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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  • angrysoba

    “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.”
    How about St. Cyril? He was a pretty intolerant type of guy. Hypatia was one of those smart independent women of Alexandria, a Neoplatonist philosopher, who had some theological disputes with fusty ol’ Cyril who thought that Plato and Aristotle were too Greek or something and so he gave the green light to have her killed by a mob:
    “One day, in March AD 415, during Lent, a Christian mob of Nitrian monks led by “Peter the Reader,” waylaid Hypatia’s chariot as she travelled home.[26] The monks attacked Hypatia, then stripped her naked, to humiliate her, then dragged her through the streets to the recently Christianised Caesareum church, where they killed her. The reports suggest that the mob of Christian monks flayed her body with ostraca (pot shards), and then burned her alive”
    Anyway, in the book I’m reading on Christianity, I’m just up to the bit about the Black Death (p.553):
    “Once the plague had begun retreating in intensity, there was a widespread impulse to build chapels and votive shrines on the part of the survivors wanting to express their gratitude (and perhaps guilt) for their survival, but while the plague still raged, there was an equally powerful impulse to seek someone to blame for God’s anger: either oneself, collective sin or some external scapegoat.”
    Hmmm… I’ll have to read on to find out precisely who gets scapegoated. No idea who that could be.

  • angrysoba

    Anno: “But what a load of old nicoteney fag-ends scrounged from dustbins you lot are. What a bunch of nihilistic small-minded champagne fabians.”
    I’ll have you know that this is no kind of insult towards those you may wish to insult and that these days you can find all kinds of nutritious meals scrounged from dustbins.
    Anno: “A simple surf who could not read or write”
    Pots and kettles! It’s “serf”. I would have let it go only you spelt it “surf” twice!
    CanSpeecy: “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.”
    Buuuuuuurn the blasphemer!
    “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.”
    So, presumably in the absence of gallows, homphobes, racists, “opponents of the genocidal destruction of the nation state” [sic] and ahem(!)…”those who take pride in their race” will get lengthy prison sentences instead. Oh no, they don’t do they!

  • Anon

    angrysoba, “serf”, correct. I am trying to have a conservation, check lotto numbers (on behalf of someone else) and write a post on here all at the same time…there again I am a “simple surf”, a clean one though.

  • joe kane

    It’s good to see the C of E keeping up to date with the modern world and doing its bit to stamp out the evils of paganism.

    I expect in a couple of hundred years time it will be preaching about the atheist evils of science.

    I’d love to see the play. Ancient Greek heroines are ace.

  • mark_golding

    That’s right Larry create a schism between identity and faith – God bless America. Let’s use religion to our advantage – let’s create fear because fear controls. Bush exploited conservative Christians to form his base. Good thinkin Dubya!

    Bush said. “But I want you to understand, I want your listeners to understand, I don’t get to get decide who goes to heaven. The Almighty God decides who goes to heaven and I am on my personal walk.” Hmmm – he went on to say:

    Bush said, “Muslims,
    I think they pray to a false God, otherwise they wouldn’t be killing … like they have been.” Hmmmm Killing?

    It seems to me the United States of America stands in a relationship to God that sets it apart from other nations as a kind of chosen people. Such a belief remains significant in American life, whether explicitly articulated or, more frequently, as a subtle feature of the way many Americans think about their nation and its role in the world. It seems to be an aspect of their president’s faith.

    In any countries role in this world I believe there *is* a moral dimension to international relations and to any nation’s foreign policy. But there is a difference between a morally informed foreign policy and a messianic-redemptive foreign policy America is pursuing today. It is underwritten by a disastrous misreading of the theological meaning of America.

    A slant or insight at this misreading here:

    Kinder weird.

  • CanSpecy

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

    And no doubt Yugo is as contemptuous of Israel’s support for religious institutions, particularly Orthodox Jewish ones and for its legal oversight of the structure and goals of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Or perhaps not?

