Saturday, November 18, 2006

Christian Union students 'persecuted for righteousness’ sake'

Cranmer might have hoped that the age of persecution had passed with the atrocities committed in his own generation, yet the reality is, as the Lord forewarned, that Christians will always be persecuted just as he was. Neither burning nor crucifixion may be literal practices of the modern world, but the humiliation, isolation, and spiritual anguish of these tortures certainly continue.

His Grace received an e-epistle yesterday from Andrea Minichiello Williams, the Public Policy Officer of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, who also alerted other media. She asked that attention be drawn to the increasingly desperate plight of young Christians in British universities who are finding that their Christian Union meetings are banned, bank accounts frozen, and their advocacy of Christian orthodox belief deemed too offensive for expression on university premises.

At Edinburgh University, the pressure is coming principally from the Gay & Lesbian Society, who, above most groups in society, ought to identify with the injustices of intolerance and bigotry. At Exeter University, students are threatening legal action against the Student Guild and the university if they do not support their rights as Christians to the freedoms of speech, belief and association. They have advised that their action will be taken under the Human Rights Act 1998, and the Education (No.2) Act 1986. In Birmingham, the prohibition upon non-believers from leading their meetings has rendered them ‘too exclusive’ for the universities policy of inclusion. It is manifest common sense that leaders of a Christian Union should subscribe to foundational Christian truths, not for reasons of dogmatism or exclusivity, but in accordance with the apostle Paul's command to ‘teach what is consistent with sound doctrine’ (Titus 2:1).

Emma Brewster, CU worker at Exeter University said: ‘This is a fundamental issue of freedom of speech and of common sense. Legal action is the last thing we want to take, and we certainly don’t relish it, but we are fully prepared to stand our ground for truth and freedom. We want to be able to study in a university that allows students – of all faiths and of none – to freely express their views from whatever stance they might take, be able to disagree with one another, and yet to co-exist alongside one another. Surely that is a truly democratic society?’

Cranmer is of the opinion that this is not only a fundamental of democracy, but an imperative in any educational establishment. How may the intellect be challenged if there is no open exchange of views and a search for truth? How may iron sharpen iron if the discomfort of the metal is deemed to necessitate sheaths of cotton wool? It appears that all university societies and clubs must permit the participation of anyone and everyone, irrespective of sympathy or predisposition, even if they hold beliefs or indulge in practices which are antithetical to the stated purposes of the society.

Cranmer looks forward to the enforced inclusion of tone-deaf philistines into the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, the compulsory incorporation of wheelchair-bound students into the rowing club, or the imposition of a lesbian bishop upon the Mohammedans’ Friday prayers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been a fan of the Christian Union. They have strange habits of making ultimatums to their group leaders who have non-christian boy/girlfriends (dump them or convert them or resign your position - light should not be yoked to darkness). They are also intolerant of Catholics - they would not be in the same room for worship with the catholic chaplain at my alma mater, because he refused to sign their articles of faith.

Despite verging on being a Cult though, they have a right to organise how they see fit. And they should not be persecuted for the fairly understandable rule that you have to be a bible-believing christian to lead their meetings.

When I was at university, there were more murmers that the CU was not democratic - rather than that it violated equal opportunities. Apparently, instead of the members electing their committees, the out-going committee gets together, and God guides them on who will replace them. A bit like the Vatican in that respect.

If people don't like what the CU stands for, then take them on in public fora - don't try to shaft them with regulations.

18 November 2006 at 19:45  
Anonymous Colin said...

murmers that the CU was not democratic

Since nobody is forced to become a member and everybody is free to leave the CU, they should be able to organize themselves in whatever way they choose without interference from others.

The increasing intolerance at universities is a shame.

18 November 2006 at 20:15  
Anonymous A Student said...

Do you have to be gay to join the University Lesbian & Gay Society? If not, I suggest the Christians gate-crash a meeting, get themselves thrown out, accuse the group of bigotry and intolerance, and have them closed down.

