Christian Values 147


Nadira has been refused the hire of our local church hall in Ramsgate for rehearsal because Medea is “Greek” and “Pagan”. I had thought that the Church of England had come fully to terms with the classical world since before Gibbon. And we are talking the church hall, not the church.

It is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion. Promoting intolerance is not what the Church of England is for. It is still an established church – do we really want a state church that bans Euripides? I fear for some reason the CofE feels a need to compete with the lunatic evangelist establishments which attract large congregations and promote miracles, speaking in tongues and other arrant rubbish. Oh dear.


147 thoughts on “Christian Values

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  • Tom Welsh

    “It is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion”.

    Nicely put! I quite agree.

  • John Hunt

    Preaching intolerance is what churches do best. My imaginary friend is better than yours and other self-righteous nonsense.

    I’m wondering how my atheist 6 year old will fair in the “Egyptian Club” run for a week in the holidays at the local church. She’s only there because two of her friends are going. The Bible Study bit is tagged on at the end of a long list of art and craft activities which made her almost salivate at the prospect of unlimited paper, scissors and glue.

    I wonder if she too will be refused for being non-religious…not pagan though, that seems a bit too organised for my liking.

  • Dunc

    “It is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion.”

    Thanks Craig, that’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all week! And so true…

  • JimmyGiro

    I think it’s a symptomatic reaction to ‘New Atheism’ and moral relativism. The C. of E. was a sleeping dog that has been systematically kicked by the left in their blind pursuit of destroying British culture.
    .
    As an old atheist, I feel more sympathy, indeed empathy for the Church, than I do for these Marxist-Feminist 5th columnists. It’s a pity the C. of E. lacks the focus and discipline of a sensible attack, and so innocents like Nadira and Greek literature, are made to suffer.

  • Frazer

    Bunch of crass arsed PC pricks.
    Why don’t you stand outside on a Sunday with a big sign and ask the congregation what they think. Alternatively remind these idiots that thier entire belief system is based on pagan rituals. Can’t believe it.. useless bunch of upper class twats.
    Makes me so mad !!!!!

  • Tom Welsh

    I wonder what the Archbish would think? Whatever his shortcomings, Rowan Williams strikes me as a cultured person. And he must be just around the corner (when he’s home from London, that is).

  • Peter Neary-Chaplin

    Completely agree with your main point, Craig. It might even be illegal under equality legislation to refuse facilities on the grounds of religion (cf recent B&B cases), unless the CofE have some kind of exemption.

    That said, there is self-righteous nonsense everywhere, mostly among fundamentalists, even of the atheist variety.

  • Wikispooks

    Promoting intolerance is not what the Church of England is for.
    .
    It may indeed be “Not what it’s for” in popular imaginings, but in the real world it, and it’s established and establishment cousins are the unrepentant past and current masters at doing just that – when they think they can get away with it, and the interests of powerful patrons are involved.

    The Canadian holocaust (with the United Church of Canada, RC, and Anglicans mostly in the driving seat) are perhaps the most egregious current examples of REALITY – and it is still largely unknown because of vehement, indignant, puffed-up holier-than-though denials on the part of white congregations and their powerful corporate and state patrons.

    I really am surprised you are surprised.

  • Jon

    I recall my local church, where I was obliged to attend as a child, refusing a yoga class on the basis of its “Buddhist” connections. The vicar there was an angry fire-n-brimstone type from Zimbabwe, and these days I think most moderate CofE types would regard him as “a bit much” (which is, of course, polite code for “nutter”).