  • Canspeccy

    Angy said, “Buuuuuuurn the blasphemer!”
    Yes, indeed.
    This is what the US and allies have done and continue to do in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, etc., except they call them terrists, not blasphemers — about a million of the bastards in Iraq alone.
    But they really are blasphemers. Blasphemers against the religion of liberal democracy.
    These wretched infidels want to go on living as they have for the last thousand years or more, with none of this gender equity and girls’ education that liberals are determined to foist upon them.
    As for the home-grown blasphemers, they are subject to the laws of political correctness, which deny them the right to organize politically, to educate their children in the beliefs they hold dear, etc.
    And jobs can be lost over the careless use of language. One police officer, I seem to recall, lost his job or was threatened with the loss of his job for using the word “niggardly” in public.
    LOL. Liberals can be not only ridiculously bigoted but unbelievably stupid.
    Even membership of a legal political party can be a firing matter, as in the case I recall of a school teacher who belonged to the entirely legal BNP.
    And in much of Europe is it not an inprisonable offense to state many things that are in fact true?
    For example, under anti-revisionist laws, it is, I believe, an offense in France to deny that Hitler was responsible for the WWII Katyn Massacre of Polish army officers — even though the Russians have now admitted and apologized for the crime — or to deny that six million Jews were gassed by the Nazis — a claim that Raoul Hilberg, a Jew who devoted his Career at Columbia University to the study of the Jewish Holocaust, firmly rejected.
    So what was it again that you said so distinguishes the religious bigotry of the 16th century and the bigotry so often revealed by those engaged in today’s culture wars?
    But it is fascinating to have confirmation of the inability of of liberals to see themselves, in all their self-righteous conceit, as others see them.

  • Canspeccy

    Ha, yes you can definitely be incarcerated for offending against the liberal code, even if you’re only a kid:
    A TEENAGE girl was questioned by police after allegedly making a racist remark to Asian students in the classroom.
    The 14-year-old pupil had refused to take part in a science tutorial with five other students at Harrop Fold High School, Salford, after claiming they didn’t speak English.
    After questioning by police she was released without charge but the school say they are investigating the matter.
    Her mother said: “She was not being racist. She was in a science lesson and the teacher split them up into discussion groups.
    “She asked to be taken out of her group because the other five students were Asians and four didn’t speak English so there was no point in her being with them. When she pointed this out to the teacher she was accused of being racist.
    “The matter was referred to the community police officer based at the school and she was taken to the police station and kept in custody for over six hours while they questioned her.”
    Head Dr Antony Edkins said: “An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark by one student towards a group of Asian students new to the school and this country.”
    Source: Manchester Evening News

  • anno

    Canspeccy: ‘Blasphemers against the religion of liberal democracy.’ I like it. You are right, this lot can’t see the incongruity between love of their religion of liberal democracy, and the violence with which it is pursued by their fellow believers against Muslims. You expose them, for which the punishment will be to be ignored.

    With regard to obedience to law, the power of USUKIS, in terms of military might, is never ever regarded by Muslims as ‘authority’, any more than Churchill would have regarded Hitler as having authority. Muslims may have a legal obligation to adhere to UK law while they are living in this country, but they do not have to regard it as a moral authority. Even these bloggers refuse to acknowledge the existence of God, so how could their violent priest-class-rulers be regarded as having authority?

    And they have a duty to oppose UK law when it forces them to do anything which is Haram, such as usury and personal insurance. This is called in Christian Quaker parlance a ‘concern’. Something which takes you against your core, Biblically-sourced beliefs. If your existence in the UK forces you to commit Haram, you definitely don’t have a right to stay here and use the environment as an excuse for accepting this Haram.

    After reading the comments of the above devotees to the religion of liberal democracy, I’m not sure I want to live here anyway. Nazis, all of them.

  • Canspeccy


    I think most of us are blind most of the time to our own faults and the unconscious hypocrisy of our beliefs and actions.

    So let us try to be charitable toward these liberals.

