Skip to main content

Are Christians Persecuted in the UK?

A number of 'senior' Bishops (one retired and a couple of others) it seems have written to the Daily Telegraph to suggest that Christians in the UK are persecuted. There will be some who nod furiously and agree whilst others have already said: I'm doing fine thanks!'

This issue comes up again and again. And its early on a Sunday- and I haven't had caffeine- but this is what I think I might think.

I'm not sure persecution is the right word, but I do think Christians are treated differently. And if I am honest I think the very system that has spawned Bishops is partly to blame. That system evokes the notion that somehow Britain is a Christian nation: and so the cultural expression of our faith is all muddled in. Thats not the case yet with other faiths- and so the outward culturo- religious signs of faith in Sikhism and Islam etc are more understood. In Christianity's case- if that is your cultural background and you have junked it- then why assume others haven't.

There is also the very present reality that Christian faith doesn't have many outward signs other than 'fruit of the spirit'- against which you cannot legislate.

I've sat in sessions (on race equality) where it has been deemed acceptable to sweepingly say that all churches are empty and that Christianity is dead (20 new BME led churches in South Leeds just now!). Christians ARE treated differently. But part of our problem is that we want to be treated preferentially. We assume everyone understands and that we are somehow part of the fabric of the nation. On many levels we no longer are and need to grasp hold of that.

At the start of Holy Week we face the same choices as the crowd on Palm Sunday. Who will we be: the people who will follow Jesus when it is popular and not dangerous- the ones waiting for a King who will rule the nation. Or are we the Pharisees: trying to get Jesus to quieten his followers so we don't get in bother with the Roman rulers? We get to preserve our privileges but truth is crushed. Or will we follow Jesus- through the controversy and agony of Holy Week to understand our God who suffered and died ingloriously that His glory may be revealed.


Popular posts from this blog

NO MORE MAGIC BULLET- or why I have stopped watching the West Wing

I love the West Wing. It still rates as one of the most well informed and influential series of the genre. Its speeches have been stolen by people who have osmosed its hope for a better way of doing politics. When we watch it today it holds a very particular kind of resonance because it demonstrates a civility that has been drowned in a sea of hate. It has positive images of a wrestled out faith, is rich with camaraderie and pith and is just good telly.
But its bad for me. 
It pains me to admit this, but the West Wing makes me think I can change the world in a way that is simply not helpful. 
It holds out the present hope that the world can turn on a single conversation. With the brave statement or right turn of phrase one might change the debate, and in turn might change the world entire. The moment in the Oval where they realise that if they take no credit they can save social security. The moment where Donna remembers to pay welfare payments. The realisation that all the NATO people a…

A very dull post about what I do with my time...

Each year I take a calendar month and record what I do in it. I break each day into twenty minute chunks and note down what happens in each twenty minute block. I don’t do the same for designated Sabbath time (nor do I note each bit of time outside of the beginning and end of a working day, no-one needs to know how long I clean my teeth for).
I categorise each thing that I do (an imperfect science) with a view to getting a handle on what I do with my time. 
This year I did the audit in November (as clergy I always avoid doing this in Lent, Advent or August). 
So- what did I discover?
I work around 55 hours a week. (thats up one hour from last year) That work is spread over five and a half days. The only sabbath day that was interrupted by work was about processing a painful meeting.  Of 26 working days, I worked 12 evenings.
In terms of what I do:
In November 17% of my time was taken up with prayer, reading and learning. Thats a slightly false read as I had a 48 hour away time in there. Prayer…

Falling out with Football

Some of my earliest memories are of Sunday mornings. There was one which seemed to involve being in a big hall colouring pictures, but I didn’t much like that, so the memories that have stuck are of sitting outside. Now, I love outside, it calms me, so pretty much any outdoor activity would have held some thrall for my turbulent child self. But the family Sunday activity was football.
When I was very small my Dad played. He was past his glory days by the time I can remember. The cartilage in his knees had run out before the rest of his body- and so much of my memory of him was as he “ran the line”.I’m pretty sure he sometimes did that in wellies, but its been a long time.
Sunday football was part of our life. We would go to the game and then mum would join us as we had drinks at the social club next door. It’s why I drank beer from the age of eight and could snaffle my way through about a thousand calories of crisps in a sitting.
And then we would go home, have a massive roast and w…