I intended to post this blog first thing this morning; however, although Storm Irritating Imogen was little more than a windbag, a nameless wind all day blew away my wifi.
I do love it when I can say “I told you so!” I’ve ranted on before about modern persecution of devout Christians, haven’t I, and how terrifyingly secular our society has become. I have also tub-thumped about the need to support Christian marriage and Christian families, Now I have some big guns supporting me. The Pope and the Patriarch, no less. They may have had to meet in a Departure Lounge (or possibly an Arrival Lounge) in Cuba’s airport of all unlikely venues but that just shows that they clearly live in the same mad world we inhabit, which is encouraging.
Two of the points they made at the end of their discussions gladden my heart. Probably all the points they made are equally pertinent but I’m not up in schisms and heresies although I do remember coping with the Albigensians at some stage in history classes. These days world problems just leave me feeling both hopeless and helpless.
Here’s some of what they had to say.
“We observe that the transformation of some countries into secular societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom. It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not outright discrimination.”
That’s Britain for you. Secularisation is already so firmly entrenched in our society that I wonder how Christians can begin fight back. Given the restrictions and hurdles put in the way of free speech how are we going to achieve the Week of Evangelism the Archbishop of Canterbury has proposed for the week before Pentecost. I was quite serious when I asked, in an earlier blog, if I would be allowed to invite a group of teenagers to my house to talk about my faith.
I have already written about discrimination, in cases like that affecting the Asher Bakery in Northern Ireland. Is that an isolated case? Have other bakers, perhaps because they lack a supportive family or a supportive church, been too scared to make such a stand? In my North Wales valley it could well have been the Vicar and her “husband/wife” who wanted the cake decorated with Support Gay Marriage.
The Pope and the Patriarch also make a strong call for preserving the “natural family” based on marriage between a man and a woman, and the “right to life,” including opposition to abortion and euthanasia.
Well, of course they want to support natural families based on marriage between a man and a woman because common sense tells them, just as it does me, that it works. In addition there are plenty of sound studies to prove that that is still by far the best environment in which to bring up healthy, well-balanced children.
If that wasn’t enough to bring joy to my heart and a smug grin to my face here is Stephen Fry twittering what I, too, have written about* though I wasn’t quite as fluent!
“A stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended — worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know. It’s as nasty and unwholesome a characteristic as can be imagined. It doesn’t matter whether they think they’re defending women, men, transgender people, Muslims, humanists . . . the ghastliness is absolutely the same. It makes sensible people want to take an absolutely opposite point of view. I’ve heard people shriek their secularism in such a way as to make me want instantly to become an evangelical Christian.”
Don’t do that, Stephen. Many evangelical Christians can shriek just as loudly, and for the same “deeply offended” reasons. Become a quiet, old-fashioned, middle of the road Anglican. For one thing I think you would find the Psalms a wonderful antidote to Twitter.
To have two great clerics and a celebrity speaking out about three of my biggest worries is immensely encouraging. I shall continue to rant.
*see my blog ‘The sensitive liberals who would censor raindrops.’