Saturday, December 12, 2009

Labour view faith is an ‘eccentricity’ practised by ‘oddities’

This is the conclusion of the Archbishop of Canterbury in today’s Daily Telegraph. The problem is, when one listens to and looks at Dr Williams, the overwhelming majority of the nation might think the Government have a point. Of course, the Archbishop can no more help his essential features than can His Excellency Herman Van Rompuy. But he appears to believe that prophets of God must have unkempt beards and eyebrows like Brillo pads, while the reality is that we are in the televisual age of androgyny: the ‘softer’ one’s appearance, the more likely it is that one’s message will be heard.

But Dr Williams is not prepared to ‘dumb down’ his theology to bite-size red-top headlines, and neither does he appear willing to attend media-training classes or consult Simon Cowell or Trinny and Susannah or (God forbid) Gok Wan on his appearance. In an age of superficiality obsessed with seeming and appearing, the Archbishop’s desire to be true to himself does, sadly, make him an eccentricity. And in an age which communicates in media soundbites and twitter inanities, his desire to be authentic in his theology makes him an oddity.

It is not so much Labour which treats people of faith as odd-balls: it is part of the zeitgeist.

But it is not people of all faiths who are viewed as such, and this is most definitely the fault of this Government.

The Archbishop says: “The trouble with a lot of Government initiatives about faith is that they assume it is a problem, it’s an eccentricity, it’s practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities. The effect is to de-normalise faith, to intensify the perception that faith is not part of our bloodstream. And, you know, in great swaths of the country that’s how it is.”

Labour have relegated the Christian faith to the realms of disneyfied bigotry while authenticating and affirming the religions of ‘foreigners and minorities’. One is now free to blaspheme the God of the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ: one is free to desecrate the Bible (at the taxpayer’s expense), mock the Pope, insult the Archbishop of Canterbury and criticise the Church to one’s heart’s content.

But God forbid one might even so much as mention Allah, question the prophethood of Mohammed, oppose the construction of a mosque or place the Qur’an on the bottom shelf of a public library.

For that is to make one an intolerant, xenophobic, racist white-supremacist. And therein lie the UK's new blasphemy laws.

And Cranmer wishes to be clear about this point: it is not that the majority of British Muslims are inclined to react violently to such things, insult the Queen or decry the perversions of liberal democracy (though some may). It is that Labour have created such an oppressively secular, anti-Christian context that public bodies have become rabidly politically-correct propagators of the rights of ‘foreigners and minorities’, even when those minorities demand none. There is a surfeit of accommodation, a surplus of toleration, a superfluity of pandering to the imagined whims of the descendents of immigrants who were grateful for the hospitality of our forefathers. This is typically Labour, irredeemably Socialist and culturally Marxist.

The Archbishop’s claims that religion was seen only as something for minorities echoes those of a recent Church report which accused the Government of paying ‘lip service’ to Christianity while ‘focusing intently’ on Muslims.

So when Dr Williams says the Government views ‘religious faith’ as a ‘problem’, he means they tarnish Christianity with the tensions caused by the Islamist in our midst. For Labour to tackle the extremists of Islam, they must be seen to incarnate their creed of ‘equality’ and so ensure that Evangelical Christians are subject to the same monitoring and scrutiny as those who may have beards and brown skin, just in case they decide to strap semtex around their waists and blow themselves to smithereens in the cause of anabaptism.

The Rt Rev Stephen Lowe said: “Religion is seen as being a problem because of the connection between radical Islam and terrorism that has tainted all religions. What seems to be forgotten is the contribution of religion in the mainstream to social action. It’s quite clear that within the Government and the Opposition there are people of faith. The problem is that somehow the connection between what they see as their private faith is allowed to marginalise the significance of the contribution of faith communities to the life of this nation.”

Cranmer is curious that the Archbishop calls on ministers ‘to be more willing to talk about their own beliefs’. It is notable that both Gordon Brown and David Cameron have recently gone out of their way to do so. Dr Williams says: “I don’t think it would do any harm at all. I think part of establishing their human credentials is saying, 'This is where my motivation comes from. I’m in politics because this is what I believe.’ And that includes religious conviction.”

Politicians might do ‘religious’, but they are not too strong on ‘conviction’. At least not while they are in office, and at least if they wish to progress in their political careers.

Politicians in Britain who ‘do God’ are indeed viewed as eccentric oddities.

And if they happen to be Anglican and believe in the foundational tenets of the Established Church and seek to uphold the constitutional position of the Crown and maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law, they might even be accused of bigotry.

And that cry will not come from the Socialist, secularist, the foreigner or the ethnic minority in our midst.

