Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Message

In spite of the frantic last minute shopping, the Christmas parties and much else besides, most of us are at least vaguely aware that there is a deeper religious significance to Christmas.

Many figures in positions of authority seem rather troubled by this. The Government play down Christmas sending out cards wishing people “seasons greetings.” Thousands of pounds are spent on government celebrations of Divali or Eid but nothing on Christmas.

Where government leads Councils often follow. Some discourage Nativity plays in the schools in case adherents of other religions are “offended” or rename Christmas “winterval.”

It is not just the politicians. Last month British Airways were put on the spot when it was revealed that they had suspended a Christian employee for wearing a small crucifix. Meanwhile various theatres were happy to mock Christian beliefs by holding performances of “Jerry Springer – the opera” even though we all know that not one would have dared showing a play mocking other religions in the same way.

We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the pressure to play down references to Christianity comes from other religious groups. Indeed some Muslims have been more vocal in defending the right of Christians to celebrate their faith than some leading churchmen. Instead it is the British establishment in all its various forms which is behind the attacks on the religion which, like it or not, has shaped this country and which still exerts a positive influence on those brought up here – whether Christian or not.

I have decided to make a stand. As a regular Church goer I do not seek to impose my beliefs on anyone else but I am not going to hide them away either. My new years resolution is simple it is to do more to stand up for my own religion.

On that note may I begin by wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

8 Comments:

Blogger Hopeful said...

How refreshing to hear this ... from a politician !

After all, in the 2001 Government Census more than 42 million of the British people, answering the voluntary question on religion, ticked the box marked Christian.

The vast majority of those 42 million are not church-goers but it would seem that, at the very least, they are attached to what we might perhaps call the "Traditional Wisdom" of the Western World.

The UK is a democracy, and it's high time there was a little more official respect for the views/feelings of this "Christian" majority.

With my regards and best wishes for the New Year.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hi,

I've read a couple of articles recently which examined many of these stories, and foudn them to be 90% myth.

'Winterval' is one such misunderstanding - much quoted.

In 1997 and 1998 the city council lauched winterval which ran though end October - end january, designed to boost the sturggling fortunes of the city centre, as the Bullring was being planned for redevelopment.

Then in September the launched their Christmas lights and celebrations, (including a massive lit up 'Merry Christmas' across the maion council building.)

Whilst there are I'm sure a few schools moving away from nativity, how much of this is the perception of potential offence (by well meaning posts such as this), rather than the reality.

May I ask do you know of any councils spending money on Divali celebrations and *none* on Christmas lights or celebrations?

As for Jerry Springer, do you remember the minor riots in Birmingham when they showed a play offensive to the Sikh community? I shalln't even start on the BA thing.

I love that you want to make a stand for what you believe - you should, but I wonder whether you are playing into the hands of those who do want this to be an issue.

Warmly

Steve

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