not ashamed … but quite confused

I’ve been asked to sign up for the Not Ashamed an initiative of Christian Concern for our Nation (CCFON).

At first sight the campaign looks good and states:
‘NOT ASHAMED’ is an opportunity for Christians across the UK to stand together and to express our confidence that Jesus Christ is good news not just for individuals or for the church but for our nation as a whole. He is the only true hope for our society.’
I can and do agree with that. That should not be a surprise to you … after all I am a priest in the Church of England. If I did not believe Jesus Christ was good news for all and the only true hope then I should be looking for another job!

But as I look at the campaign I am a little concerned. Christians are being called to show they are not ashamed by wearing some symbol on a wristband, a t-shirt, baseball cap or by wearing a badge. While that is not bad in itself, (that common outlook can encourage people) I am concerned at the lack of practical good news action that is suggested here. Christians are being called upon to ‘explain to friends, neighbours, colleagues, family and others why Jesus Christ is such good news for individuals and for our society.’ But Surely it would be far more fitting with gospel values if we spoke and explained less and acted practically a lot more by actually being good news rather than just talking about it. Explaining why Jesus is good news is one thing, but if we can’t back that explanation with practical action that makes a difference then I would argue that those words do not really have any value.

Sadly as I look further intio the campaign I am saddened by the second claim which I can’t agree with (and so ultimately cannot sign up to this campaign … and I guess that means some will think I am ashamed of my faith, but nothing could be further from the truth!)

The second claim, or more accurately a demand, cannot actually be found on the website. To find this you have to download the pdf leaflet which adds:
WE CALL on government, employers and other leaders in our country to protect the freedom of Christians to participate in public life without compromising biblical teaching and to promote in our society the values that are revealed through Jesus Christ and that have so shaped our nation, for the good of all.’    
I don’t understand the reasoning for this call. As I have said before here on SHP I do not believe Christianity is marginalised in our nation. I’m actually quite sickened by the claim and thought. I don’t understand what Biblical teaching is being undermined, apart from our clear commands to help the poor and marginalised, but I suspect that is not the Biblical teaching this campaign is talking about. Sadly my fear is that people will see this as a demand from all the church serving our own interests when in fact it is only from a particular section of the church.
Most of all, I want to know where this teaching and idea comes from.
Where in the gospels does Jesus say campaign for your own rights?
Where in the bible does it say we should campaign to make things better for ourselves?
Is this campaign going to speak out for the poor, the marginalised and those who will be suffering more after benefits cuts as time progresses …. or is it only going to speak out for those that can’t wear their chosen jewellery even though their employers have always had a no jewellery rule?
I’m very open to being shown I am wrong … at the moment I am just very concerned and confused!

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