Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Right-Wing Anglican Columnist? Seriously?

I'm a big fan of Peter Hitchens (not a Catholic but a staunch defender of Christianity; his Abolition of Britain and Rage Against God are amongst my favourite books.) He blogs on the Mail Online website. There is a list of his fellow Daily Mail bloggers to the right of his articles, and I was surprised to see one of bloggers had the title "Reverend".

Surprised-- I would have expected that any Anglican clergyman would be blogging for the Guardian, not the Daily Mail-- I clicked on the link. (Apologies for not reproducing it here; I'm having trouble with hypertext, for some reason.)

I found myself reading strident passages like this:

If the BBC is truly serious about its intentions to make cuts and save money, then it could make a small start by scrapping that fatuous three minutes’ slot on The Today Programme known as Thought for the Day. It’s a breach of the Trades Descriptions Act, for a start; because there is rarely any thought in it. What we have instead is a parade of cliché-struck clergy coming on to make anodyne amateur statements about secular, mostly political, affairs of which they have not the remotest understanding beyond what they have just been told by The Guardian’s leader column.

He also attacks anti-capitalist demonstrators, people who text on the street (he boasts about knocking the offending device from one texter's hand), and social welfare.

I'm not sure I don't prefer the bicycle-clips-and-CND-badge type of vicar. Christians are constantly being pegged as shrill, intolerant, reactionary Colonel Blimps by their enemies. Of course there is a danger in becoming apologetic and sheepish about the Faith, and trying to cram its doctrines into the strait-jacket of political correctness.

But the other danger-- the danger of playing to the stereotype and attacking everything the liberal left values, such as social welfare, or even good manners when it intersects with political correctness-- is just as much to be avoided. I know, because I fell into that pit myself for a while.

Christianity can't be contained in the squabbles between left and right, and it isn't a weapon in a culture war. And besides, the world is a better place for programmes like Thought for the Day (though I've never heard it) and the much-missed (by me) A Prayer at Bedtime on RTÉ. Our world has so little gentleness these days, that even a little inspidness is not to be despised.


  1. Thanks-- I might give that a listen some time! I wish I could find some A Prayer at Bedtime...

  2. I have to admit I have a taste for that kind of thing. I like those little glossy devotional magazines with pictures of cornfields and clouds.