On the 17th Jan 2022 the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was voted on in the House of Lords and many of the most vile additions from this government were voted out. As we take some time for celebration, we would like to appreciate this powerful and prophetic letter from the Bishop of Coventry to a member of CCA Jim.
Dear Jim ,
Many thanks for your email. I’m writing on the Bishop of Coventry’s behalf. He is very grateful for your correspondence and would like to pass on the following message:
I’d like to express my thanks and admiration for your determined, courageous and persistent efforts in drawing attention to the damaging aspects of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
These aspects of the Bill were a matter of grave concern to the Lords Spiritual and a cause of deliberation among us. I am grateful to my colleagues who have followed the course of the Bill through the House of Lords and who were able to be present at the important votes on Monday evening. Your efforts to alert the Lords Spiritual played no small part in a series of votes against those aspects of the bill which would have severely undermined our right to protest. I wholeheartedly welcome the outcome of those votes and of other members of the House of Lords who exercised their responsibility to scrutinize proposed Government legislation.
This right is so important because it serves as a means to securing so many other rights – for women, ethnic minorities, religious freedom, the environment and peace itself, to name but a few examples. The right to peaceful, non-violent protest is that point of encounter, that common ground, upon which we all come together to acknowledge and publicly proclaim our common humanity and the dignity which pertains to it, and it needs to be properly protected. For Christians, this right, which goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to democracy, gives us the means to follow the Christ’s command to speak out against injustice – to ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’ sake’ – and to strive towards the Kingdom of God.
In respect of my particular commitments and contributions to freedom of religion and belief, the vulnerability of the unborn and the dying, the cause of peace and nuclear disarmament, I am conscious of the role active protest has played, and continues to play, in advancing these causes.
I am grateful for your vigilance.
With best wishes,
Research Assistant to the Bishop of Coventry