Thought for the week with Rev. Edward Lyons

To be free is the greatest gift from God and makes life such a joy. It is a great moment when you first go to school or start a new job and you are given a locker. This little space is yours and you can keep what you need and want in it.

Keeping your equipment in a locker is good, putting people in one is bad. I obviously do not mean physically putting a person in a locker but socially putting them in one.

There is a worrying intellectual regress happening in our culture. Rather than engaging with people who think differently, there is simply the shouting of “bigot”, “racist” and “homophobe”. I do not presume to be a social scientist but I think this trend in part helped lead the UK out of the EU.

Shouting a lot about other people’s failings is not a virtue but a vice. As a Christian I hold to a simple concept of believing that we are made free by God and we can be given the choice to make decisions for ourselves. You can eat the fruit or obey the command not to.

The Lord did not remove the fruit from the Garden of Eden to prevent the man from making the wrong choice. Man was free to choose.

Yet removing this choice is what many desire to do today, and in so doing they remove our freedom and in turn remove thought, then actually in an ironic, self-defeating Orwellian turn, remove self-expression, which is the very thing most of the vociferous people idolise.

Why should a gift of God be removed by humans? In several weeks we will be remembering people who died to keep this land a place where free thought would not be punished. Freedom is a gift of God, highly prized by generations past. Let’s not jeopardise it in this generation by boxing in those we disagree with.