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Possibly the most outrageous over-extension of the law this year is seen in the rise of so-called ‘buffer zones’. We call them censorship zones because that’s a more accurate description of what they do. For example, the zone in Bournemouth criminalises people for reciting scripture in the street, praying silently or even crossing themselves. It also criminalises offering charitable help to women who would like an alternative option to abortion, as well as banning the basic democratic freedom of ‘expressing disapproval’ in any subjective sense. We are committed, at the national and local level, to ensuring that fundamental freedoms are respected by amending or overturning existing or proposed censorship zones.
Free Speech on campus
If censorship on the streets is a concern, then all the more so on university campuses, where the leaders and lawmakers of tomorrow are formed. Following work defending the right of several university societies to affiliate and host events, we launched a campaign for what has since become the Higher Education Freedom of Speech Bill. We are proud of this big step forward to protect the expression of university students, but the work to resolve the problems with campus censorship continues.
Conscience in the workplace
Once our young people have graduated and entered the workplace, freedom of conscience becomes paramount. Concerningly, we continue to see regulators and other bodies suspend and discipline medical professionals for refusing to engage in activities that they deem to be wrong or harmful to their patients. We continue to support individual medics who have reasonable objections, and will continue to work so that laws and regulations reflect that fundamental freedom.
Parental rights and sexual education
At the same time, we see proposals in parliament and beyond that threaten the right of parents to educate their children free from unreasonable interference. We have been working to ensure that the Schools Bill doesn’t become the gateway for the government to control the way that you educate your children at home. And we have worked closely with allies to ensure that parents concerned about the sexuality formation their children receive in school respects their priorities and concerns.
At ADF UK our response to the growing pressures on our God-given freedoms isn’t just defensive. We work to achieve positive generational change through strategic work that enables big victories. As well as achieving victories through the courts, we also plan to better tackle the root causes of bad laws and policy and to further raise up a new generation of informed, articulate leaders. So in the calendar year ahead, will you consider helping us build towards generational victories?
- We intend to campaign successfully to restore fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of speech and prayer to our public spaces through new or amended laws.
We believe there are legally and politically achievable changes in the law that could solve many of the issues that prevent the sharing of faith in the streets or the offer of charitable help to those who need it. This generational victory will require intensive work by the whole team, as well as bringing together other organisations and partners to achieve. We know that with hard work and your support, this initiative could enable faith to be shared, and lives to be transformed and even saved.
- We intend to launch the first Arete Academy in the UK in 2024!
The Arete Academy is a life-changing training event for future young leaders that is proven to have a transformative effect in changing law and culture. We know that small numbers of well-trained and committed people can have a deep impact in Westminster and beyond. If we can raise enough funds this year it will enable us to plan for a full cohort of delegates to begin in 2024.