26 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

A few quick thoughts of my own...

http://michaeltmerrick.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/rowan-and-the-political-class/

12 December 2009 at 09:55  
Anonymous Stuart said...

Excellent post Your Grace and totally agree!

12 December 2009 at 10:31  
Blogger Adrian said...

Another great post.

Love this blog...

12 December 2009 at 11:05  
Anonymous len said...

True Christianity is not of this World it is a system of salvation initiated by God. Christianity is of a different order. It is out of the ordinary. It is other-worldly. It is supernatural. Christianity is unique, novel, distinct and unparalleled. Christianity is the functional dynamic of the living God via His Son, the Living Lord Jesus. Thus Christianity has a totally different modus operandi than the world-system.
Thus Christianity will be considered 'odd 'by the World.

12 December 2009 at 11:25  
Blogger Bishop Alan Wilson said...

It is a noble national characteristic to suspect the wearing of religion on the sleeve, rather than take it at face value. Only so can the genuine article prove itself. Doing this also secures something very English — the freedom to believe implicitly. Both of these are Christian values.

It would be a mistake, however, to take either or both as endorsement for any notion that our established religion should be vapid secularism enforced on all without the option. I notice, however, that those who act according to this notion are seldom less reticent to come out of the closet, articulate, and take responsibility for their views, than Mr Blair and Campbell were to do God...

12 December 2009 at 11:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Lord. This pathetic Common Purpose graduate appointed by war criminal Blair has suddenly decided to speak up against Labour. Is Williams facing an election too? You’d certainly think so.

12 December 2009 at 11:57  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

A volunteer in our Red Cross charity shop told me that some one brought in a nicely illustrated book of Christmas carols. The manager rejected it because it was "religious".
England is becoming a poisonous place.
(And why Red "Cross"?)

12 December 2009 at 12:17  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

Labour have relegated the Christian faith to the realms of disneyfied bigotry while authenticating and affirming the religions of ‘foreigners and minorities’.

You may remember this quote from the C4 Undercover Mosque documentary:
“I'm here as a friend of Islam and as a Labour politician”
It was made by the MP for Wolverhampton South West. How revealing, and how portentous, given the warnings of one of his predecessors.

Would any MP dare to say "I'm here as a friend of Christianity"?

12 December 2009 at 14:55  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I view Labour as a despotism practised by bastards...

12 December 2009 at 15:21  
Anonymous circus monkey said...

They have tried to replace Christianity with Political Correctness but this "new religion" is a brittle, sterile thing with no warmth to it. It is peopled by folk with only an Imperial belief in their own cold righteousness to keep them breathing

12 December 2009 at 15:29  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

The reason why ABC is treated as an oddity is because politicians have discerned that whatever ABC preaches it is not Christianity as they were taught. Here are some examples from ABC’s sermons and writings to support the point.

On God communicating with us:

‘He is the God who, in St Augustine’s unforgettable words, penetrates my deafness by his violent and loud crying. And all that crying, as every parent knows, can be alarming because we don’t understand what the baby wants..... So far from the divine child being a cypher, the tool of our schemes and systems, he confronts us with the alarming, mysterious, shattering strangeness of God.’

And Again:

‘This is the solitude of truth, the solitude finally of God; God as the spastic child who can communicate nothing but his presence and his inarticulate wanting?’

God, for ABC, is either a babbler like a child or He is silent:

‘There is our Christ, the totally enigmatic face on the wall, the cross, the bread and the wine. Silent signs as silent as he was before Pilate, consistently refusing a straight and simple answer. We can’t feed him questions like a computer and receive tidy, systematic replies. He won't let on.... Christ can bear all sorts of interpretations, and we can draw little balloons coming out of his mouth as much as we like. What does that tell us? The vulgarity of the analogy underlines the futility of it all.’

12 December 2009 at 17:37  
Anonymous len said...

This is the danger of having a priest as a middle man standing between us an God. The Holy Spirit communicates the deep things of God to us. But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (1stCor 2:9-12)

12 December 2009 at 18:47  
Anonymous Philip said...

Excellent post. The BBC report on the Archbishop’s comments (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8409310.stm - apologies the link may not work) included the Government’s reaction, e.g. A government spokesperson said it did recognise "the important role faith plays in shaping the values of millions of people in this country". and that engagement with faith communities happens through the Faith Communities Consultative Council, which sees representatives of all the major religions being consulted on "policy questions of mutual interest".
But if the Government values the contribution of faith, why are they still allowing Harperson to proceed with her Equality Bill? This Bill seems designed to undermine the very faith the Government claims to value by making it illegal for religious groups to insist employees share the faith and values.

