Faithful Christians in Britain today are seen as “dangerous and offensive”, according to former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who resigned earlier this year following media pressure over his religious views.
Speaker later on Tuesday, Mr Farron will say: “If you actively hold a faith that is more than an expression of cultural identity… you are deemed to be far worse than eccentric. You are dangerous. You are offensive.”
During his time as party leader, Farron, an evangelical Anglican, was repeatedly asked whether he considered gay sex a sin. He avoided answering the questions directly, saying “we are all sinners”.
The media questioning intensified during the general election campaign earlier this year until he eventually stated that he did not believe gay sex was sinful.
He also faced questions over an article he had written several years earlier in which he said abortion was “wrong”. He recanted of that view during the election campaign.
After the election, he stood down as leader of the centre-left party, saying: “To be a political leader and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible to me.”
In his speech to think tank Theos today, Farron will also reject the idea of a unifying set of secular British values: “People talk about shared values today, but when they do, what they mean is ‘These are my values – and I’m going to act as though they are also yours, and will demonstrate contempt for you if you depart from them’.”
The only way to hold society together, he will argue, is true liberalism that respects religious differences.
“Liberalism has eaten itself because it has eaten the very world view that gave birth to it, that made it possible, and which makes it possible,” he will say.
“To relegate Christianity is to hollow out liberalism.”