18 November 2006 at 20:22  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Peter,

Welcome to His Grace's august blog. Indeed he is aware that CUs tend to be Protesatant and Evangelical. This was why certain Catholic Unions were formed, and they tend to be intolerant of the Protestants...

Mr A Student,

Welcome also to Cranmer's blog. His Grace applauds and commends your suggested strategy, and looks forward to the media coverage which would doubtless ensue.

18 November 2006 at 20:29  
Blogger wrinkled weasel said...

I am heartened that the BBC (no friend of mine) and the Times have featured this story, the latter doing several pages and some comment, to the effect that above all, the move to restrict Christians sits uneasily with the assumed educational premise that there should be free and open debate.

This is all well and good but it fails to address something that all who have ever been in higher education have long known; that is that most students could not care less about this and all political issues and it is accordingly left to a small bunch of hardened loonies whose hate ridden agenda surfaces now and again to upset everybody.

Let us be in no doubt, there are always a few Stalinists who want to make victims and scapegoats out of everyone who disagrees with them, but perhaps the agenda has resonance outwith the realms of higher education. I respectfully commend to His Grace, the thoughts of Christian philosopher René Girard, and a quote of his that may be useful here:

"..the main purpose of PC thinking.. is not to defend victims but to make victims once again by accusing certain people of being victimizers"
(Interview with René Girard by Markus Müller Department of French, UCLA, 1996)

The general populace have swallowed the myth of political correctness. The result of their dumb assent to it is now bringing to them confusion and despair. They have no signposts, no leaders and no absolutes - only glib assertions about "equality" that mean nothing but the desperate need to ascribe blame to someone, somewhere.

19 November 2006 at 00:19  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Excellent news. It is wonderful that organisations like the National Secular Society with Terry Sanderson, author of many gay guides, and the Far Left in its various guises wish to persecute the most evangelical Christians for sins of omission and commission found acceptable in Muslim organisations, even as the Government asks a watchful eye to be cast upon University Muslim groups.

Persecution is the lifeblood of the Christian Faith without which it atrophies into the gold-club mentality so redolent of decadent Anglicanism.

The persecution of Christians on Campus is to be welcomed for now it gives the opportunity to do battle with the forces of Deviant Secularism and Totalitarian Absolutism.

19 November 2006 at 10:44  
Anonymous Voyager said...

the gold-club mentality


19 November 2006 at 10:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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19 November 2006 at 12:13  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

This certainly is a quagmire wherein reason is slowly being dragged under and drowned in the filthy waters of an unconciouable marxist nightmare.However while we are here,what are your emminences thoughts upon the recent diktat of the unelected quango , the cre,whos chairman is the chief advocate of withdrawing communion from members of nationalist parties,this nasty piece of vindictiveness is apparently welcomed by the inner circle of the church, who seem to have abandoned most of thier principle tenets.

19 November 2006 at 13:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

This inertia is will only benefit scrupulous employers

That sounds excellent then

19 November 2006 at 13:36  
Blogger Cranmer said...

what are your emminences thoughts upon the recent diktat of the unelected quango , the cre,whos chairman is the chief advocate of withdrawing communion from members of nationalist parties?

Mr Englishman,

Welcome to His Grace's august blog for the expression of intelligence and erudition.

His Grace was pondering this very subject in his sermon this morning, musing gratefully that his pulpit is well-insulated from such unfortunate divergences.

His opinion on the matter is quite straightforward. The issue of koinonia- and who is in or out of communion - is certainly not one for any secular quango, not even the self-righteous CRE, and neither is it necessarily one for any church leadership. Scripture exhorts believers to search their own hearts before consuming the elements. It is more an issue of the individual believer's conscience before God. Any authoritative withholding of the elements ought only to be a last resort, and certainly not before the scriptural injunctions for correction, rebuke, and the restoration of fellowship are taken.

Essentially, disagreement ought to lead to dialogue, in a spirit of prayer; not to any harsh rejection of the sincere believer from any aspect of fellowship. One only has to read the Apostle Paul's reconsideration of his 'harsh' approach to Church discipline in his first epistle to the Corinthians, which he tempered somewhat in his second.

