Druid Priestess Emma Restall Orr, Reverend Martin Reynolds from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and journalist Lowri Turner will be leading the debate, which will look at cases such as Caroline Petrie, the Christian nurse who was struck off the register for offering to pray for patients, and Gary McFarlane, the Christian Relate counsellor who was sacked for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexual couples.
BBC presenter (and practising Anglican) Jeremy Vine has spoken of how he believes Christians are becoming social pariahs in Britain, and feels unable to talk about his faith on his Radio 2 show.
Vine told Reform, the magazine of the United Reformed Church, earlier this year:
Just blurting it out would be destructive. Just because something’s true doesn’t mean you can say it. That’s quite an important principle. Once I put my cards on the table about my faith in discussions, it becomes problematic.
Even Tony Blair jumped on the bandwagon when he revealed in 2007 that he had been unable to be open about his faith when Prime Minister for fear that people would label him a “nutter”.
It’s difficult if you talk about religious faith in our political system. If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say ‘Yes, that’s fair enough,’ and it is something they respond to quite naturally.
You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you’re a nutter.
Despite being discriminated against, their presence must demand at least a modicum of ‘special respect’, for I received the following instructions by email:
We usually advise people to dress smart-casual but please do wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Checked or striped clothes often cause a problem on camera and items that are revealing or religiously offensive often induce complaints from viewers!
Any questions, or tips on what to wear, welcomed.
The Big Questions will be broadcast live from 10am-11am on BBC1
Sunday 12th July 2009