Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The changing face of Christianity in Britain

Interesting article by Theo Hobson about the state of Anglicanism in Britain.

It has long been fashionable to talk about the religious decline in Britain, but whatever ground the Church of England has lost, the evangelicals are gradually filling the void. Christianity may have become less established, but at the same time, it's becoming more assertive.

As can be seen with the recent storm over the wearing of crosses at BA, nothing makes religion thrive more than the feeling of persecution.

Being an honest broker in a conflict sometimes means taking sides

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams has come out with some extraordinary comments over the past few days:

During the weekend, he accused Tony Blair and George Bush of endangering the lives of thousands of Christians in the middle east because of their attack on Iraq. He also blamed Israel's policies for making life impossible for the Christians in Bethlehem, saying that the Israeli-built wall around Bethlehem symbolised what was “deeply wrong in the human heart”.

Rowan William's comments go to illustrate just how deluded and simplistic "peace campaigners" are. They believe that where there is a conflict, both sides must be equally at fault. In reality, conflicts are never that simple. Israel is suffering daily provocation from a Palestinian authority that denies their right to exist (and who are fighting amongst themselves as well as their enemy), Israel simply doesn't have a peace partner right now.

Or course the people who Rowan Williams failed to criticise were the Islamic extremists who make the lives of Christians so intolerable in the first place (As Ruth Gledhill mentions in her blog, Israel's Christians suffer no such hardship).

It is worth noting that life was getting harder for Christians in the middle east long before the attack on Iraq, but this will be of no interest in Dr Williams. In his mind, and in the mind of so many other "peace campaigners", once the Israeli Palestinian conflict is solved, all the middle east's problems will somehow disappear. In fact the opposite is the case: Until the inhabitants of the region can grow out of a mindset that glorifies violence as the solution to all problems, there can be no political settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Monday, December 25, 2006

You don't have to celebrate Christmas to love this time of year

If you went to India, you wouldn't expect Indians to downplay Diwali, if you were in Israel you wouldn't expect the authorities to ban public Hanukkah lighting, so why do officials in Britain and America where over 80% of the population are Christian feel the need to ban any public commemoration of Christmas?

There seem to be two forces at play here. First there are the do-gooders, like the official of Riverside, California who told the local high school choir not to sing Christmas carols during an ice skating show featuring Olympic medalist Sasha Cohen -- out of concern the skater might be offended because she's Jewish. And then there are the secularists, who are offended by any public display of religion, and who refuse to send out cards that say "Merry Christmas".

I'm not a Christian and I don't celebrate Christmas, but I love the atmosphere of goodwill, the decorations, the festive banter, and the fact that for one day of the year, the entire country shuts down.

So why can't all you killjoys do everyone a favour and lay off Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

More and more people emigrating from Britain

The Times recently reported that more and more Indians are opting to leave the UK for India.

There are already over 5 million Britons living abroad, and now it seems, even the immigrants are leaving. If Britain's political establishment had an ounce of common sense, it might ask itself why so many want to emigrate. There are the obvious reasons, such as the bad weather, overcrowding and high property prices. But there are also the political reasons: spiralling crime, high taxes, big government, substandard public services, poor education, and Islamic extremism.

People can vote with their feet as well as at the ballot box. And that's exactly what Britain's most talented citizens are doing, and in their thousands. Can politicians really afford to take them for granted?