19 November 2006 at 15:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I do find it interesting that the Head of the CRE - a civil servant who serves also as a member of the GLA and owns a tv production company should pronounce upon Ecclesiastical Matters and particularly doctrines such as Excommunication which are not possible within the Erastian Church.

I am trying to imagine Naomi C. earp, the Head of the Equal Employment Opportubnities Commission (EEOC) in the United States instructing churches in the United States to purge congregations of persons on the insistence of a Quangocrat.

Mr Phillips is getting a little out of hand, having already antagonised Bradford Muslims by implying they are just looking for an excuse to burn down the city, he now runs amok in his best NUS President form

Personally I should like his immediate dismissal

19 November 2006 at 16:23  
Blogger Man in a shed said...

Man in a Shed was in the leadership of a Christian Union (CU) almost 20 years ago. The issue was the same then with the NUS wanting to ban Christian Unions for some incident at York University where the CU refused to endorse a practising gay man in a leadership position.

The CU seems a softer target than the Mohammedans, but it only seems that way. They were in my day by a very long way the most active society on campus with one of the largest memberships.

Peter - yes the CU's have a doctrinal statement of faith ( which you tangentially refer to ), the reason is that it saves a lot of time navel gazing. That's also why the Church has a creed. If you want ambiguity that's what the SCM and often the student chaplaincy are for! In my day anyone could attend a CU meeting, whatever they believed.

The alternative - if Universities ban CU's from campus - will be they will meet in nearby Churches and the University will be unable to exercise any pastoral care. ( How does that make sense ? )

CU's certainly took oversight seriously in my time with local ministers from nearby churches on the advisory group and full time helpers from UCCF (a national support organisation for Christian Unions) who kept an eye on things. (We also had good Chaplains - none of whom agreed with our doctrinal position, but who were always welcome to attend meetings and often did - carrying out their responsibilities. They were wise and good people who I always enjoyed talking to – even if I did agree with everything they said.) I would say the Student Union politics was more cult like and less well balanced, especially the left wing politicos.

19 November 2006 at 18:52  
Anonymous Colin said...

Voyager said

"Excellent news...Persecution is the lifeblood of the Christian Faith"

If this hypothesis were correct, the persecution of Christians by Islam during the last 15 centuries in the Middle East and Northern Africa should have strengthened Christian Faith instead of nearly leading to its disappearance. And the Islamization of Britain and Europe would be excellent news for the Christian Faith and His Grace.

19 November 2006 at 19:10  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Christianity was not simply persecuted in Muslim dominated lands - it was destroyed. Hitler did not reform European Judaism even though Eichmann was a well-studied expert on Judaism..................the difference between persecution and liquidation is distinctive and instructive.

At what stage Colin would you suggest it would be advisable to overthrow The State in say Germany to ensure Christianity suffers no such liquidation ?

19 November 2006 at 21:22  
Anonymous spagbob said...

i am a member of the christian union at exeter and i must say i support the christian union in all they do. thanks cranmer for bringing this to the attention of the world. its about time christians like us stand up for what we believe and if that means legal action then so be it. has anyone read that book called freddom fighters, it deals with this issue brilliantly.

19 November 2006 at 22:49  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Your Grace

What on Earth are you doing to me? I find myself returning here several times a day to keep up with the conversation - and it's about religion! Me!

The EU yes, I can understand why I keep visiting to keep up; Islam yes, I can understand why I keep visiting to keep up (Islam is not religion - it's ideology, on a par with Naziism and Stalinism). But Religion? You and your guests have got to stop doing this to me.

19 November 2006 at 23:15  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Spagbob,

Welcome to His Grace's august blog. This is in an issue he feels strongly about, and looks forward to input from other Exeter communicants. He has passed the information on to a few rather more influential bloggers, and is delighted that they have taken it up. Particular thanks to Mr Iain Dale.

Sir Henry,

You have simply become enlightened, and embraced the most important dimensions of life.

