(Hat-tip to Nick Baines) Writing in the Daily Mail, Archbishop John Sentamu tackles the rapidly growing intolerance towards Christianity in 'Christian' Britain (talk about an 'own goal'). Here's an excerpt:
"Asking someone to leave their belief in God at the door of their workplace is akin to asking them to remove their skin colour before coming into the office. Faith in God is not an add-on or optional extra.
For me, my trust in God is part of my DNA; it is central to who I am and defines my place in the world. It informs my whole life, not just a weekly service on a Sunday.
It is the failure to grasp this basic understanding of what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ that lies at the heart of the problem of which these two cases are just symptoms.
There is a deep irony at work here, and not simply because the first free schools and hospitals operating in this nation were run by the churches in our land.
Those who display intolerance and ignorance, and would relegate the Christian faith to just another disposable lifestyle choice, argue that they operate in pursuit of policies based on the twin aims of 'diversity and equality'.
Yet in the minds of those charged with implementing such policies, 'diversity' apparently means every colour and creed except Christianity, the nominal religion of the white majority; and 'equality' seemingly excludes anyone, black or white, with a Christian belief in God.
This was strikingly illustrated in the recent case of the dedicated foster mother who had cared for foster children for more than 20 years, but who was recently struck off by her local council. What was her crime? Did she harm or allow harm to be caused to her ward?
No. Rather because her 16-year-old foster daughter decided - of her own volition - to convert from Islam to Christianity, the local authority struck the foster mother from its list of approved carers."
You can read the whole here.
For Kiwi Anglicans Sentamu reminds us that our planning towards the bicentenary of Samuel Marsden preaching the gospel for the first time on NZ soil in 1814 could incorporate some vigorous historical study. We may not be quite as 'Christian' in our heritage as Britain, but the predominant religious influence on Aotearoa NZ since 1814 has been Christianity.
Sentamu is something of a 'Johnny come lately' to this point of view, having just said in December that 'the C of E must serve other faiths': http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article5295533.ece
Meanwhile, his boss has just said that the UK is coming round to his thinking that some accommodation with Sharia is 'inevitable'. Of course it is, when leaders are spineless, the punditry have committed 'trahison des clercs' (see how Geert Wilders was kept out of the UK), and the residual religion of the indigenous population has been gradually wiped away. The social workers who returned the baptized ex-Muslim to her parents (her father had allegedly beat her and threatened to send her to Pakistan to be married off) were only anticipating what Rowan Williams sees not far off.
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