Extremism Commission must focus on real threats to our wellbeing

Affinity, a fellowship of Churches, evangelical Agencies and Christians, is backing the call by the Evangelical Alliance for the government to approach the topic of defining non-violent extremism with great caution and to ensure that the widest possible range of groups, including those of faith, are involved in any future extremism commission that may be established.

Led by the Evangelical Alliance, the findings released this morning (Sunday 16th July) from a poll show that more than half of the public (54%) think using the word ‘extreme’ is not helpful when discussing political or social opinions. It also demonstrates a wide variety of opinions on what could be described as extreme beliefs.

The fact that political ideas such as remaining in or leaving the EU are considered extreme by many shows what a minefield this is. Talk of extremism feeds division in our society.

Graham Nicholls says

"We all agree that it is important that the government tackles terrorism and incitement to violence, but we are afraid that the Commission for Countering Extremism will result in restrictions to free speech.

Rather than becoming the ‘thought police’, the government should intensify its efforts in seeking to expose and counter ideologies that motivate others to violence.

They should not be causing further division by labelling as extreme ideas that a proportion of society may not agree with or find offensive.

There is another message coming out of this poll. It clearly shows that we are morally confused as a nation. The secular society ship has no moral compass. Right and wrong are relative and defined by the individual. There is no longer any consensus. In our efforts to remove God from the public square we have left a vacuum which is being filled by a potent mix of competing ideas, none of which have any true authority. The way to a society of security and true tolerance is one that lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ as he defines good and bad and teaches us how to love."

You can read the EA Statement here


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