I’m sure MPs at least, will be delighted with the Independent‘s recent leader column purporting to send those naughty Christians to their room without any supper.
It used to be left to the Right Honourable Members to reveal their breathtaking ignorance of the Christian faith by trotting out the patronising old canard about the Church of England sticking to preaching the Gospel and leaving politics to the politicians; you know, the experts…
Now the media are doing their job for them.
I knew there might be a secularist backlash when new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, showed early promise that he could be streets ahead of his predecessor when it came to being in touch with life beyond the cathedral cloisters.
I heard him handle with great aplomb an interrogation about the Wonga embarrassment, the highlight of which was interviewer John Humphrys‘ inability (or refusal) to see that this admittedly hilarious, if inadvertent, gaffe was fixable and posed no fatal threat to Welby’s proposals to provide hard-up people with a better alternative to payday loan firms and their eye-watering interest rates.
The Independent‘s nauseating arrogance and double-speak that same day, mind, makes Humphrys look the very model of perception.
Nick Baines has beautifully eviscerated the person responsible for it on his blog, so I merely pick over the carcass:
- I defy even the their greatest critic to read the four Gospels and not see a Man as engaged with the world around Him as He was with the world He claimed is to come, whether you see Him as deluded or not
- If Christianity was indeed a ship sailing nowhere and all about just hiding yourself away and mulling over scripture without ever putting it to work in the world around us, I suspect its membership past and present would be on a par with that of the Tufty Club.
- “His efforts to…make the Church relevant…” Ah, so even you acknowledge that his approach has something going for it.
- “[They] have no business in mainstream politics…” Everyone has business in mainstream politics. This is a democracy, where everyone gets at least a say, not some oligarchy where the only opinions that matter come from a self-regarding elite in Westminster and the media. How many times, I wonder, have Independent commentators lamented the woeful turn-out at elections, and cried out for more ‘engagement’? Just not Christian engagement, apparently.
- And once again, in a leader on this theme, no mention of the secular hypocrisy at the heart of it. Politicians want the Church of England to stay out of politics, while politicians continue to have a say in whom the Church appoints as its bishops. When it comes to clamouring for the separation of Church and State, atheists may be surprised at just how many Anglicans are egging them on.
- “This is no swipe at religion”. This is like Ron Jeremy holding a postage stamp over his manhood in the hope that he’s covered himself. Of course it’s a swipe at religion. How old do you think your average reader is? Six? You think religion’s stupid, its practitioners belong in a soundproofed cell whose key has gone missing and you only wish you could say so in a national newspaper. You know what? So do I. Your transparent sincerity, at least, I could respect.
- Justin Welby pleases both left and right with clever Wonga comments (blogs.spectator.co.uk)
- The Separation of Church and State (politicsfromthemiddle.com)
- British government asks church to take over thousands of state schools (religionnews.com)
- On the Claim that Separation Strengthens Religion (clrforum.org)
- Does “Separation of Church and State” mean “Separation of God and Government?” (christianlibertynews.wordpress.com)
- Wonga-bashing won’t save the Church of England (oup.com)
- The Archbishop, loansharks, and the media (khanya.wordpress.com)
- Archbishop of Canterbury, Wonga and Credit Unions (jochamberlain.wordpress.com)