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Christians joining the Pirate Party

Among UK Christians, the image of Pirate Party members is of grown boys who still live at home, wear Spider-Man pyjamas, and want to illegally download films without paying for them. So why would I, as a Christian minister, seriously consider supporting them?

First of all, let’s get a clearer picture of who they actually are. The first Pirate Party was started in 2006 in Sweden and it’s there that they’ve had the most success with two Pirate candidates being elected to the European Union. Their values are freedom of expression, direct democracy, and copyright reform.

While Theresa May's government works to be able to read your WhatsApp messages – surveillance laws that are not opposed by the Labour Party – the Pirates believe in the right of free people to freely communicate without Big Brother watching.

The Lib-Dems are theoretically more libertarian. But are they really any better?

Castration by Microphone

It's not fun to see a man get castrated. Yet this is what the world beheld as journalist Eleanor Garnier sliced off Lib-Dem leader Tim Farron's ideological balls with a microphone. Really, it’s painful to watch (HERE). If the Lib-Dem leader capitulates on camera to the LGBTQ orthodoxy police - then we know they no longer have the ideological vision to stand strong on free expression when it counts.

I had the privilege of speaking with David Elston, the acting Pirate leader, by phone. Though no longer a professing Christian himself, he said that he was surprised how many Christians have started joining the party. He’s come to understand what many forgetful British Christians need to remember: the act of publicly proclaiming a controversial message is central to the life of the Church.

There are Christian Pirates standing. Mark Chapman is an Anglican and is the Pirate candidate in Vauxhall for the snap General Election. Morgan Hill is an Evangelical and is the Pirate candidate standing in Eddisbury. If we live in these areas, we should prayerfully consider supporting these men.

As Christians, we do not fear hate speech - we engage it. I’m happy to grant freedom of speech to the most radical of Islamic clerics as well as the most God hating of the New Atheists. We want more speech for all. Sunlight is the best disinfectant for bad ideas and we should have confidence in our own views not to shy away from debate. This is a value held by the Pirates.

Civilisation Sleeps

Lenin: If it offends State values, we'll call it 'hate speech'
Stalin: LOL, let's get their Whatsapp messages first
In his recent excellent article, Civilisation Sleeps, CoE Rev Dr Jules Gomes points out that, in the past, the UK has lead the world in abolishing 'Test Acts' and opening public offices to all people regardless of religious belief. He points out that this Liberty is sadly seen as passé among today’s cool kids. He observes in reference to Farron’s effeminating fiasco and other such cases that, 'Christians holding public office are humiliated in Stalinist show trials and burnt at the media stake for holding traditional views on sex and marriage.'

In the UK we lose freedoms as some secular groups lobby and pressure our main political parties into expanding ‘hate speech’ laws, monitor communications, and police the internet. But the situation is still worse in Islamic countries. This is one of the reasons Gomes (rightly) states that, 'Most worrying for the civilised world is the threat to free speech. While Tim Farron will lose votes and Andrew Turner lost his seat, Pakistani Christians accused of blasphemy are losing their lives.'

Sadly, blasphemy laws in Muslim lands are getting worse. And now Islamic governments are policing social media to find those who would insult Muhammad or his ideology. It is no small irony that Islam, the world's largest blasphemy, is the main producer of blasphemy laws. Not only would the Pirate Party secure freedom of expression here in the UK, but would help make this an issue on the world stage when more Christians are being killed or persecuted for their beliefs than any other faith group. The main parties have shown they care far too little.

Our Heritage

There was a time in British history when Christian dissenters were executed for expressing views that opposed the prevailing orthodoxy of the day. Some of those who were hunted by the government escaped to America and helped ensure that Freedom of Religion and Speech were the first in their Bill of Rights. Others persevered here in the UK to ensure that these freedoms became recognised here as well. But they are now at risk.

The Pirate Party’s website has as its first guiding principle ‘The Pirate Party exists to ensure the preservation and development of… freedom of thought and expression.’ This is good news to a people who’ve been given a book and told to preach and teach it. Don’t simply vote among the main parties for the lesser of three evils. 

The only wasted vote is a vote cast without conviction. When will us UK Christians grow back a pair and work for the eroding freedoms that our spiritual forefathers once bled for?
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