19 November 2006 at 23:33  
Blogger dynamite said...

I am also a recent graduate from Exeter University. The Christian Union's tactics and tendencies might leave a sour taste in the mouth, but that isn't the issue. If they want support and assistance from the Guild of Students, they should accept the not unreasonable terms democratically arrived at by the student body, which in this case means accepting that they should describe themselves more accurately. Incidentally, the student Respect society is the other party which has recently been persuing grievances against the Guild, so it's not all lefties bating Christians (you'd actually be rather hard pressed to find anything resembeling a lefty in the Guild of Students).

20 November 2006 at 10:22  
Anonymous Uslter Man said...

"should accept the not unreasonable terms democratically arrived at by the student body,"

No, it's the job of a democratic minority to protect the rights of minorities. By your reasining if the student body had jurisdiction in Ulster and decided to limit the rights of Catholics, it would be free to do so. Now then, some might think that's a great way forward, but 'democratically arrived at' bodies must be reasonable. REligious groups have to have opt outs from 'equality' laws.

20 November 2006 at 11:07  
Blogger dynamite said...

A University is a place of learning for young people, not a country. The Students Guild has limited resources and facilities, which it tries to share with all societies. Other societies can exist, without being bound by any regulations about their names or practices, but they should not expect to be subsidised by the rest of us. I quite agree that democratically arrived at rules must be reasonable, I fail to see anything unreasonable in asking that a society call itself by a name which gives some clue as to its agenda – which is why at Exeter the Christian Union has been asked to style themselves as the Evangelical Christian Union, because they require all speakers to agree to an evangelical doctrine. This is not unreasonable. If they cannot accept this, they are still free to meet, hold events and do as they wish, but as a student I don’t see why I should pay for it.

20 November 2006 at 11:32  
Anonymous Colin said...

Sir Henry Morgan,

You are right. I experience the same problem. His Grace seems to have the ability to make us all addicted to his blog. What is his secret, highly emotionally content? Or maybe erudition and intelligence, as he always stresses? Controversy normally attracts audiences as does a good soccer game. In that case, Voyager deserves a lot of credit. Anyhow, what is your explanation for your addiction or would His Grace be willing to reveal his secret?

20 November 2006 at 11:40  
Anonymous Voyager said...

they should accept the not unreasonable terms democratically arrived at by the student body, which in this case means accepting that they should describe themselves more accurately. Incidentally, the student Respect society is the other party

So you favour opening up the facilities of Exeter University to the taxpayers that fund it ? I think the people of Exeter will welcome open access to the University sports facilities, halls of residence, dining and drinking facilities, and free access to lectures. This openness is the least the taxpayers subsidising the fixed costs of Exeter University should be able to expect for their generosity

20 November 2006 at 12:14  
Blogger dynamite said...

Voyager, the facilities of the Guild of Students are not the same as the facilities of the University.

20 November 2006 at 12:25  
Anonymous Colin said...


correctly observed a "University is a place of learning for young people, not a country."

Political and democratically elected organizations seem to spread like wildfire to every part and corner of life. Elections and the rule of the wise majority has become the new deity.

Hence, why not let the majority at universities, hospitals, airlines and churches elect professors, surgeons, pilots and priests and let the majority decide what to teach, how to heal, to fly and what to preach on Sunday?

Could it be that the spreading of elections and political organizations to all parts of society including the university is a missionary attempt for the new God, the democratic State?

The economist Professor Hans Hoppe said during his address for the 2006 Gary Schlarbaum award that democracy with it's rule of the majority is a weak form of communism and that historically minorities were suppressed in democracies.

If his view is correct, we may conclude that the missionaries of weak communism evangelise by establishing congregations everywhere including universities and that the leaders of the congregation are trying to suppress the competition at the university, i.e. christian union.

However, as dynamite correctly observed, the ">"University is a place of learning for young people" and not a place to evangelize and suppress people of different faith or views. A university offers a product, i.e. knowledge or a chance for a better job, just like supermarkets offer other products. The customers or the students vote by choosing the best products for a given price. Influences from political organizations can only disturb the selection of the best products by customer or students.

