Saturday, January 17, 2009

Michael Portillo on the case for an Established Church

The whole article may be read in The Daily Telegraph, but it is woefully ill-informed and inaccurate on so many levels that Cranmer can hardly be bothered to fisk it. Some of the comments and observations made in the Telegraph's response column say it all:

Mr Portillo conflates ‘England’ with ‘Britain'.

‘Constantine did not convert to Christianity in 312: he made Christianity the official religion of the Empire. He converted to it on his deathbed in 337. Has Portillo never read Gibbon and is his programme going to display the same level of basic ignorance?’

‘Constantine made Christianity the state religion? Actually Emperor Theodosius the Great did that. Constantine simply granted universal toleration to Christians and acted as a benevolent benefactor to them.’

‘The Established Church in this country serves many purposes but standing in the way of radicalisation is not one of them. I find it very hard to believe that the disestablishment of the Anglican communion would lead to an upsurge in Protestant bigotry. Nor do I have the dread fear of religious people that you seem to nurse Michael. Margaret Thatcher was a preacher's daughter and began her Premiership paraphrasing that famous St Francis prayer and she didn't turn out so bad.’

‘Our allegiance is to the Crown and through the Crown to all the people in this land and long may it remain so because if the Treaty of Lisbon becomes active, signed and ratified by this temporary Government that ignored the very people who mistakenly elected it once more, our allegiance might be to a head of very different kind of State. Do you think everyone in the UK would have allegiance to the likes of those that sit in our Parliament at present that takes our money yet cannot do the job we foolishly elected them to do? Or to a Head of State that lodges in Brussels or Strasbourg? We may have a Government at present that has absolutely no idea of what our own Constitution stands for, or what this Country went through in 1939-1945 war fighting to keep that very same Constitution and Head of Church and State rather than a foreigner Governing all...

Our Head of Church respects all religions let that be enough for a different Head of State, one that is voted in one day, might not allow such freedom.’

‘...there is quite a lot to that persecution as well as the political use of a state religion. "Constantine's Sword" by James Carroll provides a valuable insight to all of this.’

“Keeping religion out of politics remains essential. The need for institutionalised moderation is growing, not diminishing." -

‘This is the contradiction in the column - keep religion out of politics by keeping it in. The assumption that a wishy-washy, but increasingly fundamentalist-rent, Anglicanism is the only option as a hold on fundamentalism is false. In the modern world secularism is a viable option. In fact, it is a far better option since even the CofE gives reinforcement to the idea that irrationality is reasonable. Do you really think that the CofE serves as any sort of check on fundamentalist Islam or Protestantism? How and why? Even Sharia law was given a look-in by the AB of Canterbury!’

Cranmer is most looking forward to Rageh Omaar’s view of the Crusades. This is sure to be a most objective and unbiased account.

And His Grace is still wondering why Channel 4 have not yet commissioned a series on the origins and foundation of Islam or on the historicity of Mohammed, and why are they not inviting Christians to present it? It is strange indeed that this present series - Christianity: A History - is being presented by a Jew, a Muslim, three Roman Catholics, an Atheist, and two evangelicals of Afro-Carribean origin - one a Pentacostalist, the other a liberation theologian with a discernible obsession with 'Black theology'.

Not an indigenous Protestant or via media Anglican among them.


Blogger dave bish said...

Cranmer, your suggestion for The History Islam is outstanding. This current series is woeful so far.

17 January 2009 at 12:10  
Blogger Microcosm said...

Unlike some modern Satanist groups that seek to worship names like Satan or the Devil, Pope Honorius wrote of Moloch – the most ancient dark god of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Sadducees and Satanists. Moloch – the god of eternal fire and damnation – from where we get the word “Immolate” – to literally sacrifice people by fire.

Lets have a history on Moloch, that would uncover some shady secrets I can bet.

17 January 2009 at 12:22  
Anonymous non mouse said...

It's all too horrible. I can't stand it - which, of course, is why I don't read the Telegraph or use television! Mind you, can you imagine what it'd be like to hear that lot spouting on about us? Even worse!

What sort of viewing figures do they claim for this trash? Either those figures or the demographics must be falsified. Thing is, of course, there probably aren't enough of us who are interested enough either to talk about or watch a prog. on Islam.
Somebody told me the other day that there were only about 200,000 people in England in the eleventh century. Mustn't it have been wonderful? Until Billy Conk, of course...

17 January 2009 at 13:59  
Anonymous judith said...

Microcosm: Just as Ba'al means Master, rather than being a name such as Odin or Jupiter, isn't Moloch simply the word in Aramaic/Arabic for Lord or King - Melech in Hebrew?

(Sorry, I know it's not relevant to the topic)

17 January 2009 at 17:22  
Blogger len.allan said...

This wouldn`t be the Biased Broadcasting Corporation again would it your Grace?

