Thursday, January 25, 2007

The State of the Nation (UK)

I have been watching closely the debate around the Sexual Orientation regulations and its eventual outcome as I have previously blogged. The current debate between the Catholic/Anglican Church and the government over Adoption Agencies and Gay couples is but another part of it. It is good to see the two heads of the respective churches actually voicing a common view regardless of how 'Politically Incorrect' it is perceived. The letter written to the PM by the Archbishop of Canterbury is very balanced and respectful.

However there lies the problem, the church rarely unites and stands up for a common biblical principle. Most often various denominations clash over their beliefs ranging from the liberals to more conservative evangelicals. As much a we all tend to share a common belief, usually, around Jesus Christ everything else is up for discussion. It is this inconsistency and mixed messages, coupled with the churches compromises that seems to be what has caused such anger, frustration, resentment and vitriol from those who are not Christians when the church speaks publicly on issues.

The statements below are a few I took from the BBC website on the issue of the Catholic Church and its Adoption agencies not wanting to be forced to place children with Gay couples:

If the bible is to be taken literally, then one must accept the subservient role of women, an uncritical view of slavery and the racial supremacy of Israel.

who insist on the rights of the religiously insane.

Contrary to popular belief sexuality is not a choice and that is why I consider the discrimination against gay people worse.

And society should shun a useless, irrelevant church.

the faiths have to change with the change of the in values of a new world; different to the world in which all faiths were created in some 2000 years ago.

Why are the 95% who never go to church care about what the church wants to do?

Religions should not dictate or influence the law of the land but should observe it. They have been responsible for great injustices and prejudices in this world

So we are a tolerant society are we? Some of the above quotes are so prejudiced and wildly inaccurate it is staggering, sad and not a little concerning. The lack of understanding of what scripture actually says and how it applies to Christians is huge. I can understand non Christians having little understanding of scripture but when supposed Christians misquote the bible it is very sad indeed. I find it also very sad and upsetting when people blame Christianity for things blatantly un-Christian. There has been lots done in the name of Christ by fallen, sinful people that is deeply offensive to a true bible believing follower of Christ. The blame lies with the person not the faith.

Magistrate Andrew McClintock not being allowed to pass certain cases onto his colleagues is another example of the state of British tolerance and laws. This government in its eagerness to pass laws that stipulate just about everything we are allowed to say and do, so as not to offend some minority group, has got itself into a bit of a mess. This is a good case where different laws now clash. Again this press release shows him to be balanced and fair and not some ranting anti-gay fundamental.

The church does need to present a biblically consistent message and set of values. The Bible is the word of God and is Truth as much as that flies in the face of our post-modern liberal society. The Church has to stop compromising and pandering to cultural norms. If we are not seen to live what we preach then our message is hypocritical and seems discriminatory when we do stand up. The message should not be to the world 'you must live by these rules'. It should be that Christians try to live by what the Bible teaches and shows the world that actually it is far better to live under the protection of God's way of doing things. Along with the truth of sin, judgment and redemption through Christ. It is for God to judge unbelievers, Christians are called to live lives holy and pleasing to God which means not compromising with the worlds values where the two clash, in the world but not of the world. Yes, we are called to live under the law of the land, unless it calls for us to go against a greater law. The two stories in Daniel 3 and Daniel 6 are very relevant to this issue.

However this is becoming very difficult and I believe we will see more and more that Christians and other faiths will be asked/forced to compromise their beliefs. We will be given a choice, go against the law of the land or chose to honour God. This is exactly the kind of persecution Christians are facing around the world in countries that have no illusion of free speech and are oppressive and brutal regimes, not mentioning any names like China and North Korea to name but a few, oops I did!

What is this country coming to, where are we going as a nation? With Nationalism in the headlines between Scotland, Wales and England and not forgetting Northern Ireland. The shocking idea that with all this multiculturalism we might be losing our national identity so the answer, lets teach what it means to be British to school children, 'core British values'. But what does that mean in 2007 in 'Great Britain'. Am I English, British, European? Am I middle class? What does our culture stand for. I keep hearing from the politicians that it means, fairness, tolerance, respect etc... but I don't see this.

These racism rows over Big Brother and Shipwrecked show another direction this country is going in. I have already commented on BB enough but the Shipwrecked one is a little different. There have been hundreds of complaints over what an 18 year old naive sheltered girl said to the other contestants. They all squarely condemned what she said and no one was saying she was right to think those things. It will be a tragedy if the show or channel has its knuckles wrapped over it. Not because of the show, which is total garbage, but if no one is allowed to broadcast any other view than what is deemed PC at the time then how can any debate be had. Who, on this earth, has the right to tell us what we can think or say? She blurted out a stupid, ignorant statement and got lambasted for it by the other contestants. Hopefully she will learn from it and grow up.

But please let us stop being so thin skinned that the slightest comment that we disagree with offends us so much we demand action be taken and heads to roll. A lot of the what is deemed normal behaviour in this country offends me as a Christian believer but it doesn't make me want to complain and demand that it be stopped. If I watched a program on telly where someone said 'all British people are stupid' or 'all Christians are idiots' then I would either laugh at their ignorance or make it a point to show the world that it not the case. I wouldn't demand that no one broadcast such a program. In Richard Dawkins' program 'The Root of All Evil' he basically did say all Christians are deluded. Now I could reasonably ask Channel 4 to fairly show a program that challenged that thinking but I would not demand they not show anything that is anti Christian or anti religion. However this does show the bias and hypocrisy of the UK media against Christianity. If seems to be ok in this country to poke fun, put down and be generally rude to genuine Christian believers but anyone else is seen as being too much of a hot potato.

So can we be more tolerant of other peoples views? We don't have to agree with everyone and we will certainly be offended by what some people say who have an opposite view to us. But is that so bad? It is impossible to please everyone and you certainly can't legislate to stop one group of people getting offended by another group of people just because the two disagree as long as there is mutual respect and tolerance. Who says what is offensive anyway? As a Christian I want to live my life as much as I can first and foremost by obeying God and then by the law of the land. I don't want to force others to my way of thinking and neither is that biblical. Of course I want the country to regain its Christian values and will do my part in living those out and being salt and light. However to force those values on a nation is plainly wrong, but that doesn't mean not voicing those beliefs and not fighting against laws that suppress my expression of those values.

Finally, I think, let us not be under any illusion that the media care a jot about supporting Shilpa Shetty, Gay couples or anyone else currently deemed under attack.They hype stories to sell papers and make money, period! There is no moral code of decency, only that which the law enforces.

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