I like David Cameron and believe he is genuinely sincere in his desire to make Britain a generous nation where we care for one another and where people of faith may exercise their beliefs fully.
But it was a bit rich to hear that the Prime Minister has told religious leaders that they should ‘stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation’ when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way.
At his pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders, he said that he supported Christians’ right to practise their faith. Yet many Christians doubt his sincerity. According to a new ComRes poll more than two-thirds of Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority’
Of course, in a very real sense, he’s right. Barely a day goes by without a story appearing in the papers about the latest outrageous incident whereby people wearing crosses are spat at in the street and beaten up, where job applications are rejected because people are compelled to declare on their forms that they are Christians, where churches are blown up, and where you hear of the latest dawn raid by MI6 on the homes of Christians to cart the senior male (as the head, of course) to be subjected to enhanced coercive interrogation techniques about when the last time they received the Lord’s Supper was.
This is, of course, bullshit.
George Carey is a member of that most ugliest manifestation of (non-)religious belief, the Evangelical. Not to be confused with evangelistic, which is merely about a desire to proactively tell people about something, the Evangelical theological position – whether it’s Christians’ like George Carey or Joel Edwards, Muslims’ like those of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the positions of Orthodox Jews, or Atheists’ such as Richard Dawkins – has difficulty coping with dissenting points of view; the Evangelical position has its 10-point document containing all the necessary Articles of Faith, all of which must be accepted by the believer without discussion in order for the believer to be accepted – there are no shades of grey, no opportunities for the believer to question whether some things should be taken literally or metaphorically, and all those who do not sign up to the complete package unquestioningly are defined as not part of the group. Most Evangelical protestant churches do not participate in ecumenical church groups and associations, because they consider the other churches as not being proper Christians, and thus heretical. And they especially hate Catholics.
Allied to the convincement that they are Right and everybody else is Wrong is the persecution complex. The Evangelical position, by nature of its self-convincement of its absolute rightness, considers that everybody else should be an adherent, and indeed more extreme forms consider that the Evangelical position should not be merely protected but mandated by the State, with the most extreme forms wanting all other views prohibited by the State. So when the State does not comply, they declare themselves persecuted and marginalised.
Of course, when it comes to making idiotic statements, George Carey does have form:
- “I don’t believe in blessing same-sex relationships because frankly I don’t know what I’m blessing”,
- “Immigration must be kept under control if we are to retain the essentials of British society that have been built up over the generations. … If this scale of immigration continues, with people of different faiths, cultures and traditions coming here, what will it mean to be British?”,
- “there will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths”,
- “This country is particularly good at manufacturing tanks and one thing and another”,
- “immigrants must understand the UK’s culture, including parliamentary democracy which is built upon Christian heritage”,
- “gay marriage would be ‘cultural vandalism‘”.
And then there’s his involvement in the Not Ashamed campaign.
At least now the current Government is continuing the progressive policy started by the previous government of reversing the institutionalised persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians, but of course the current Government is persecuting and marginalising other Christians. Who? Yep, the poor, the disabled, and the immigrant Christians.
You’d think the former Archbishop of Canterbury would have something to say about those, rather than continuing banging on his own now-minority views about marriage equality.