    But at the same time, let us not abandon the effort to open their eyes — something I find thoroughly stimulating!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    It occurs to one that some of the attitudes displayed here exemplify precisely why it would be really exciting to have ‘Medea’ performed by an actress from Uzbekistan in a local church hall in deepest England. Christianity did not originate on the Isis or the Cam, it is a Levantine (or shall we say, ‘Middle Eastern’) religion and draws much of its essence from Hellenism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism and of course Hebraica – as well as from paganism (or Paganism). Medea, and the other Greek myths, are part of the ‘DNA’ of Christianity and contribute to the richness of its tradition. Oh, and my response to those like Anno who say “I don’t want to live here, I don’t recognise the laws… the commentators here… Nazis, all of them” (as opposed to, “I don’t agree with this or that law, I don’t agree with you, etc.”) is, well, frankly, why then do you remain here in Britain? Are you calling me a Nazi, Anno? Are you calling Craig a Nazi? Is Jon a Nazi? And really, if one wants to read ‘The Daily Mail’, with their monotonous tales of ‘how badly the white English are treated by those from the brown and black races and their fellow-travelling Marxist Femi-Nazis’, one can indulge oneself in blue-top heaven amply online or in hard copy. The other fascinating nexus demonstrated here is the natural common ground, the symbiosis, between Islamists and the Extreme Right (well, of course in essence both are actually Extreme Right). Imperialist wars, no thanks. Extremist religion, no thanks. Extremist nationalist politics, no thanks. The end result of all three is the same. I’d take Medea’s magic or Glykeria’s music, any day! Your loss, Ramsgate!

  • James Chater

    Craig, I am sorry Nadira has been treated like that. It might be worthwhile trying another church hall (if it is not too far away) as I am sure the views of the local vicar do not reflect those of the CoE as a whole.
    I used to be Anglican (now I am Christian Orthodox) and remember my Anglican days with a mix of affection (for the rituals, hymns, catholic ethos) and alarm (firebrand pro-Israeli evangelism, trite music and intolerance).
    Christianity already came to terms with the “pagan” or “pre-Christian” world in the early Middle Ages, and the Church Fathers thought of Plato and such as Christians. About Euripides, I don’t know…

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Precisely, James: Albertus Magnus, Aquinas… incidentally, it’s worth pointing out, especially in view of the tenor of some of the recent comments on this thread, that in terms of their incorporation of Hellenic thought into Christianity, these and many other ‘Scholastics’ drew enormously on the profound work of Arab philosophers such as the Spaniard, Ibn Rushd (Averroes). Syncretism is the verb of human civilisation.

  • Conjunction

    I can’t remember when I have enjoyed reading any thread so much. Partly because I love Greek tragedy, especially Euripides. Soap opera or not, I think the Greeks had something to say about relationships between men and women – especially Euripides – which belies the fact that women were seemingly treated as second – or even third – class citizens in Greece.

    I very much agree with Suhayl, yes Platonism certainly was part of the DNA of Christianity, and thanks for the lovely music.

  • CheebaCow

    The last time I was in Australia it was for a family funeral. The person who died was a Quaker and had been living in a community without an official Quaker meeting place. While helping to organise the funeral arrangements I drove around the surrounding area and found a beautiful little protestant (can’t remember the denomination) church hall. I contacted the top civilian who helped run the church and very politely explained that my family would like to hold a funeral service there for a Quaker. I was very taken aback when I had to first explain what a Quaker was to her (I actually felt embarrassed for her, and I’m not even a Christian) and then she uuumed and ahhhed before saying she would get back to me. She did call back, and let us know that we were not ‘Christian’ enough to use the hall (obviously not in those words). It was the local Anglican church that allowed us to hold a service in the main church building. I don’t even really know why I tell this story, I guess it just really surprised me to see such intolerance, when most of my exposure to religion has been with the progressive elements of Christianity (Catholic, Protestant and Anglican), Buddhism and Hinduism. Maybe I have just been very lucky not to have met many of those types of Christians before.

    BTW did anyone else have a WTF moment when watching the Kings Speech? About half way through I thought to myself “What the hell, the King has to abdicate the throne because he is the leader of the CoE and wanted to marry a divorcee when the reason for the CoE’s existance was so that the King of England could get a divorce!?!?!?”

  • Conjunction

    Incidentally, Angrysoba, there’s a great film about Hypatia came out not long ago called Agora.

