Monday, 30 March 2009

Melanie Phillips on the Resignation of Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the Church, Multiculturalism and Secularism

Melanie Phillips, columnist for The Daily Mail, calls the resignation of Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, a "terrible blow." Here's why:
Dr Nazir-Ali is one of the very few inside the church to make explicit the link between Christian and British values, and to warn publicly that they are being destroyed through the prevailing doctrine of multiculturalism.

That strong voice of protest has never been needed more than it is now. For Christianity in Britain is under attack from all sides.
And I wonder about the lack of episcopal voices making explicit the link there ought to be between Christian and Canadian values and the influence of our own increasingly doctrinaire brand of multiculturalism.

Although the anti-Christian onslaught is more advanced in Britain than in Canada, we are well on our way. She goes on:
Take for example the proposal by a regular churchgoer that the churches should ring their bells on St George’s Day, to proclaim that the Christian element of English identity is in robust health.

Only five out of the church’s 44 bishops back the plan while the rest have scuttled for cover. The Bishop of Chester frets about the danger of such ‘public displays’ of confidence, while the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds murmurs faintly: ‘I am not sure assertiveness is a Christian value.’

Such cultural cringe would be comical were it not so tragic. For this is precisely how the church has all but destroyed itself. Instead of asserting its core beliefs against aggressive secularism, it has tried to accommodate its own destroyer.

As a result, it stopped doing God and spirituality and holding the line for Biblical values and mutated instead into a branch of nonjudgmental social work — a kind of Guardian newspaper at prayer. The resulting moral vacuum now threatens not just the church but the nation itself.

Although most people may no longer be churchgoers, Christianity infuses all this country’s institutions, traditions and values.

These have been systematically attacked by a secular culture of unlimited self-indulgence and self-destructive behaviour, resulting in the collapse of the married family, rising crime, drug and alcohol abuse and a grievous erosion of the sanctity of human life.
Canadian Anglican bishops seem to be no different and the Anglican Church of Canada continues its inexorable slide to accommodate the spirit of our age.

The only episcopal voice I hear making any reasonably assertive effort to hold the line for Biblical values in the public arena is Fred Henry, Roman Catholic Bishop of Calgary. God bless him.