The Christian Institute in the United Kingdom is lamenting that contemporary society has become so intolerant that a simple Bible tract stating pride leads to disgrace is being treated as “hate speech.”
That’s what’s happening in Basildon, where town counselor David Burton-Sampson lashed out at Christians after the tract was delivered to homes.
“These are extreme views,” he told the local Echo publication. “I think the fact these have been put in doors is appalling.”
The front of the tract has a seven-color rainbow with the question “What comes after Pride?”
Local reports said it was from an organization called XpandChristianity, which published online a tract similar to the one photographed in Basildon.
Inside is the familiar biblical warning that pride goes before a fall.
“The world defines ‘pride’ as: ‘a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.’
“Yet the Word of God says a person’s pride is followed by disgrace (Prov. 11:2); pride is arrogance (Prov. 21:24); pride will bring a person low (Prov. 29:23.”
It explains God’s view of pride as sinful and warns: “What comes after pride? Destruction. … God’s judgment of sin, the punishment for which is eternity in hell. Your only hope is to turn from your sinful pride, turn toward God and, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”
It doesn’t mention gays, LGBTQ or same-sex issues.
Christian Institute Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly rejected Burton-Sampson’s assessment of the flyers.
“I think it’s very sad that this has been used to attack Christianity. I think it’s very sad that what is essentially a Bible tract is being called extremist literature,” Kelly said.
“This seems to be the norm these days – whenever there is a view that is expressed that people don’t like, rather than engaging with that in any kind of way, they call out ‘bigot,’ they call out ‘extremist.'”
The local reporting in the Echo paralleled Burton-Sampson’s intolerance.
“Religious preachers have posted ‘hate mail’ through the letterboxes of homes in Basildon,” the report said. “Furious residents criticized what appeared to be fundamentalist Christian literature which suggested links between the LGBT community, being evil and destruction.”
It claims the rainbow on the tract is “internationally recognized” as the LGBT flag.
But Kelly pointed out that the tract has a seven-color rainbow, not the six-color used by the LGBT community.
Also, he said, it revealed an ignorance of Christianity.
“God had first dibs on the rainbow,” he said.
Essex police said they had received a complaint.
Thee Echo reported police that at the moment it is being treated as a “hate incident.”
“We received a report on Sunday, August 19, that leaflets with offensive messages had been delivered to addresses. It is believed they were delivered on August 17.”
The newspaper provided a telephone number for people with information to call.
But Burton-Sampson, the deputy Labour leader at Basildon Council, said he was disgusted.
“People are entitled to have opinions but this is targeting a group of people,” he said. “It has a clear intention which is unacceptable. It’s excluding people from society and marginalizing them. These are not the views of churches or church leaders.”
The Christian Institute explained the tracts speak of God’s love.
The tract states: “Jesus Christ – fully God and fully man, yet without sin, voluntarily shed his innocent blood and died on the cross, taking upon Himself the punishment you rightly deserve for your sins against God. Three days later, He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grace. … Repent and believe the Gospel today.”
Kelly explained the local politician’s assumption the leaflet was about LGBT issues was flawed, because it makes no reference to homosexuality, “LGBT” or gay people.