This view is supported by wrinkled weasel's observation that "most students could not care less about .. all political issues". The majority of students know that a good product, i.e. education, is advantageous for them and not the side-show of political missionaries. Political representation at the university seems to only cost time and money and does not improve the product. Instead of encouraging political and missionary activities, an alternative would be to ban all of them from campus.

20 November 2006 at 13:33  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Voyager, the facilities of the Guild of Students are not the same as the facilities of the University.

Funnily enough, I am aware of that so pursue the logic which is that The Guild of Students be abolished unless it permits Non-Students to be elected to its organising committee.............after all there would be no students and no guild without taxpayer subsidy............if you want a private university there is one in Buckingham, but otherwise you are using public funds in a public asset

20 November 2006 at 13:48  
Blogger dynamite said...

I don't really know what you're talking about. Students Union are exampt charities enshrined by statute with their own facilities, which run commercial arms to fund themselves. They cannot be abolished. I wouldn't expect you to be able to use our facilities any more than I demand the right to walk my dog through the dining rooms of our major public schools, which are also charities (though not enshrined by statue). The argument is that the members of the Guild gets to say who uses the facility of the Guild – and in this case, the ECU cannot use those facilties unless they agree to the rather sensible terms required of them.

20 November 2006 at 14:01  
Blogger Manfarang said...

I have become all things to all men,that I may by all means save some.
1 Corinthians 9:22

20 November 2006 at 14:14  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Students Union are exampt charities enshrined by statute with their own facilities, which run commercial arms to fund themselves. They cannot be abolished. I wouldn't expect you to be able to use our facilities

Education Act 1994 Section II which was designed to stop unrepresentative minorities controlling public funds as before.

Fortunately my university did not have a Student Union though it was a desire of the politically-fanatical to create one. The funding comes through a block grant from the institution which is itself taxpayer-funded.

The charitable component permits the "Guild" to operate commercial ventures without paying corporation tax or being subject to full liability; but it does oblige the Christy to furnish copies of annual accounts to any member of the public who so demands a copy.

Should this matter arrive in Strasbourg however, Section IV of the ECHR might take exception to some of the privileges accorded Student unions especially as regards political parties being affiliated and it can determine whether such organisations should be taxpayer funded at all since the groups sponsored serve no "public purpose"

As for walking your dog through a public school that would constitute a breach of the Public Order Act and is not in any in accordance with the charitable status; however the basis of selection to such an institution must be transparent and not merely on the basis of your being the son of your father who is chairman of the trustees; disappointing as that must have been to your best efforts

20 November 2006 at 14:22  
Blogger dynamite said...

So, if You want to open the Guild facilities to the rest of the world (or rather, you would prefer that the University did not have a representative student body which had control over it’s own buildings) then surely you’d rather that the Christian Union disengage from the Guild entirely, and devote themselves to campaigning for this? Personally, I’d be delighted if they used their time in this manner. It’s also worth noting that until recently they received the ludicrous privilege of having second and third year ‘representatives’ in halls of residence, robbing a fresher of a room that should rightfully be there’s. Happily, this privilege has now been revoked. Like it or not, there is a system currently in place, it has rules, the ECU can play by them or keep on sulking.

20 November 2006 at 14:36  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Dynamite,

Whilst His Grace might agree with your observation of the CU's 'ludicrous privilege', it is important to consider the heritage of such practices.

Historically, they were formed for fellowship, exhortation, Bible study, prayer - mutual encouragement for teenagers in their fledgling years. In this they worked closely with the Church of England through chaplaincy in the exercising of pastoral care and the demonstration of compassion. The placement of CU 'representatives' in halls of residence may be anachronistic, and may indeed have been abused, but the foundations and motives were wholesome and beneficial.