  • Vronsky

    Finally figured out where the sensation of déja vu was coming from.

    Cricket on the village green, anyone? The ladies wil make tea, and there will be warm ale in the pub later.

    Yes, a terrible tale – Hypatia is the mathematicians’ martyr. The Christian mob went on to burn the library at Alexandria (plus ça change, apparently). The Muslims, misguided souls that they are, thought the contents were valuable and copied some of them out. Euclid’s Elements comes to us in Arabic.

  • Conjunction

    To stretch that a bit further, my understanding is that if the Arabs hadn’t got hold of the teachings of the Greek philosophers around that time, they would have been lost to the world. They kindly passed them back to us in the middle ages, (us being whitey) and we said, oh yes, we remember those, we’ll have a Renaissance, and maybe then a Reformation.

  • Paul Johnston

    Yes I agree funding “faith schools” is wrong but my daughter goes to a school called “St Pauls CoE”. Purely because it it the closest to where she lives and it is basically a nice school. They do a Christmas Play but fair to say the majority of the school are not Christian. They teach about all the major faiths but then leave it to the parents to pass on a religion if they want. I’ve seen no pushing of a particular religion unlike the Catholic school my wife taught at for a sort while. Basically as Craig said initially the CoE doesn’t get involved in this religious lark too seriously and when it does we seem a little taken aback.
    On the subject of some Christian churches issues with women you might want to look at St Augustine and the Manichæans.
    Finally who now is scared by the CoE?
    As to Anno and his/her great cathedrals I would guess the period of the really big flash ones preceeds the Reformation.
    The ones build by Protestants and especially Anglicans, rather than those taken over, are usually designed more to bring a contemplation of a personal god rather than “shock and awe”, or so I am told!
    Look at the churches of Nicholas Hawksmoor, nice but hardly frightening are they?

  • ingo

    I would go back to them and ask whether they prefer good publicity to bad, that, unless they change their stance to a new member of the community in Ramsgate, you will approach other clerics and that you will not let them get away with it.

    To refuse the fee has to be justified, imho, if it is advertised for hire he should have some sort of explanation, bar his religious/ moralising prejudices.
    Richards point is very valid, if they receive any monies from precepts, be it parish district or county council, they must justify this bias to their sponsors, equally I feel they also should explain why they refuse money for spurious reasons, why they see nothing wrong with lending their premises to all sorts of activities. You can ask for the hire list and have a look who else was hiring that wretched place.

    Lastly, what will the local press say to a new resident to Ramsgate being refused such hire and having to go to Margate instead? Do they really need such a slating on top of their meagre financial situation? I would go back to him and ask for an ‘audience’ dare I say, take a recorder.

  • AJ Finch

    Hi, Craig,

    I’m a big fan, but I don’t think you’re quite right on this one.

    Would you take your shoes off in a mosque?

    If it’s the church’s hall then surely it’s their rules?

    I’m sure you’ll have a riposte to this – I await it with interest.

    Keep up the good work, and I hope Nadira finds somewhere for her performance.

    – AJ

  • angrysoba

    “Incidentally, Angrysoba, there’s a great film about Hypatia came out not long ago called Agora.”
    Thanks, I’ll look it up. I read on the Wikipedia page that there’s also a new novel, originally written in Arabic, that will be published in English soon called Azazel (I think!)
    Vronsky: “Yes, a terrible tale – Hypatia is the mathematicians’ martyr. The Christian mob went on to burn the library at Alexandria (plus ça change, apparently). The Muslims, misguided souls that they are, thought the contents were valuable and copied some of them out. Euclid’s Elements comes to us in Arabic.”
    Ah yes! I thought she might have some resonance with mathematicians. Also, while I am always the first to give Islam its fair due (the Abbasid Caliphate was much more conducive to the philosophy of Aristotle than the Christians and learning in general, apparently much of the features of modern universities were taken from the model of Al-Azhar and there were some top philosophers such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna)), I can’t give Muslims the credit for saving Euclid in the time of Hypatia what with there being no Muslims around at the time.

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