  • angrysoba

    “I think it’s a symptomatic reaction to ‘New Atheism’ and moral relativism. The C. of E. was a sleeping dog that has been systematically kicked by the left in their blind pursuit of destroying British culture.”
    .
    The C of E has long been at the spearhead – or flaccid rubber dagger-head – of moral relativism and “Ooooh, would you be awfully greivously offended if I believed in Jesus and God because I do know that you have other beliefs incompatible with mine and I apologize deeply and would indeed convert to your own religion if I didn’t think it would greivously offend other Anglicans and people of other faiths…blah…blah…blah” like that current archbishop of Canterbury. Mr Bean?
    .
    “I recall my local church, where I was obliged to attend as a child, refusing a yoga class on the basis of its “Buddhist” connections. The vicar there was an angry fire-n-brimstone type from Zimbabwe”
    .
    Those were the days. If you are going to have a religious type there’s no point in them NOT being a fire-and-brimstone burn-the-infidels type. These days even the Catholic Church is going as limp as the Prods. All praise belongs to Allah for the foam-flecked, swivel-eyed Ayatollahs who are still centuries away from that slide into ecumenical wimpiness.

  • Richard

    Many Church Halls double as Village Halls, so it would be interesting to know whether this one receives a subsidy from the Local Council (other than the usual exemptions from community charge etc.)

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Actually, the broad-minded C of E vicar does still exist, thank goodness (or even possibly, arguably, God), and I think the current Archbishop of Canterbury is a jolly good fellow, an intelligent interlocutor in the best sense of that term and an excellent all-round egg. He has a strong social conscience and isn’t afraid to show it. How one would love to take tea with him! Actually, I think this is one of the really good things about England. “God is a concept…” (to quote John Lennon) which suffuses through the walls of a tea-bag and fills one with warmth and a modicum of healthful energy. Increasingly, however, over the past 30-40 years, such cosmic beings have been somewhat outnumbered by the tiresomely assertive “firebrand” Evangelicals within the C of E. I remember noting the transition during the early 1980s in the English village with which I had a long connection, when one of those missionaries returned from somewhere hot and exotic, probably Africa, to replace the vicar who was retiring. Whereas before, we’d had plus-fours, rusty bicycles, buck teeth (I kid you not!) and broad and deep learning, tolerance and human compassion, all of a sudden, we had pro-Israel propaganda material (again, I kid you not) and a cold, guarded narrow-mindedness. The old, learned vicar is buried in the churchyard right next to the stone, Saxon foundations of the church door-jamb… what a lovely man he was! I will always remember him with fondness and respect.

  • Guest

    “Church of England” “Christian Values”
    .
    The Church of England is just an arm of government, nothing to do with “Christian Values”. It`s sole purpose for existence is to keep the status quo of an unequal society by putting the fear of God into peoples minds. To make people think that the pageant and divine right of monarchy to rule us has God`s blessing.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Oh, I ought to have said that yes, Craig I think it’s hilarious, annoying and sadly emblematic of the trend of Evangelicalism within the C of E that permission to perform Medea has been refused. Syncretism is out; fundamentalism is in. A great pity, in my view. My goodness, I remember the Harvest Festivals of old (late 1960s) when the vicar was virtually enacting a pagan ritual himself, with bushels and flowers and fruit and branches and yellow robes. Or was that Easter? Ah well. But tell me, does she get to chop up the children and laugh maniacally as she pops then into a pot? Now that might well appeal to the Evangelicals…

  • Vronsky

    “Promoting intolerance is not what the Church of England is for”
    .
    Indeed not, it was created by a king to allow a king a divorce. But that was a wee while ago but still, need is must when the devil drives. Promoting intolerance is where the market is now so – Darwinian forces and all that – the church sells what the people with money are buying. Poofs and bloody darkies, look out.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Precisely, Vronsky. Very well put. I see that the Church of Scotland’s Rev Colin Morton died very recently; there is an obituary in today’s Herald newspaper. The Rev Morton (whom I did not know) lived in Palestine and Israel for many years. He seems to me to have been a genuinely good man, committed to social justice, fair trade and peace. Here’s something from 2004, where’s he’s criticising the Evangelical Right:

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_2004_10_11_morton.shtml

  • Suhayl Saadi

    That’s interesting, Mary, thanks. Oh well, perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury has been more influenced by Evangelical attitudes within the C of E as regards ‘The Holy Land’ than I thought. C of E clergy have always struck me as generally being more pro-Israel than the minsters of the C of S. But that’s a dreadful generalisation.

