The Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow seems to have got his knickers in a twist and his bloomers in a bundle with a vengeance. I am appalled to learn of the abuse that has been thrown at him (by Christians?). I’m glad to know that the police were completely supportive — such hatred and intolerance have no place in Scotland, nor anywhere else. The protests continue to rumble on, however, including many thoughtful articles by leading theologians, who give very cogent reasons for their dismay and doubt. Never-the-less, I’m still left puzzled.
After a lot of ‘mulling’ I have come to the conclusion that what probably happened was that the Muslim reader automatically added the last three verses of Surah 19, the verses denying the divinity of Christ, although they did not appear on the printed order of service, because that’s the way she’d learned it and she was not thoroughly aware of the significance. That seems to me the most obvious explanation. In which case, the most common-sense thing would have been for Kelvin Holdsworth to issue an immediate apology. End of story for most people.
Mind you, I still think it was not a good idea to have a reading of the Quran on that occasion. I have been to many services where there have been representatives of several other faiths, some of whom have done readings or have said prayers. But never during a Eucharist service on a special day like Epiphany.
I have now read what Kelvin himself said on his blog, and I have also read all the comments and responses, though that particular page is now closed.
In this blog the Provost tried to justify himself. That’s rarely a good idea. There were also other remarks that I found a bit strange. For one thing he said he is gay. I didn’t know that and I can’t see why I should need to know it; how can that fact be relevant? Another odd thing he said in his comments was that he recites the Nicene Creed without crossing his fingers. Could someone, please, explain what on earth that has to do with anything? And a third thing that worried me—comments about choosing the ‘wrong’ tune for “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning” caused almost as much angst and discussion as the reading from the Quran. Perhaps it’s not just the Provost that’s got his bloomers bundled.
And now for something to raise a smile.