the arms trade, militarism and cuts.
A year after the beginning of Occupy London Stock Exchange, Symon Hill gives a personal reflection on the response from St Paul's Cathedral. Symon was dragged from the cathedral steps as he prayed during the eviction of the camp. He marked the anniversary by joining an act of witness and protest at St Paul's by Christianity Uncut.
Four Christians have gone to the European Court of Human Rights to argue that Christians as a group are being discriminated against in the UK, notes Symon Hill. But it is one thing to argue for free expression, quite another to argue for the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. Meanwhile, other Christians have witnessed to their faith by preparing to go to prison for a protest aganist nuclear weapons - but that case has received far less attention.
The 'Keep Marriage Special' campaign has attracted publicity with claims that the legalisation of same-sex marriage could lead to incest and illegal immigration. A look at the groups and individuals behind the campaign suggests that gay and bisexual people are not the only targets of their hostility, suggests Symon Hill.