17 January 2009 at 17:29  
Blogger McKenzie said...

What has happened to Michael Portillo? I used to have respect for him, but he has changed for the worse. It would be nice to have a functioning Established Church, but what you have never had you don't really ever miss. But your faith depends not upon it. Do I really care how much it helps to serve as a method of social control? Such a notion conceived by any man would be the complete opposite of wisdom in the understanding of the enlightened faithful anyway. But there is wisdom tucked away in there somewhere because such a notion would serve the faithful, the unfaithful, the ignorant and the stupid, and would be a 'blessing in disguise' to all. So if it pleases them, then as far as I am concerned they can go ahead and create a 'functional' Established Church to control the mases.

As for mister Omar, he will have to have chip removal surgery before I will ever take him seriously.

17 January 2009 at 19:55  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Just a small point Your Grace, the definite time of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity is disputed but we know he was actually baptised on his death bead.

This was common practice in the early Christian church (It also had its risks) because to be baptised, as we know, is to be cleansed of all sin and therefore the immortal sole can meet its maker spotless and be admitted to heaven. A form of Soteriological Russian roulette.

17 January 2009 at 20:14  
Blogger len.allan said...

It sees to me that there is the `real church` of Jesus Christ the ekklesia, (ie born again, spirit filled.)
And there is the `phony church` which is socially acceptable and useless for anything other than putting on a bit of make-up on the face of sin!This sees to be the church favoured by the many, including politicians!.

17 January 2009 at 20:52  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Let them play churches if they want to I say. I am missing my fast Internet connection since waking up in this alternative reality where my house is geographically further away from my local exchange, to what it was for the previous 8 years, but there is no changing this, it is a fixed law.

I have to amuse my self some how until my dongle arrives in the post next week. I have been reading funny material on the web. So far the funniest thing I have come across is this:

"Matter can neither be created nor destroyed".

Dammed if I can keep a straight face saying that one.

17 January 2009 at 22:30  
Blogger Microcosm said...

(Sorry, I know it's not relevant to the topic)
Politico-Religio history is always relevant. As evident in the Zionists claim to their promised land. Now either Moloch is as innocent a title as you would propose. Which means this innocent figure has been demonised by Christianity for no reason, or their is more to it?

I Just thought that any history on Christianity might benefit from looking into its relevance, either to dispel an old invalid christian superstition or validate it.

You see nothing is realy history in the politico-religio arena, as it all pertains to the present events.

17 January 2009 at 22:30  
Blogger The New World Order exists. said...

I would suspect that, as the son of a Spanish immigrant, most likely, if anything, a Papist, he perhaps is just the type of Tory who would be employed by the Romanist in-house journal to blabber about the C of E.

18 January 2009 at 00:34  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

At last, someone with a little sense on Gaza.

18 January 2009 at 01:19  
Blogger Fergus Carrick said...

I keep thinking that in many of the discussions during His ministry, our Lord seemed to find fault with the Established Church - or what passed for one at that time. Do we really think that "establishment" as benefits - be they of Christian, Muslim or other persuasion?

18 January 2009 at 04:25  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Michael Portillo's media career was predicated upon his confession of youthful indiscretions in his sexual orientation. This after tacking so hard right in Tory politics that he became a cartoon figure - present though insubstantial.

In his right-wing focus and personal proclivities he exhibited some of the contradictions Joerg Haider embodied until his untimely accident/execution after a row with his boyfriend.

This latest offering from Portillo suggests Peterhouse had a poor history tutor or that Portillo was an absent student. The fact that writing in national media about religion requires no real understanding thereof is common - and Portillo as a Spaniard by extraction should not underplay the role Spain played in making England Protestant and whilst avowedly Protestant highly successful.

There is no multicultural polity on earth which has survived civil disorder as Austria-Hungary, USSR, Yugoslavia have seems highly unlikely that the Church of England as an adjunct of Home Office social policy is going to stop Muslim boys in Bradford throwing Coke cans at passing white motorists.....indeed the influence of the C of E does not even extend as far as parishioners actually funding their church without diocesan support

18 January 2009 at 07:44  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I would Nuke Bradford without any hesitation. This country is now beyond politics. The UK is like Shaun of the Dead, but its not just the UK. There is only one thing that will sort this cess pit world out now, and mark my words it is coming. It will get me too, but I am hoping not so soon that I will be able to watch a few despicables boil first.

18 January 2009 at 10:47  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

I agree entirely with the need for a "historical" view of Islam either in a major series or even when bringing in Islamic views to programes referencing Christianity.

Before Christmas we had a programe about the "decoding" of the Nativity which was happy to bring critical analysis to the texts of Matthew and Luke but then pulled in some ideas from Islam without any similar interest in applying the same academic/historical critical methodology to the Koranic contribution or even to give the smallest context.

I wonder if Mr Portillo has the "cojones" to front that one!

18 January 2009 at 20:24  
Anonymous malcolm sinclair said...

So Elizabeth...avoided making life difficult for Catholics.-Rubbish Mr Portillo.Fines,prison,torture, execution,confiscation of land and goods.Destruction of religious books and objects,increasingly so during her long reign-avoided making life impossible- I repeat my comment Rubbish.

18 January 2009 at 23:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree entirely with the need for a "historical" view of Islam

and I as hoping for a "provocative new drama" with Mohammed as a swineherd played by a Chinese gay actor.....

20 January 2009 at 07:06  

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