Saturday, 30 March 2013
Alternative Easter message: From deep inside the Tomb - thoughts on Christianity in the UK
Today former Archbishop George Carey has said that two thirds of Chistians feel like a persecuted minority (if only my 'killer question' hadn't been stifled at the local BBC election debate!).
The whole subject of Christian freedom in the UK is a minefield. It is impossible to say anything without offending someone or other even if you say the most anodyne, placatory things. Believers who say they have lost jobs and job opportunities because of discrimination regularly suffer character assassination.
There is so much disagreement on the subject of believers freedoms in the UK even among Christians. Many currently disagree with George Carey. When this subject gets into the news there are always a range of responses from within the Christian community. Culturally, Christians want to be Christ-like and unselfish so many will point to groups who are suffering to a greater extent - for example the poor, for example, needy people in other countries, for example, asylum seekers etc. This is a unique phenomenon particular to faith communities, a kind of tribal characteristic.
There are other Christians who don't want to rock the boat. So they will say that nothing is wrong because they are afraid that things will get worse. Fear is a powerful motivator (but kind of understandable when you take into account the history of Christian persecution and the existing persecution in other countries).
On top of this, aggressive secularists will always state that believers are complaining and whinging (the inference being that we are spoilt children). They say that Christianity gets preferential treatment as evidenced by the presence of bishops in the House of Lords and BBC (British Biased Corporation) treatment of Christianity.
Now the whole subject is getting linked to the gay marriage debate. It has to be said that there are many Christians who are not against gay marriage. There is a powerful argument for it - not least the call to love others. I am for gay marriage but understand that there is a reasonable argument against it. But the problem with Christians 'winning' the gay marriage debate is that we don't win at all. All that would happen would be that Christians get the blame for infringing on other people's freedoms. The only way to win that battle is to lose it. That way Christians can complain about the whole thing when it becomes law. And we don't get the blame.
We are not persecuted but there are huge biases against Christians in the UK, biases which are often encouraged by those in powerful positions.
What the country needs to make things better is a Christian revival. Please remember I said so at the time.
(Publish and be damned).