6th March 2008 12.00 hrs.
The Government forced abolition of the blasphemy laws through the House of Lords last night by whipping the Labour vote. Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Lord Davies of Coity and Lord Kirkhill all rebelled against their party's whip but it was not enough as the vote went through by 148 votes to 87.
There were tremendous speeches by Baroness O'Cathain, Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, Lord Davies of Coity, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Lord Kingsland QC, Lord Neill of Bladen, Baroness Park of Monmouth and Lord Selsdon in favour of keeping the blasphemy laws. Lord Elton was in blistering form as well, and the Bishop of Chester also spoke up for righteousness. He was joined by the Bishops of Rochester and Southwell in the 'No' lobby.
Sad to say, the Bishops of Durham and Portsmouth both spoke and voted to allow evil men to insult and vilify their Lord. The Archbishop of York made a Guardian editorial of a speech and then abstained from the vote in a depressing night for the Christian majority in Britain and for Anglicans in particular.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said this morning:
'This is a sad day for the United Kingdom. Parliament has set the honour of Almighty God at nought just to please a few hard-line secularists. There is no doubt that those against abolition won the debate, but the 'Noes' lost the vote in the face of the shameful Labour whip.
'The Earl of Onslow scoffed at the capacity of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring judgment against those responsible for blasphemy, but it is the judgment of God against this United Kingdom as a whole which troubles me. I do not know in what form it will fall, whether in some dramatic way, or whether simply in an increasing culture of crassness, disrespect and inhumanity. But fall it will, and we shall have only ourselves to blame.
'By the grace of God, Christians will continue to protest against blasphemy, as we did so successfully over the tour of Jerry Springer the Opera. Through the relentless witness and evangelism which I helped to organise, the Lord reduced the tour to a financial disaster, and its director, Stewart Lee, has said it will never be shown in this country again.
'That leaves us with Anita Zabludowicz's lewd and blasphemous statue to which, interestingly enough, the Bishop of Durham referred in the debate - and in less than flattering terms. The blasphemy laws would have provided the most appropriate way of dealing with this case, which is an insult against the Lord Jesus Christ. It may be there is another way in which the law can call those responsible for this outrage to account, but it will not be nearly as effective or send as strong a signal about the central place of Christianity in our constitution.
'I believe that one way or another, and by God's grace, there isn't going to be blasphemy in this United Kingdom. It is a pity that it will probably have to be stopped in many cases without recourse to the law, but obviously the Lord is calling Christians to stand up for His holiness in other ways in these God-defying days.'