You read yesterday’s “Oxford councillor thinks Passion play means sex show,” story. Christianity, it’s clear, is doomed in Britain – and here are a few reasons why.
1. The Prince of Wales
He’s the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England – a title the reigning monarch has held since the days of Henry VIII. But Prince Charles, who has always fancied himself a bit of an ecumenical mystic and likes nothing better than hanging about in Laurens Van Der Post desert type scenarios eating sheep’s eyeballs in Bedouin tents, is clearly a bit squeamish about being seen as an overtly Christian king. That’s why he has expressed the desire to change another of the monarch’s titles “Defender of the Faith” (as granted to Henry VIII by Pope Leo X in 1521) to the more politically correct “Defender of Faith.” If the future head of our Church wont defend our faith, who will?
2. The Church Commissioners
Bizarrely, they include David Cameron, Sajid Javid and irascible dwarf-impersonator John Bercow – and the problem is they run the Church like cheeseparing accountants who really don’t like the old traditions, or indeed religion, very much. Where they lost my vote completely was in their disgraceful behaviour towards the Bishop of Bath and Wells – who they decided shouldn’t live in the splendid Bishop’s Palace at Wells Cathedral, claiming the accommodation was “unsuitable.” What is the point of any ambitious person joining the clergy if, even when you get near the top, you are expected to live like a junior bank clerk.
3. Uninspiring vicars
Well they’re not all like Tom Hollander in Rev are they? Nor like that nice Richard Coles with his civilised Saturday Radio 4 show. And it’s not so much the fact that they’re all so achingly right-on that’s the problem – though, that is, of course a problem too – as that so many of them are such low-grade talents. Given the poor pay, dire accommodation and low social standing of the clergy these days this is hardly surprising. We’re trapped in a vicious circle: worse vicars, lower church attendance, poorer collection takings, worse vicars…
4. Sadistic vicars
There’s another kind of vicar – the kind that could put you off churchgoing for ever. They take advantage of the fact the ONLY way you’re going to get a chance of giving your child a half way reasonable education if you somehow get them into the local C of E school. And the only way of doing that is to be seen worshipping regularly at the attached church. This gives your local vicar enormous power: and God, does he (or she) know it. And abuse it. They make their services twice as long as they need to be, knowing they have a captive audience of trapped middle class parents who can’t escape for being put on a blacklist. But sadism, of course, is part of the fun. Clergymen – like social workers – loathe the middle classes. Torturing them is one of the few remaining pleasures they’re allowed.
5. Cultural relativism
Now that thanks to the late Woy Jenkins (currently being boiled eternally in Hell in a vast vat of grand cru claret while little devils whisper in Welsh in his ear how frightfully common he is) we’re all multiculturalists who celebrate diversity at every opportunity, we’re no longer allowed to privilege our established national religion as being in any way more special than all the others (Gaia-worship; Wicca; Islam; etc). Indeed we find even admitting that we’re a Christian country almost embarrassing, which is why when our kids today haven’t a clue about the five loaves and two fishes or the wedding at Cana, but can tell you everything you need to know about Eid or Diwali. So politically correct and pusillanimous is religious teaching in schools these days that my niece, at her largely white school, was taught in her classes that whenever she mentioned the name Mohammed she must follow it with the phrase Peace Be Upon Him. And when I mentioned this in The Spectator, her vindictive headmaster actually singled her out for embarrassment in her school assembly by commenting: “You can’t choose your family, eh?”
6. Tony Blair
Really when it comes down to it, everything is Tony Blair’s fault. In this case, his fault lies in his ludicrous claim while Prime Minister that “Britain is a young country.” What he was articulating here was a particular left-liberal mindset which sees the past as a threat which must be airbrushed from the national consciousness lest people look back at the old ways and see how much better than they were than the progressive values being rammed down our throat today.
The real tragedy of the decline of Christianity in Britain is not that we’ve lost our religion but that we’ve abandoned our culture. For at least 1700 years, the British experience was intimately bound with Christian tradition – from the churches we see in every village to our very language, which even now, uses many phrases taken from Cranmer’s Prayer Book and the King James Bible ( “till death us do part”; “movable feast”; “for richer for poorer”;thou”; “den of thieves”; “sheep’s clothing”; “woe is me”; “land of Nod”). Yet now we seem to find the whole business somewhat embarrassing.
Still, at least I’m going to be all right since I shall be taking my family to our local church this Sunday to celebrate our Lord rising from the dead. And I’m going to make sure to put in a good prayer for people like Tony Blair and all those lefty cultural relativists and crap trendy vicars to burn in hell, perhaps in the same torture area as Roy Jenkins.