Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tewkesbury is ‘a Christian town’

Cranmer is not sure whether it was created so, whether it was baptised as baby or as a believer, whether it has been confirmed, whether it believes and trusts in the Lord for its salvation, whether it believes there are 7, 3, 2 or no sacraments, what it knows of the principle of ex opere operato, what its belief is concerning the Eucharist, whether it presently attends church, reads the scriptures or prays.

In short, Cranmer does not know when Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire was redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.

But according to the Conservative Mayor Brian Calway, Tewkesbury is ‘a Christian town’ because ‘we haven't even got any mosques or synagogues here’.

If the absence of a mosque or a synagogue renders an area Christian, then the world’s deserts and seas, the arctic and antarctic, the moon, the sun and whole solar system, galaxy and universe are Christian.

And the necessary corollary of Mayor Calway’s assertion is that the United Kingdom ceased being Christian when planning consent was granted for the first synagogue in 1657, and confirmed later with the construction of the first mosque in 1899.

So Tewksbury must be that last Christian outpost in the Islands of Tarshish.

It appears that the Borough Council has proposed to make Sunday parking in Tewkesbury free for churchgoers, which is being disseminated by much of the media as ‘free for Christians’ and thereby discriminatory and illegal.

This is indeed discrimination, and Cranmer is appalled.

What of the Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus or Buddhists who happen to live in Tewkesbury but worship elsewhere? Or what of the Jedi Knight - for whom every day is an encounter of worship with the Force. For surely, if the Jedi makes his home his temple, is he not entitled to free parking every day of the week?

This is nothing to do with religious adherence, but attendance. One should not make car-parking free for the Christians on Sundays, but charge the Muslims on Fridays and the Jews on Saturdays... unless there are no synagogues or mosques in the town. Making car-parking free for Christians who attend church on Sundays is perfectly legitimate and quite legal, for car parks frequently have no-charge or reimbursement arrangements in place for those who make use of certain shops or the leisure centre.

Yet the Liberal Democrat councillors of Tewkesbury are worried by how free car parking for Christians might be perceived in ‘the modern PC world’ – that they would be causing offence to other religions.

It is typical of the Liberal Democrats to be concerned about the perception of religious discrimination, but what do they say of the fat, unhealthy people who pay to park while the thin and fit people who use the leisure centre get free parking?

Isn't that discrimination? Isn’t that sizeist? Or life-stylist?

Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Collins said: "When the word Christian was used and Sunday worship, I felt that my view was there were many people around Tewkesbury who are not Christian these days. I'm not the most PC person but to single out one section would be discriminatory. In the back of my mind was that someone who wasn't a Christian could complain about prejudice against them. We have to be totally inclusive."

Paranoid. There are people around Tewkesbury who are not Liberal Democrat against whom Cllr Collins must discriminate on a daily basis by chosing not to associate with them. What does the 'modern PC world' say of that?

Apparently the final decision is being made by the council's Executive Committee today before going to the council on January 20th.

Cranmer suggests you give your support to the Mayor, and tell Cllr Collins and his fellow liberal democrats what you think of his perception of religious discrimination.

His Grace exhorts all of his communicants, as ever, to be respectful and polite. It is a sin to harass Liberal Democrats: they cannot always help their affliction.


Blogger Christian-Jedi-Alliance said...

We find this a most pleasing development, and in no way do the Jedi brothers, and sisters, of the alliance feel discriminated against.

We extend our gratitude and prayers to the mayor of Tewkesbury for his loving grace and charity which he extends to his fellow Christian brothers and sisters.

As for the Liberal councilors, well, the Dark Side of the Force takes over our souls at the very thought: Let's leave it at that.

God Bless the Mayor of Tewkesbury, and may the Force be with him.

7 January 2009 at 09:47  
Blogger Christian-Jedi-Alliance said...

The Dark Side of the Force overcame us for a brief moment and we sent the following message to cllr Collins.

This probably was not very polite, but I sent it anyway.

We ask that everyone else try to exercise extreme caution not to let the Dark side overcome them.


I have just been reading Archbishop Cranmer's blog, where he has today posted a story about free parking on Sundays for Christian worshipers. It seems you are concerned that this will offend the PC brigade. Are you a complete whimpering jelly fish? Don't answer that, it is a hypothetical question which has been answered many times over.

In order to minimize any harm to the environment, I am going to suggest that you use a low wattage microwave oven to stick your head in and cook it, but that is entirely up to you.

Do you not ever wonder why your jelly fish brothers and sisters never get elected, don't answer that one either.

May the Force continue to be not with you.

7 January 2009 at 10:08  
Anonymous judith said...

Your Grace: Tewkesbury's a nice place, visited a couple of times.

There's a big car park by the Abbey, some way from the shopping centre of town, which would be the obvious place for free parking on a Sunday for worshippers of a CofE persuasion. Beware, though, prone to flooding.

Anyway don't most towns do free parking on Sundays?

