21 April 2012

Urbi et Orbi

Always wanted to throw that line away in some chat or chapter and today is my chance.

Lovely Clifford and Avis Owen are in town - I believe the correct address is 'Doctor the Rev'd Clifford Owen' but I will consult Debrett's - and a reunion luncheon arranged just round corner to which the faithful will bring food 'n' flagon. My kind of Saturday knees-up.

I shall engage both former and present vicars in light discussion and then casually chuck some plundered points from Charles Moore's Spectator's Notes for 7 April.

I've been drawing from both paras all week, and with good effect:

"It is interesting that David Cameron sends out an Easter message each year.

Such a thing is a symptom of the decline of Christianity. When Britain was a Christian country, no prime minister would have thought it necessary (or proper) to speak urbi et orbi.

Today, Easter takes its place alongside Eid, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah, Gay Pride etc as a day for which No. 10 issues public blessing.

Mr Cameron is at pains, however, to speak of Christians as ‘we’ and to remind everyone that the nation has ‘an established faith [the more accurate word ‘Church’ is avoided] that together is most content when we are defined by what we are for, rather than defined by what we are against.’

This is an excellently Anglican way of looking at things, and I am sure Mr Cameron is sincere. But it is also his positioning for when he tries to introduce homosexual marriage — ‘I am for it,’ he is implying, ‘you are against it. Therefore my approach is more Christian than yours.’"

The other has been a leetle more difficult to slot into my Corfu conversations but has worked splendidly on Facebook with my former Amazon co-workers back home in Seattle:

"The Prime Minister is right that Christians should not waste all their energies opposing things, but he does not realise how difficult he is making it for them to follow his rule.

Most past reforms in relation to homosexuality — decriminalisation, age of consent, even civil partnerships — may or not be opposed by Christians but they are not central to any religious understanding of society.

Gay marriage is different, because it is not merely a matter of extending rights to minorities. It is the abolition of the idea — central to civilisation throughout history — that marriage is for a man and a woman.

It is a profound redefinition for which there is no direct warrant in any mainstream religious teaching ever. Marriage is a social institution, not a private one, and so Christians cannot simply say, ‘You do what you like and we’ll do what we like’: their concept of marriage is inextricable from their view of society.

For this reason, they would be bound to oppose polygamy, and the argument against gay marriage is equally strong. The secularist retort is ‘Stuff you, why should you decide?’ and it is one that has some force in modern circumstances.

But this is not Mr Cameron’s line: He loves the via media and said this week that he opposes secularism, yet he has made himself the prisoner of the secular dogmatists."

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