By Hilary White
LONDON, November 19, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Homosexual activists and secularist organisations in Britain are outraged at the appointment of a believing Christian to a government human rights watch body and are demanding he be removed. Rev Joel Edwards, head of Britain’s Evangelical Alliance and a vocal opponent of the recently passed Sexual Orientation Regulations, has been appointed to the post of commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Edwards, born in Jamaica, was one of Britain’s leading voices warning that the government’s cooperation with the homosexual political movement would result in the erosion of democratic freedoms, especially for Christians who object to activists efforts to legitimize the “gay lifestyle.”
The National Secular Society, one of the organisations campaigning most heavily to suppress Britain’s Christian heritage in public life, claimed the appointment of Rev. Edwards would “damage the reputation of the commission”.
Terry Sanderson, the society’s president, was quoted by the Independent saying, “This appointment must be reversed immediately. Mr Edwards comes to the job with a pre-formed agenda that is based on a literalist reading of the Bible.”
“How on earth is he going to look objectively at gay issues when he has made a career out of opposing equality for homosexuals?”
Edwards, however, denies that his presence will bring anything more than a balanced perspective to the Commission. Speaking from Kenya, where he is campaigning to implement efforts to eradicate poverty in the developing world, Edwards said, “As a Christian leader, I believe one of my primary responsibilities will be to ensure that the values of the faith communities, our concern for important issues such as respect and tolerance, play an effective role in the commission.”
He added, “Our rights are very important, but they must not become bigger than our Christ.”
“My faith convictions, along with the wide range of convictions held by my other colleagues on the commission, are entirely compatible with serving the interests of all citizens.”
An EHRC spokeswoman said, “Joel Edwards has been appointed by the Secretary of State and we welcome him joining the commission. He is well qualified as leader of the Evangelical Alliance and brings expertise both as a faith leader and a senior figure in the black community.”
“The Equality and Human Rights Commission is supposed to represent a wide range of views and opinions and we welcome lively debate. But the views of the commission on the sexual orientation regulations remains unchanged. The law is the law and it is our remit to uphold that.”
In a recent interview in the Daily Telegraph, Edwards warned against the heavily secularised approach to human rights. “Forgiveness, respect, hope and trust are all rooted in Christian faith and they are an antidote to a culture that is being railroaded into an individualistic, rights-orientated mentality,” he said.
A position paper on the Evangelical Alliance website identifies the organisation’s Christian position on homosexuality. “We oppose moves within certain churches to accept and/or endorse sexually active homosexual partnerships as legitimate form of Christian relationship. We do not accept that to reject homoerotic sexual practice on biblical grounds is itself homophobic.”