Promoting "cultural Anglicanism"
On the Spectator Coffee House, Ed West has written that "We should encourage and promote ‘Cultural Anglicanism’ in schools".
Mr West is Roman Catholic, and is probably aware that any Roman Catholic school that is doing its job is already inculcating 'cultural Anglicanism' (ie not theological Anglicanism). He doesn't really expound what he means by the term, drawing mainly on the expressed views of Richard Dawkins and his antithetical stance against any extreme expression of religion:
...Dawkins now says he feels ‘Anglican nostalgia, especially when you look at the competition’. He also admits that he would feel ‘deprived’ if there were no more churches: ‘I’m kind of grateful to the Anglican tradition for its benign tolerance. I sort of suspect that many who profess Anglicanism probably don’t believe any of it at all in any case but vaguely enjoy, as I do… I suppose I’m a cultural Anglican and I see evensong in a country church through much the same eyes as I see a village cricket match on the village green. I have a certain love for it.’And then he dips his toes into 'British values':
Those who do not respect their own religions tend to end up respecting someone else’s, but Prof Dawkins does offer a sort of remedy for the train wreck of multiculturalism. Since July 7, 2005 experts have been agonising over how to help social cohesion and teach ‘British values’, but most of the things they’ve come up with are vague and meaningless (‘tolerance’, ‘fairness’ etc) or basically totalitarianism-lite (respect difference – or else!).Which leads neatly to the nexus of his religio-political thesis:
Why not instead talk about ‘cultural Anglicanism’ as the basis of cohesion? As a member of ‘the world’s second most evil religion’ (c. R Dawkins), I too feel like a cultural Anglican; I love and respect the Anglican tradition and the society it helped create. The fact that I don’t even have to explain what ‘cultural Anglicanism’ means, that the vast majority of people reading this will understand, speaks for its strength; it is not just cricket on the green or Evensong, but a cultural heritage that is beautiful, coherent and benignly tolerant. (Charles Darwin was lucky that he presented his ideas to an Anglican society; a scientist who upset the world view of today’s cultural leaders would find things much harder.)His Grace need not express his views on the matter, for the Coffee House commentariat is a lively fellowship:
Cultural Anglicanism is fine, unhappily, I get the impression that, given time, and not much, it will be up there with 'Adelstrop' as a plangent reminder of a vanished, or, rather, vanquished, England.
..It is a nice read this article, but I fear there is no such thing as "British Values" anymore. The problem is that our society is now so fragmented, compartmentalised, ghettoised, that we do not get that sense of belonging anymore. We feel like foreigners in our own country... With venal politicians, Lefty media and self loathing academia, is it any wonder that those who despise us, our way of life and culture are now British and we, foreigners in our own land?
..Cultural Anglicanism is better than cultural Islamism which is what we are going to be stuck with.
..Wishy-washy wishful thinking.
..Where the BCP is concerned, its lobby is in no small measure made up of those who are particularly attached to the later musical settings of it. Those have not recently become confined to cathedrals and to the chapels of Oxbridge colleges. Rather, they have always been so. (There are particularly naive cradle Catholics who imagine that that is the sort of thing that will be going on in the Ordinariate. It is not.)
..Cultural Anglicanism: isn't that now something to do with lady bishops, pious yet reassuringly strong and subtly moustacheoid?
..Even as a 19 year old Anti-theist, i completely agree with bringing cultural Anglicanism back. You cannot even begin to understand a large section of our history, culture and literature without a relative understanding of the Bible and Christianity. I would also like it to return as a soft way of combating the rise of Islamo-fascism and the tolerance of it that is spreading through the nation like a cancer.
..The idea of "Cultural Anglicanism" as "benignly tolerant" is a piece of public school nonsense, and wildly at variance with the plain facts of history. It is not unconnected to the idea that the Conservative Party is non-ideological and has no class motivation.
..I adore anglicanism. It is culturally and morally the rock of my life. Since I believe that life is one big circular journey, with lots of little circles running through it I found myself (now in my 50s) being drawn back to the pragmatism of Anglicanism, and to the beauty of the Book of Common Prayer. Given that England is on a collision course of competing cultural demographics within the next 25 years, we certainly need something to create the British Dream
..Though be warned - there have been many "sad cases" of cultural Christians who then realise that it's true and becoming real Christians. Tolerant love of neighbour and regular contemplation of the beauty of holiness are very perilous ground for a militant atheist.
..Dawkins says, "I sort of suspect that many who profess Anglicanism probably don’t believe any of it at all in any case but vaguely enjoy, as I do…"
..And which society did Anglicanism help to 'create', actually? Was that the one which prevented women working after getting married? Which denied them the vote until 1918? Was it the one which allowed global slavery to thrive for long enough to make people rich enough to abolish it?? Was it one which believed in a genetic master race called 'The Royal Family' and told people to know their place, fight for King and Country and pay 10% to the church or else?? Have you yet ever faced up to the fact that the reason church attendance has gone down so much is simply that the church lost its mafia-style fear factor?? The imposition of guilt and defining the means to salvation is a marvellous control technique. Are you uncomfortable with the concept of human freedom without moral blackmail?? If so, why???
..You are surrounded by cultural Anglicanism - few recognize that. Get real, Church-going religion has disappeared and rightly so. Yes the immigrants and their social/cultural baggage cling to what they have but that too will disappear as most see the benefit of discarding their middle-age mindsets. Much of the discussion and resistance is the playing out of withdrawal symptoms. Don't blame others - the real solution is regeneration from within - as the Bible says - you will recognize a tree by its fruits - and those already have the fruit better start enjoying what they have and not worry if others don't join in the feast..