The Magna Carta Unravelled
The Case for Christian Freedoms Today
Magna Carta Unravelled. The Case for Christian Freedoms Today
Baroness Cox, and others
Wilberforce Publications, London
Reviewed by Alec Gilmore
If you are looking for a book on the facts and technicalities of Magna Carta in an attempt to understand how the Great Charter relates to today’s problems, this book is not for you. ‘Unravelled’ is slightly misleading.
The subtitle is more accurate. It is a collection of Papers delivered at a Conference to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta on Freedom Today (as presented in Westminster and popularised in the media) and how eight individuals (who share common values) would like to see them handled, mainly in defence of Christianity which they see as currently under fire in the interests of political correctness, a desire not to offend other faiths (mainly Islam), and in an ever-watchful battle against constantly encroaching secularism (though I think they really mean secularisation).
Though useful and helpful on the Background to Magna Carta (Nazir-Ali), with an Historical Perspective on the Case for Christian Freedoms (Philip Quenby), the Centrality of Religious Freedom (Roger Trigg), Sharia Law (Baroness Cox) and Freedom and the State (John Scriven), the give-away comes with Robert Harris (Religious Belief and Conscience) and Paul Diamond (The Clash of Moralities).
Don’t imagine this book is in any way an objective approach. Harris sets himself to examine how ‘restrictions on the manifestations of Christian beliefs and conscience are incompatible with human rights’ and Diamond has us in the territory of head dress, wearing a cross, praying with patients, fostering a child, or conscientious objection to same-sex marriage in a registry office, and so on, all leaving us in no doubt where they are coming from and where they intend to go.
Quite apart from their rather confused use of ‘religion’, ‘Christianity’ and ‘rights’ as if we all understood them the same way, as a Baptist I find it incredible that they can handle this topic at all without a serious attempt to introduce Thomas Helwys with his Mystery of Iniquity.
Alec Gilmore is a Baptist minister