Tewkesbury is ‘a Christian town’
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.