Politics and Society

2019 European Politics and Society Network

The European Politics and Society Network is designed to teach key Christian political, legal, and social leaders how to be salt and light through effectively communicating Christ’s character in their respective contexts. Applicants should be those who are working in the areas of politics, law, campaigning, or community action. Both seasoned lawyers, activists, and campaigners and aspirants will benefit from the input of leading thinkers and practitioners. This Network will be led by Nola Leach and Charlie Hoare. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

 

NETWORK LEADERS

Nola Leach is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network and serves as the Chief Executive of CARE (Christian Action Research & Education), one of Europe’s leading Christian charities, which provides resources and helps bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE undertakes a variety of social caring and educational programmes and research and is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies. As Head of the Public Affairs team, Nola leads campaigns on topics such as human trafficking, Internet pornography, and the value of human life from its beginning to natural end. She has overseen the publication of Living Free, a sequel to the CARE book Searching for Intimacy – a resource designed to help those trapped in the net of Internet pornography. She has a passion for developing Christian leaders and heads up CARE’s unique Leadership Programme. She is increasingly in demand as both a writer and a public speaker, has penned numerous articles, and regularly appears in the media.

 

Charlie Hoare is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network. He received his Bachelor's degree in History at the University of Durham. After a year of working for a British Member of Parliament, he studied law before taking a Masters degree at the London School of Economics in social policy and non-profit management. From 1998- 2012 he was CARE’s International Director. For the past year he has acted as a consultant focusing on International work. In addition to representing CARE at the United Nations, he has helped establish a strategic global network of policy makers, academics, politicians, and diplomats at the national and regional levels. He is married to Eleanor; they have a son and two daughters.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Fred W. Beuttler is an administrator at the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago. He received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 1995 and an MA in the History of Christianity from Trinity International University.  Prior to coming to Graham in June 2015, he was director of general education and taught history at Carroll University in Wisconsin. From 2005 to 2010, he was the deputy historian of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and from 1998 to 2005 he was the associate university historian of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 

David McIlroy is a practising barrister based in London in the UK. He holds master’s degrees in Law from the Universities of Cambridge, UK, and Toulouse, France, and a PhD in the Theology of Law from Spurgeon’s College, University of Wales. David serves on the editorial board of Law & Justice, teaches the Mission of Justice and the Theology of Law course at Spurgeon’s College, and is Visiting Professor of Law at Queen Mary University of London. He is convinced that justice matters enormously to God and He wants Christians to work hard to see justice done more and more in situations around the world. Through his books (A Biblical View of Law and Justice, A Trinitarian Theology of Law, The End of Law) and many articles, David seeks to deepen people’s reflections on justice and to inspire others to take up the challenge of acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8).

 

Roxana Stanciu is the Chief Operating Officer of CARE, a Christian organisation that works on issues in relation to human dignity, family life, citizenship, and bioethics within the UK. She joined the organisation in October 2018. Previously, she was the executive director of European Dignity Watch, a Brussels-based organisation focused on informing and educating stakeholders in Europe to make a difference in the public square.  Roxana is originally from Romania and is very passionate about encouraging and equipping Christians to promote their values and be agents for social justice.

 

John Stevens is the National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, a family of over 500 Bible-centred churches in the UK, a position that he has held since 2010. Prior to this he was one of the founding pastors of City Evangelical Church Birmingham, which was planted in the centre of the UK’s 2nd largest city in 1999. He was instrumental in starting the Midlands Gospel Partnership, was the course Director of the Midlands Ministry Training Course and is a visiting lecturer at Oak Hill Theological College. John is also one of the pastors of Christchurch Market Harborough, a church he helped to plant when he took up his current role.  He was converted whilst studying law at Cambridge University, and after taking a post-graduate degree at the University of Oxford worked for 16 years as a University Lecturer, ending his career as Deputy Head of the Law School at the University of Birmingham. John is married to Ursula and they have four children aged between 12 and 7. He blogs at www.john-stevens.com on theology, church life and ministry, culture and politics.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

DAY 1

The History and Development of the International Religious Freedom Act
Fred Beuttler

Since the passage of the First Amendment in the 1790s, the United States has been the leader in the establishment of religious freedom. After World War II, its diplomats were instrumental in incorporating Article 18, on religious freedom, into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. A half century later, in 1998, Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act. This put the advancement of religious freedom as one of the key purposes of American foreign policy. Because of this legislation, each year the U.S. State Department, along with the private U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, rates each country in the world on whether it upholds religious freedom. What were the motivations for the passage of this legislation? What has been its effect, twenty years later? What will be its future, as many countries become more and more hostile to religious freedom?

 

The Theology and Philosophy of Human Rights
David McIlroy

This talk explores the questions: where do the ideas of human rights come from in history? How do human rights relate to the biblical understanding of justice? Can Christians use the language of human rights or must they reject it? And how should Christians respond to the claims made in the name of human rights today?


DAY 2

Session 1: To Be Announced

 

Is Talking About Jesus Hate Speech? Censorship and Freedom of Speech
Roxana Stanciu

What if your opinions on marriage, family, and human dignity are based on the Bible but are considered ‘offensive’ to unbelievers? Are you still allowed to express them in public and private settings? It is a prerogative of healthy democratic societies that speech will not be banned, even if and when someone profoundly disagrees with its content or finds it ‘offensive’ or ‘disturbing’. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of expression as a fundamental freedom. Despite all of this, freedom of expression is increasingly restricted in Europe, especially through the so-called ‘hate speech’ legislation. Is talking about Jesus’ teaching hate speech? Are we witnessing a new form of censorship? Is one of our most fundamental freedoms at threat in Europe? How should we respond?


DAY 3

Case Study: Human Rights and the Family
Nola Leach

Using examples from CARE’s Policy work on Family issues in the Parliaments and Assemblies of the United Kingdom, Nola Leach will illustrate the lessons learned and highlight some trends and general principles which can be applied when upholding the value of marriage and the family.

 

Session 2: To Be Announced



DAY 4

Political Engagement in a Post-Christian Secular Context
John Stevens

Many European countries have a strong Christian heritage but are now thoroughly secular. Evangelicals in particular often find themselves in a tiny minority. This reality requires that we approach our political engagement and campaigning in a different way and with different expectations. We are not living in the same situation as great Christian reformers such as William Wilberforce. We will examine Biblical models for political engagement in an exilic context and see that we need to speak boldly for Jesus and advocate freedoms for all rather than demand privileges for Christians. In particular, we need to advocate for true religious freedom and freedom of speech.

 

Where Do We Go From Here? Painting a Better Picture
Nola Leach and Charlie Hoare

There is no area in the realm of politics and society into which our Christian faith does not speak. Across this Network participants have grappled with considerable issues of our day and sought to understand how we as Christians can best stand for the Lord and help His Church shine as a light for hope and truth. This session will bring together the key points that have emerged from across the four days with opportunities for participants to express their take-home points.

 

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