12 December 2009 at 19:11  
Blogger Preacher said...

In the Sixties the young people searched for God through Eastern Mysticism, drugs, the Occult & various New Age cultures too numerous to mention. Some went to Ashrams in India, some to Findhorn of the Scottish Coast. All very colourful & alluring. But many found to their surprise that God lived in the Church around the corner, the last place that the esoteric seeker would look. His name was Jesus & He could change lives & He did.
The problem with the present Government is that they are prepared to search anywhere for the truth except in the Bible. Personally I feel that there are areas where the AB of C & I would be at odds, but the truth of the Bible remains Sacrosanct & We should not forget that John the Baptist was of rather strange appearance as were many of the prophets.
The government are blind guides, but because they say "We see" their sin remains.

12 December 2009 at 20:12  
Blogger Brad Evans said...

Disestablish all churches. Separate church and state. You, the Vatican and Iran are the only countries that have clergy automatically part of the government.

12 December 2009 at 20:51  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Can Dave, the self-proclaimed 'heir to Blair', now swing through 180 degrees and appeal to the Christian vote to win power? Or will the mantle of Christ be seized by the BNP?

12 December 2009 at 22:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know where to begin! Its no wonder we are seen as oddballs,with the bearded wonder representing us.(along with most of his clergy).They are more john lennon than Jesus Christ.
The scrpitures are open to negotiation and interpretation.
All faiths are valid and equal- a stance which renders all faiths invalid-I refer you to the first commandment.
I could go on and on, but it suffices to say that for the present time karl marx holds far more sway than our dear lord.The Church of England serves up humanism with a spiritual twist.
When our leaders don't take their own faith seriously they should not be surprised when no-one else does either.

13 December 2009 at 00:21  
Blogger Theresa said...

Em,

I think ABC's comments about the nature of God are bang on, actually; it reminds me of a quote from A Man for All Seasons where Thomas More says' 'I find God subtle. I don't know where he is or what he wants..'

Maybe he should get rid of the facial hair. But in an age of airbrushed politicians I find his unkemptness refreshing. And I'm not an Anglican..

13 December 2009 at 02:03  
Blogger Ronald said...

He has the look of an old time fire and brimestone preacher (if it wasn't for the poncy costume) the type the old Scottish Church gave the 'only the better prechers should continue past the second hour...' instuctions to.

Then he spoils it by opening his mouth.

It is the poor fit between the face and the words that disapoints.

13 December 2009 at 08:45  
Anonymous len said...

John 10:27, “My sheep hears my voice; I know them and they follow me.”

John 10:3 – 5 “The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

Jesus states quite clearly HIS sheep hear HIS voice.

13 December 2009 at 09:38  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

The phrase 'play the ball and not the man' comes to mind for some reason

13 December 2009 at 13:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the oddest one of all is the druid whom masquerades as an archbishop of a once christian church which is venturing back to rome whom nurned her fathers,

13 December 2009 at 21:11  
Anonymous anon anon said...

Anonymous @ 21:11 - Please! I discern your point, but 'Who' is the nominative case of the pronoun. 'Whom' serves for accusative, dative, etc!

13 December 2009 at 22:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear anaon of 22.57, Grace be with you me old son but being a common working class nobody with a poor education obviously compared to yours, what exactly are you asking, please ask again in the language spoken by the simple english folk of our land rather than the one you have used, as the word was translated into the language of the common man so we could understand it, please do the same, thanks.

14 December 2009 at 20:54  
Blogger Nick said...

Your Grace

You have left out one important aspect of this argument. I think the majority of native English people don't hold to Christianity as they used to is that that they regard the claims of Christianity as simply false. The reason that politicians need not tak Christianity seriously is that the majority of their constituants do not believe that Chrisitianity is true. This is not tru for the majority of immigrant people, who do hold their religion (however erroneously) as true, and beyond criticism.

Kind regards

Nick Pullar

14 December 2009 at 22:03  
Anonymous anaon of 22.57 said...

Oh dear! I do apologize and I hope His Grace will forgive me!!

'Who' is plain Old English - its use has stayed constant for 1500 years at least!! Nothing fancy about it at all.

If the person you're referring to performs the action - 'who' works. So: 'Who said that?'

If the person receives the action, in some way, 'whom' does the job.
'You asked whom?'
'Ask not for whom the bell tolls...'
'To whom did you speak?' (and by with or from whom.... etc).

But it stays 'who' with the verb 'to be': 'Who's who' should lock that in!!

That's more than enough, I'm sure. Any handbook or website can tell you that and more!!! [Actually, the beeb has a good one for ESL types]

Sorry, everyone!!! Over and Out.

16 December 2009 at 09:49  

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