A letter has been sent by eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives to Rashad Hussain, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, expressing their concerns about the U.K.’s treatment of Christians and their beliefs and the potential impact this may have on fundamental freedoms.
The representatives believe that the U.K. is on an “unsettling path” of treating Christians unfairly.
“The U.K. is now on an unsettling path that could potentially result in existential threats to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and even freedom of thought,” states the letter, led by Rep. Chip Roy.
The lawmakers point out that at least five U.K. municipalities have passed “Public Spaces Protection Orders,” which permit the prosecution of Christians and other people of faiths for expressing their pro-life and religious views.
These orders create “buffer zones” around abortion clinics, roughly the size of a football stadium, in which pro-life individuals are prohibited from offering help, praying or expressing any perceived disapproval of abortion.
“Even more disturbing, Parliament is considering legislation that would implement these antireligious-freedom censorship zones around abortion facilities across all of England and Wales, and recently rejected amendments to this legislation that would have clarified that silent prayer and consensual conversations cannot be construed as crimes,” states the letter.
“Arresting individuals for silent prayer is a gross, aggressive, and needlessly escalatory assault on one’s fundamental freedoms.”
This issue gained attention after a Catholic priest, Fr. Sean Gough, was charged for praying silently outside a closed medical clinic, noted the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern. The group listed similar charges brought against several other Christians, including Isabel Vaughan-Spruce and Adam Smith-Connor.