  • CanSpeccy

    A church has a church hall to promote the business of the church, one would assume.
    *
    In that case, a church should clearly not permit the use of its hall for purposes that militate against its own business, which in the case of the C of E is promoting the Christian religion.
    *
    When you say that it “is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion,” you implicitly acknowledge that the proposed use of the church hall that the church found unacceptable is contrary to the church’s business of promoting the Christian religion.
    *
    Therefore, your entire argument is bollocks based on the usual liberal bigotry, and childish incomprehension of what a society is and how it works, or therefore, what the function of religion in society is.
    *
    The statement that the C of E was created by a king to allow a king a divorce is highly misleading. Henry the VIII was a devout Christian, as far as one can tell, and would have had no hesitation in sending for execution anyone who denied that the Church of England was anything but the true catholic church and that its mission was to instil the Christian faith throughout the nation.

  • Walk Tall Hang Loose

    Craig, I am very sorry that Nadira has been treated so badly by this particular congregation. As a lifelong Anglican, I have never come across any such intolerant behaviour in the church, and I am sure it must be very rare in all the mainstream Christian communities.

    While I cannot agree that the church should not take an interest in religion, it needs to get its religion right. There is nothing in the New Testament, nor for that matter in the lives of the saints or the writings of the church fathers, to condone such behaviour.

    I am saddened by the remarks of some of the other commenters who seem to have a prejudiced and uninformed attitude to the C of E. Here’s a challenge to you all. Attend your local parish church on Sunday (not Craig, of course: try the next parish); chat to the vicar and congregation members over coffee afterwards; if possible, go along to some of the informal mid-week activities. Then report back with your impressions.

    • Guest

      “report back with your impressions”
      .
      I did as you suggested a few months ago!. They were glorifying the invasion of Afghanistan!!!, I won`t be going back.

  • YugoStiglitz

    One of the many reasons that the U.K. should be much more like the U.S. and separate these matters.

  • Conjunction

    Whilst I enjoyed Angrysoba’s stirring display of crackpot reaction, I have to say that perhaps the C of E is right to be frightened by Medea. Euripides had a nice line in magnificent women about whose ‘evil’ he is at least ambivalent. Maybe the church, stressed out by female priests, is finally cracking up.

  • Paul Johnston

    YugoStiglitz!
    Please tell me you are joking?
    The theoretical separation of Church and State in the US is exactly that, a theory. I practice can you ever imagine a US President saying all this religious stuff is nonsense?
    As to Guest “putting the fear of God into peoples minds” get real!
    Who remembers the Not The Nine O’clock News “Apostles Creed” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUQcCvX2MKk

    • Anon

      Paul Johnston, it is you that should “get real!”. Imagine how a simple surf must have viewed a great cathedral when it was first built, what do you think the effect would have been. A simple surf who could not read or write, seeing for the first time a great cathedral, the people in all their fine brightly coloured clothing and gowns, reading from books and telling him he would never get to heaven if he disobeyed the commands of his master, there was another place for him if he did. It still works today, have we not just seen the pageant of monarchy. It all still has an effect on people, but then that from the beginning was its intended purpose.
      .
      This post was brought to you by the shock and awe corporation in business since the dawn of time.

  • Conjunction

    Yugostiglitz has a point. Canspeccy too, Henry VIII certainly was, or pretended to be a Catholic. But his daughter, in the nicest possible way instigated an insistent policy of state control of religion, so much so that the entire next century the country was in turmoil trying and eventually succeeding in ironing out the wrinkles in this new policy. Its basically a way of preventing people from thinking, Marx was right about that.