His Grace notes that you have not answered his question on nomencature from Mr Dale's blog, so he repeats it here:

You said: 'the CU is suspended from the privelages afforded by the Guild of Students because it has refused to accept a motion to have it classed as the Evangelical Christian Union

His Grace responded:

Why should it? Which earthly body should have the authority to decide which societies should have a suffix to the 'Christian' label, and which should not? Why may one not simply be Christian? Any further label implies a warning, some degree of sectarianism, an indication of exclusivity beyond what Scripture prescribes. If there were a Catholic Union, as there are at many universities, should one accept the label 'extreme Catholic' or 'fundamentalist Catholic'? The same may be asked of a Muslim society. By refusing to accept the suffix 'Evangelical', they are seeking to communicate an inclusive 'broad church' approach. They may not be perfect, and some of their practices may irk some, but they have every right to resist the obsession with ever-increasing categorisation in order to pigeon-hole their beliefs as something beyond the moderate or generally acceptable.


It would have been more apposite if you had named your (fictitious) society the Conservative Society. And then let them be challenged as to why they did not permit Jean-Marie Le Pen or (for that matter) George W Bush to address their meeting. The 'Continental Right' or 'Religious Right' is simply not to their liking. As a consequence, they are obliged to re-name themselves the 'Centre-Left Conservatives' on account of their rejection of advocates of something perceived as 'hard right'. Equally unacceptable would it be for a Conservative Society to be obliged to rename itself the 'Right-wing Conservative Society', on account of the 'left' feeling alientated from its platform.

The CU in question has every right under the principles of freedom of association to decline anyone from addressing its meetings. A Catholic Union would have a right to decline being led by a Protestant.

His Grace refers you to the concluding question on his blog, and asks, by your reasoning, why a Muslim Society may not be perfectly within its rights to reject a lesbian Muslim from leading Friday prayers?

20 November 2006 at 15:11  
Blogger dynamite said...

I believe that the CU should make allowances for the fact that the Guild is an earthly body which is conferring privelgaes upon it. You say that “any further label implies a warning, some degree of sectarianism” – ths is perhaps the case, but whilst I am not a Theologian like you, I can see that the CU does stand on a narrow platform within the broad sweep of Christianity. Its committee members do not consider Catholics to be Christians, and warn against attending Evensong at the Cathedral. Many young men and women arrived at University and joined a society called the ‘Christian Union’, only to be horrified to discover that far from being an ecumenical group for all Christians at the Univeristy, it actively rejects vast swathes of the Christian community on campus, which is why the campaign for re-classification of the CU at Exeter was led almost entirely by Anglicans and Methodists. All societies are subject to scrutiny if they wish to receive the benefits of Guild endorsement, to ensure that the limited funds of the student body are divided wisely and that they conduct themselves propery. Among the practices which the CU has indulged in has been ‘committee appointment’ rather than elections, which is contrary to the principles laid down by the Guild. Exceptionally in this case, the decision on the name of the society was put to open vote of the entire student body, rather than a committtee.

Perhaps your example is closer to representing the situation than mine. Univeristy political societies however, tend to sway in their ideoligcal tendencies year by year. The written doctrine of the CU means that it can never be anything other than an evangelical organisation. I have no objection to the society rejecting speakers on any ground, though I suspect it might raise some issues, I don’t think they are pertinent in this case. My objection is to the Guild subsidising an organisation which markets itself so fallaciously as the Christian Union does. Iain Dale raised the issue of Islam, and you have as well. I rather suspect that an application by an organisation requiring its members to agree to adhere to a doctrinally rigid fringe form of Shia Islam, but calling itself ‘the Muslim Union’ would be rejected in exactly the same manner.

20 November 2006 at 15:44  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Cranmer, you have said "The CU in question has every right under the principles of freedom of association to decline anyone from addressing its meetings. A Catholic Union would have a right to decline being led by a Protestant."

I agree that a Catholic Union should have a right to decline being led by a Protestant, or that a Methodist Union should have a right to decline being led by a Catholic, or that an Orthodox Union should have a right to decline being led by a Baptist etc.

I agree that an Evangelical Christian Union should have a right to decline being led by a non-evangelical Christian.

But could you please explain why a Christian Union should have a right to decline being led by a Christian?

20 November 2006 at 16:33  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Ralph,

His Grace has enormous symapthies with your argument, and is not an apologist for this particular group, yet this is a question of labels and perception.

