Dr Evan Harris: Archbishop of York is a ‘fundamentalist’
Yes, that’s right. Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York (and quite possibly the successor to the See of Canterbury), who loves and serves the Lord so much that he baptises Christians in public; who cares so deeply about truth and justice that he refuses to wear his dog collar again until Robert Mugabe is deposed, is, according to the ultra-normative LibDem Evan Harris, both ‘abnormal’ and a ‘fundie’.
His Grace asked Dr Harris for his definition of ‘normal’, but reply came there none. Yet we all know what he means clearly enough: a ‘normal’ Christian is simply one who doesn’t believe anything particularly strongly, and certainly not strongly enough to cause him or her to take a doctrinal stance. A ‘normal Christian’ is one who has a faith that is lukewarm, passive and benign: anything else is akin to the Rev’d Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptists.
A ‘normal Christian’ is one who is tolerant, welcoming and broad-minded: one who embraces abortion as liberation; who affirms homosexuality as diversity; who accepts the multi-faith ecumenism and moral relativism of the age, that all paths lead to God and salvation is found in whatever, wherever, however.
And by decreeing the dogma of the ‘normal Christian’, the atheist GP arrogates to himself a spiritual authority. He appropriates a superior experience; claims charismatic insight; places his personal theological judgement over and above that of the Archbishop of York and any other ‘abnormal’ type of Christian who happens to hold fast to their ethical and moral worldview. He places his definition of Anglicanism over and above Dr Sentamu’s Evangelicalism, which is evidently illiberal and religiously regressive.
The ‘normal Christian’ is manifestly one who must be tolerant of sin. Jesus loved prostitutes, and welcomed them to his table. But he also told them to go and sin no more. Here is not the place to debate over and over (again) the sinfulness or otherwise of certain sexual behaviours. The important thing, for Evangelical Christians, is that they believe homosexuality to be a sin that leads to Hell, and so it is their moral duty, indeed, there reason for living, to save people from that eternal fate. That is the gospel of Christ, which they ought to be free to believe, practise, inculcate and evangelise.
Dr Harris asks why the media give so much airtime to unpleasant ‘fundies’ like the Archbishop of York.
Of course, it would never occur to him to wonder what ‘normal’ secular-humanist-atheists might think about the amount of airtime given to aggressive secularist fundies like him.