September 6, 2011

Faith-based services perceived as ‘sinister’


by Jan Harris

The London-based Christian Legal Centre claims that the expulsion of a Christian debt counselling charity from the Advice UK network highlights a growing perception that there is something sinister about being motivated by faith.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP), which offers free debt-counselling services from centres based in local churches, left Advice UK, a support network for such centres, following a disagreement over prayer.

Steve Johnson, the chief executive of AdviceUK, is reported to have claimed CAP placed an ‘emotional fee’ on its service, because CAP’s debt-counsellors invite their clients to pray with them.

By doing so, the counsellors are imposing their own values, according to Advice UK.

CAP vigorously denies that willingness to pray is a condition of the service it offers.

In a statement on its website CAP said: “Whilst CAP is committed to provide impartial help and advice to all members of society, as an expression of our care for clients we do offer to pray with people.

“We also have the furtherance of the Christian faith as a charitable objective.

“In order to protect the integrity of both organisations it was amicably agreed that CAP would not continue to be an AdviceUK member.”

Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, said:
“This is a very sad development and further highlights how intolerant our society has become to the Christian faith.

“There is increasingly a chilling notion prevailing that there is something wrong, something sinister, about being motivated by faith.”

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