The argument of what constitutes a Christian goes back to the very origins of the faith, and the earliest ecumenical councils deliberated painfully at very great length upon very important theological and soteriological issues which are now largely deemed to be irrelevant minutiae.

If an Evangelical group is somehow unacceptable to other Christians, there is no solution to be found in enforcing a change of name upon it for precisely the reasons that His Grace has already outlined.

The issue of labels is not at all insignificant, and it is also one to which the Roman Catholic Church has recently turned, questioning why Anglican bishops are permitted simply to style themselves 'Bishop' with a geographic location, while Roman Catholic bishops are obliged to refer to themselves as the Roman Catholic Bishop of such-and-such.

The answer here, of course, lies in history and the legal significance of the parish, but the imposition of the qualified label grates with them, and causes ill-feeling. Since universities are not at all bound by such laws, His Grace exhorts resolution without imposition. The 'ECU' has every right to reject a label imposed upon it (uniquely) by the whole Student Union, as this is unprecedented. In this instance, therefore, he would advise the authoritative body to permit the group to call itself the Christian Union, but this does not and should not prevent another group from calling itself exactly the same. It is then a matter of letting the markets decide.

Note, however, that the 'winner' by market forces may be no more justified in using the title 'Christian' than the original Christian Union. Eventually, both Unions will see how silly they have been, how acrimonious division has damaged their witness, and they will work out a formula for agreement...

20 November 2006 at 17:02  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Its committee members do not consider Catholics to be Christians,

That is the position of the Catholic Church towards the Anglican "Church", that it is not in fact a Church nor does it have valid Orders or Apostolic Succession.

You point about the Muslim Society is an imperfect one since there is no leadership within Sunni Islam and the group which suffers most from the Sunnis and Shias is the Alawite Sect who celebrate Christmas

The simple fact is that Non-Christians are trying to force changes upon a Christian Body...............very bad move.

20 November 2006 at 17:12  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Voyager has said "The simple fact is that Non-Christians are trying to force changes upon a Christian Body...............very bad move."

Actually, at least at Exeter, the call to rename the society was brought to the Guild by Christians who were fed up of having a Guild sponsored body discriminating against them.

Many Christians at Exeter have been told by the society that they are not Christians and are damned to hell because of their non-evangelical beliefs.

20 November 2006 at 17:33  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Many Christians at Exeter have been told by the society that they are not Christians and are damned to hell because of their non-evangelical beliefs.

O dear. His Grace hopes they weren't to frightened by this.

Any non-Muslims at Exter may be told exactly the same thing by an Islamic Society, but banning it does not resolve the contention (not, of course, that an Islamic anything would be banned from a university).

20 November 2006 at 17:43  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Many Christians at Exeter have been told by the society that they are not Christians and are damned to hell because of their non-evangelical beliefs.

Please write a 1000 Word analyis of this theological assertion utilising wherever appropriate references to the KJV and Book of Common Prayer, stating why you support, or refute this statement.

20 November 2006 at 17:56  
Anonymous Colin said...

Scholasticism at it's best.

Looking at this squabbling about the true Christian faith, I wonder what Jesus would have said and who still feels a desire to join one of the fighting parties.

20 November 2006 at 17:57  
Blogger Wibble said...

Its committee members do not consider Catholics to be Christians,

That is the position of the Catholic Church towards the Anglican "Church", that it is not in fact a Church nor does it have valid Orders or Apostolic Succession.

Er, no it's not. Catholics would also take the position that Methodists and Evangelical churches don't have valid orders or Apostolic succession. This is of course less of an issue for the latter two as they don't share the Catholic understanding of orders anyway.

There's a big difference between that and the statement that Catholics do not believe they are Christians.

20 November 2006 at 18:13  
Blogger dynamite said...

The simple fact is that Non-Christians are trying to force changes upon a Christian Body...............very bad move.

Except of course that the campaign was led by Anglicans and Methodists. Then, I spose if they haven't signed the credo, the CU doesn't consider them to be Christians either! Hooray!

