On 21 July 2021, Rev Ross Rennie joined David Clews, Lead Correspondent of Unity News Network, David Kurten, Leader of the Heritage Party, Piers Corbyn, campaigner, political activist and scientist, and other supporters of No More Lockdowns in a protest against vaccine passports, vaccination of children and other draconian Covid-19 policies of the UK government.
Protesters toured central London on an open-top bus, made speeches outside the Houses of Parliament and draped banners over Westminster Bridge.
On Friday 23 April, Pastor John Sherwood, the minister of a north London church, was preaching the gospel in the centre of Uxbridge (in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s constituency).
Several police officers arrived on the scene and a conversation with Pastor Sherwood ensued. When he refused to stop preaching and come down from the steps on which he was standing, a police officer took away the Bible in the pastor’s hand and pulled him from the steps. Three officers quickly gathered around the 70-year-old minister, handcuffed and arrested him and took him to a detention centre near Heathrow Airport, where he was kept overnight and not released until around noon the next day.
You can read an account of the arrest in this article written by Peter Simpson, who was preaching with the pastor at that time.
In the article, Mr Simpson asks, ‘what kind of nation have we become that the minister of a Christian church is arrested for upholding in the public square the very truths which Her Majesty the Queen promised to uphold in her Coronation Oath in 1953, with a Bible in her hand?’
Pastor Sherwood had been proclaiming the truth of Genesis 1:27, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. A few days later, Maya Forstater, a former think tank researcher fired over ‘trans-critical’ tweets, was back in court to defend her right to free speech. She had lost her job at the Centre for Global Development after tweeting her opposition to gender self-identification, and stating that ‘men cannot change into women’. It may be several months before a judgement is made.
In a unanimous decision by five judges the Supreme Court has upheld the appeal by Ashers Baking Co against a ruling that by refusing to produce a cake bearing the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ the company unlawfully discriminated against Gareth Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The ruling upholds free speech and prevents the law from forcing businesses to express views with which they profoundly disagree. Repeated throughout the judgment is the Court’s finding that the family’s objection “was to the message, not the messenger”.
In a statement given outside the court, Daniel McArthur, who has spearheaded the family firm’s fight for justice, said, “I want to start by thanking God. He has been with us during the challenges of the last four years. Through the Bible and the support of Christians, He has comforted us and sustained us. He is our rock and all His ways are just.”
The cost of the cake that Ashers declined to bake would have been £36.50; legal costs borne by the state-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which brought the original case against Ashers, were £250,000 and by the Christian Institute, which represented Ashers, £200,000.
We give glory to God for the outcome of this case and pray that its ramifications will be felt far and wide wherever Christian businesses are coming under pressure to compromise on what they believe and stand for. This has been a ‘David and Goliath’ case and we recall the words of David has he stood before the giant: “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands … that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.”