  • Peter Neary-Chaplin

    The church seems to be either rabidly fundamentalist or soppy and ineffectual. Beauty, ugliness, all in the eye of the beholder…

  • mark_golding

    I too feel sorry for Nadira who has great talent and well suited to play Medea. Greek tragedy is similar to a modern soap opera and I can only suspect the parochial council has focused on passion, love, and vengeance or maybe Medea’s filicide as unsuitable. Perhaps the adaption by Walt Disney may be more in tune with the Diocese!

    Try a church hall with a liquor/music license they appear to be more receptive at a price of cause.

  • CanSpeccy

    Conjunction, said: The teachings of the church are “basically a way of preventing people from thinking”
    *
    No, they do not prevent thought, they get people to think in a certain way.
    *
    Throughout its existence, humanity has lived in tribal or national groups that competed against one another. Each group has its own set of basic ethical beliefs, and in successful societies those beliefs promoted societal survival and competitive success.
    *
    These basic beliefs may not be recognized as religious. But they are in every case fundamentally irrational and serve the function of a religious creed.
    *
    With the transformation of Christendom to a society in which religious faith is mocked and despised, the West has not given up the self-righteous belief in the correctness of its beliefs. It has simply adopted a liberal, atheist bigotry that grows to match the insane self-righteous bigotry that drove the wars of religion in the 17th century.
    *
    Homophobia and other such crimes against liberal ethics may not be hanging offenses, but then liberal dogma precludes hanging anyone for anything. Otherwise, homophobes, sexists, those who take pride in their race and culture, together with opponents of the genocidal destruction of the nation state as a racial, religious and political entity would likely be among the first to the gallows.
    *
    That liberalism is not conducive to societal success seems evident from the collapse of Europe’s reproductive capacity and its inundation by immigrant groups with a religious creed that is highly intolerant of western liberalism.

    Future historians of the extinct European peoples, will marvel at the credulity of the intellectuals of the twenty-first century.

  • anno

    I was very excited by this week’s In Our Time about John Wyclif, who was criticising the lunacy of papism at the second half of the 14th century. What a hero. If he were alive today, he would be up with whatever Craig is at the top of this page.

    As for the C of E and paganism. A library I worked on at Southwell Minster had a perhaps Mithraic sacraficial stone altar block and an extremely mischievous imp statue in with the endless volumes of reformation disputations.

    This topic really exposes the contributors to this blog as a bunch of zombie morons. At least Yugo from St Louis believes in the American frontier God, who is only happy when he is shootin up the local tribes in distant frontier lands. Even Mr white-mans-burden himself, brother Frazer, has forgotten the missionary zeal by which the good book was traded for vast tracts of colonial land.

    I learned and performed the part of Philoctetes in ancient Greek, which I wish I had done the Holy Qur’an instead. But what a load of old nicoteney fag-ends scrounged from dustbins you lot are. What a bunch of nihilistic small-minded champagne fabians. If you can’t even respect the principle of excluding paganism from a Kentish Church hall, when Kent was at the front the reformation, it is difficult to see how you retain so much interest in your own high-minded whinges here.

    I agree with the padre – a load of atheist hypocrites one and all!

    • Jon

      Losing ones temper is the start of losing the argument… and insulting people isn’t going to convert them to your way of thinking either, I’d have thought. I am surprised that, given your opposition to Thatcherism on a recent thread (and elsewhere) you persistently duck the central problem – the configuration of economic system – and blame liberalism, feminism and anything that isn’t wholly accepted by your religion. Most of my points on capitalism and the irrelevance of feminism to this issue were left unanswered by you.
      .
      Still, it is nice that you get to exercise the (very liberal) idea of free speech. You can team up with CanSpeccy and assert the right to spout as much homophobia, misogyny, nationalism and religious nonsense as you like. I think that will open the eyes of the liberals most effectively! 🙂

  • YugoStiglitz

    Paul Johnston, no, but then I can’t imagine a British Prime Minister declaring that all the religious stuff is nonsense.

    It’s just very silly that U.K. government continues to fund faith schools and the Anglican sect.

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