20 November 2006 at 18:21  
Blogger tim said...

Sadly, a similar incident happened recently here in the United States, at one of the august northeastern Ivy League colleges (Brown, I think), and for the same reasons. I think that got reversed, thankfully.

On "a student's" idea of infiltrating some of these left-wing campus groups, I had much the same idea in grad school, with the campus socialist group. But a friend (another conservative Christian, I'll note) advised that it really wouldn't be fair to them--that they ought to be left to have their own group, run by their own rules and believers, annoying as they may be.

He was right. Shame the same right isn't being extended to the CU.

P.S: I'll say that I did have fun with the socialists one day. They were out harranguing on the sidewalk, and I decided I had time for a debate. So I went about 45 minutes with her, until she said she had to leave for class. I offered to come back after she was done, and pick back up, but she made some excuse. Maybe I should try this out on telephone solicitors, next!

20 November 2006 at 19:01  
Blogger dynamite said...

Tim, you might like to know that the other group who were complaining of discrimination by the Guild at Exeter were... the socialist group Respect. There are literally no lefties involved in this campaign of martyrdom (well, an inability to book the 'Free Tibet Room' than martyrdom per se, but it amounts to the same thing).

20 November 2006 at 19:13  
Anonymous A Student said...

Couldn't get a shag tonight so I thought Id come back here.

Cranmers right I'm afraid, there's too much controlling shit and too many lefty Marxist students who want to ban everything they think causes offence. Christ (sorry Cranmer), don't they understand that offence is a part of life, and if you just ban everything it all goes underground and festers and comes back a thoudsand times worse a decade later.

If you want to ban Christian societies who offend other Christians, well ban Muslim societies too cos they offend everyone, and ban the gay clubs too cos they just spread Aids and perversion.

I got an essay to write but I'm too pissed to care.

20 November 2006 at 22:38  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...


Sorry I couldn't get back sooner - life - you know ...

With me I think that this blog, and all the arguments people put out, are, as far as my life's concerned, a completely new slant on things; one I've never encountered before now. I find it all so fascinating. People here argue well too, and I've always appreciated good argument regardless of who's right and who's wrong. And His Grace is not a mere attack dog, as I am over at my place, and the rest of you don't appear to be mere attack dogs either. Well, ok, Peter has his moments ...

I'm sure that's an inadequate explanation, but I can't do any better.

20 November 2006 at 23:19  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Can we please set one thing straight. At least at Exeter, the society has not been banned.

(1) It has been told not to pretend to represent people it actively excludes.
(2) It has had some privileges temporarily suspended until it complies with (1).

21 November 2006 at 13:15  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Colin 5.47
"Looking at this squabbling about the true Christian faith, I wonder what Jesus would have said and who still feels a desire to join one of the fighting parties."
Spoken like a Lib Dem = "I'm above it all".

22 November 2006 at 12:38  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I wonder what Jesus would have said

Since he was a Jew careful reading of the Four Gospels will reveal his views on Sadduccees and Pharisees, Essenes and other groupings around The Temple. Jesus was a wandering preacher who took part in the discussions and knew he would die if the factions combined to remove him - as they ultimately did.

He was a follower of Hillel, one of the rabbis closer to Pharisaic Judaism and the criticisms of Pharisees in The New Testament are matters of degree not absolute, since Pharisees were highly regarded.

In fact just these disputes would make Jesus feel Christianity was living rather than a moribund dogma like Islam which is pickled in aspic

23 November 2006 at 07:11  
Blogger Man in a shed said...

The has made the Daily telegraph today (Fri 24th Nov 06) - see the article here.

24 November 2006 at 11:55  
Blogger Angry Steve said...

Rumour has it that the University of Edinburgh has capitulated, and is allowing the Pure course to be run on University property after the threat of legal action.

This does nothing for the Students UnRepresentative Council, which will no doubt continue trying to persecute the Christian Union, claiming "tolerance" as it does. It is no coincidence that Edinburgh SRC is populated by a large number of liberals.

I'll let His Grace draw his own conclusions from this.

27 November 2006 at 10:36  

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