7 January 2009 at 11:42  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
Judith is right on target, simple answer: free parking on Sunday. Problem solved.

7 January 2009 at 11:56  
Anonymous not a machine said...

christian jedi alliance , remember with the sith there are always two!!, master and apprentice , in speaking to the liberals you are speaking to labours apprentice .

darth EU socialist, and darth nutters ideaology marxist.

councils dont do free any more so it will be a "worshippers concession "of a £1 , and £1.50 per hour for everyone else

7 January 2009 at 17:40  
Anonymous dexey said...

Is His Grace now someone else?
is it my imaginings or has the tone of his marvellous tales changed of late? Encouraging flooding other's email boxes is not how His grace used to behave.

7 January 2009 at 19:03  
Blogger Harry Hook said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 January 2009 at 20:50  
Blogger Harry Hook said...

Talking of flooding... all that water has probably seeped into the mayors brains... also reminds me of the time when people used to put 'Nuclear Free-Zone' signs in their window.

7 January 2009 at 20:51  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

7 January 2009 at 22:41  
Anonymous church mouse said...

England used to be a Christian country - until the aliens took over and decided to prevent us from being ourselves. Now that's what I call Reverse Discrimination and Cultural Invasion.

Just because an ancient town like Tewkesbury wants to stick to its traditions and roots, we have to put up with self-righteous gubbins from the Brigade of Fiends?

Well, I pray there'll never be a mosk in Tewkesbury, and that all the other mosks in England will fall in piles of flame and rubble because God has made the ground quake, the air shake, and all the spirits of the Land rise in retribution against the infamy of these invaders.

8 January 2009 at 02:53  
Blogger Chrysippus said...

Perhaps the church should take an idea from my local Sainsburys which refunds parking fees when one shops there.

£10 in the collection plate and your parking fee refunded?

8 January 2009 at 16:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with church mouse.

I love England

But I have no empathy with the melting pot it has become

I also believe it is time to stand and fight against the discrimination against our indigenous culture

A pox on PC and multiculturalism when it decimates an ancient culture

8 January 2009 at 20:31  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

The mayor may think his town is Christian. That should make me think my parish is pretty well Muslim. We are an Anglo-Catholic church sitting happily amongst the mainly Islamic traders and travellers of this world on the Stratford Road out of Brum. However, it doesn't make me think it is Muslim anymore than it is Christian.

I doubt that Tewkesbury is any more or less secular than the rest of society. I would think the mayor said what he said for political purposes rather than anything else.

10 January 2009 at 10:28  
Blogger Unsworth said...

I know and like Tewkesbury. But I've never regarded it as a particularly Christian town. Some of the denizens may be, of course.

10 January 2009 at 21:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...planning consent was granted for the first synagogue in 1657..."

Planning consent? In 1657?

Your Grace, I believe you may have made a serious error in chronology.

There was no such thing as planning consent, thank God, until after the Second World War.

Otherwise, for certain, you would not be able to reproduce that lovely photograph of Tewkesbury abbey - because it would not exist.

Without council planning, we got Tewkesbury Abbey, Durham Cathedral, Edinburgh New Town, and the Royal Crescent in Bath.

With it, we got Cumbernauld, Harlow New Town, Easterhouse, and Milton Keynes.

13 January 2009 at 16:49  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

There was a time when shops were shut on Sundays, not long ago. But the churches were open. Rather than have cars everywhere, the car parking was free, but the only people using it were those going to church. When the shops were opened, this concession tended to continue under one guise or another; after all, it benefitted no-one to pick a fight with this innocuous group. That's the real background.

The suggestion that Christians should be treated in an officially Christian country as just one group among many, and therefore (in practice) deprived of rights exercised for decades if not longer, is disgusting. Leave the Christians alone.

17 January 2009 at 21:37  
Blogger Todd said...

Tewkesbury has a long history of religious intolerance, I’m afraid. My uncle Samuel Jones kept a dissenting academy in Tewkesbury some years ago. (Exactly three hundred years ago to be exact, but Your Grace, of all people, will understand my nonchalance about the date.) He first opened the academy in Gloucester, but after being charged, falsely, with instructing his young wards in “seditious and antimonarchical principles … prejudicial to the present Establishment” he moved the Academy to Tewkesbury. Where, in spite of the academy’s subsequent record of educating such Establishment luminaries as Joseph Butler (not to mention one of your successors, Thomas Secker) my departed uncle’s house was attacked by angry mob (is there any other kind?) on the day of George I’s coronation.

So it’s not surprising that “after moving to Tewkesbury, Jones became an increasingly heavy drinker and his teaching declined in quality and success.” He died shortly afterwards, at the age of 37. His young widow married a former student, one Edward Godwin. The couple later became the grandparents of William Godwin who, along with his Life Partner Mary Wallstonecraft, invented Women’s Lib. So we can thank Tewkesbury for that, too.

The sad history can be found here:

21 March 2013 at 17:48  

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