Glasgow seemed not to know, or didn’t think it mattered, that verses from the Quran, which specifically deny the divinity of Christ, were recited during an Epiphany Eucharist.
Now, an Imam has opened an Exhibition in Gloucester Cathedral with an Islamic call to prayer.
This interfaith event included Buddhist chanting, Rasta drumming, and a Pagan rock band, as well as input from Zoroastrians, Druids, Witches, Pagans, and Baha’i. Fine, on neutral ground, but not in a cathedral which has been dedicated to Christianity since the 11th century. The Reverend Ruth Fitter, vicar of St. Paul and Stephen Church, who helped to arrange the event, thought the call to prayer was “absolutely beautiful.”
I long ago reached the stage when, if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry and it’s certainly easy to laugh. One blogger mentioned Ruth Fitter’s pink hair. The incomparable Mrs Proudie, on Archbishop Cramner’s blog had her Archdeacon describe Ms Fitter as a “muddle-headed yoghurt-knitting kumbaya-merchant” hosting “a multi-kulti-fest, where all other faiths are exalted and our own is side-lined.”
Actually, it’s even worse than that. Ms Fitter says she thinks an event like this encourages “Christians to embrace all religions rather than spread the gospel in any way.” That’s not side-lining Christians; it’s putting us right in there with Druids and Pagans and, of course, Witches. In an interview with Gloucestershire Live she tries to explain her own faith.
“I happen to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to dwell with me and save me from my sins. That doesn’t mean I expect others to change their faith or believe wholeheartedly.” That seems a bit wishy-washy woolly to me, and is followed by a gloriously naïve statement. “It does mean, however, that I hope they will offer me the same respect as I seek to offer them.” Given the well documented evidence of the hideous persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East and in many parts of Africa I don’t think her expectations are going to be met any time soon.
As for her final comment—I don’t know what to make of it.
“At the end of the day, we really make God very small if we think he cares about us fighting the corner for Him. Don’t you think He can do that for himself?”
In fact it makes me wonder what on earth ordinands* are taught these days. I’m told that a group of ordinands were recently visiting a church in Cardiff, just to look around, when one woman asked the Vicar, ‘What is this Evensong they keep going on about?”
*My spell-checker doesn’t recognise the word ‘ordinand’ although it knows organogram. Why doesn’t that surprise me?