I’m confused – not an unusual occurrence, I hear you cry, but when I tell you it’s caused by the government you might sympathise.
I was touched by David Cameron’s Easter message. “This is a special time of year”, he began. “This is the time when, as Christians, we remember the life, sacrifice and living legacy of Christ. The New Testament tells us so much about the character of Jesus; a man of incomparable compassion, generosity grade, humility and love. These are values that Jesus embraced, and I believe these are values people of any faith, or no faith, can also share in, and admire. It is values like these that make our country what it is; tolerant, generous and caring”, he goes on. “In the book of Luke, we are told that Jesus said, ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ – advice that when followed, makes for a happier, and better society.” Hurray, I do believe he’s got it.
On another occasion he said that he thought a ‘Christian’ fight back’ was taking place on several fronts, referring to the controversies over prayers at Council meetings and people wearing crosses at work. He thinks it a good thing that Christians are fighting back. It all seemed sensible. Now, don’t worry, I’m not getting all political and it certainly doesn’t mean that I think everything he says is sensible, but on this occasion he was talking about Christianity and its relationship with society, and this I am passionate about.
It does feel sometimes that there is an assault on Christianity; that there are certain elements that want to silence us. So this was all very helpful. At least it would have been if a couple of days later one of his own ministers hadn’t sabotaged his efforts when she declared, quite forcefully, that Christians do not automatically have the right to wear a cross at work and if their employer says they can’t they will just have to remove it or find another job. Lib Dem equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone says that Christians must be content to keep their religion for their own time. The reason for this ruling, which is being challenged in the European Court for Human Rights, is that it may cause offence to non-Christians.
Are we offended by a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf, or a Hindu woman’s bangles or a Sikh’s turban? No we are not, and in conversations with people of all groups, they aren’t concerned about us wearing a cross either. What is this all about? Is it a veiled attempt by atheists to keep all religions in the background, hoping to extinguish them completely?
As a young man said on the news this morning, “I wear the cross as a symbol that says I’m here for you if you want me to be.” There has been a Christian ‘fight back’ needless to say. There is a new campaign in the pipeline called ‘Not ashamed of the Cross’ and a Roman Catholic cardinal used his Easter address to encourage Christians to wear a symbol of their faith boldly and obviously. Rohan Williams said the other day that “the Anglican Church is bogged down in controversy. Should there be gay marriage. Or not; should women be Bishops, or not?” We all need to get back to the real message of Christianity and ditch the things that feed the atheist abuse of our faith.