frgavin on February 17th, 2012

Church of England Newspaper February 17

In December the Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave an important speech to Christian leaders in Oxford on the enduring legacy of the King James Bible in which he said that ‘Britain is a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so’. He went on to emphasize the role of Christianity in giving to Britain the strong moral code that is central to our national life.

Curiously, these strong words, with which I heartily concur, are at variance with recent experience in the UK. The reason why I and my son, Andrew, have written this book We Don’t Do God is because Christianity is being marginalised – in some cases quite deliberately and in other cases unwittingly – from public life.  A very recent example comes from a neighbouring country. Last week it was announced that an Irish Bishop has been investigated by police and is awaiting his fate at the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions after making unexceptionable remarks from a church pulpit.

The Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, uttered statements which might be heard from any pulpit on any Sunday. Complaints by a leading humanist centred around comments in which he noted that the Catholic Church was being “attacked” by a “secular and godless culture”. He also contrasted the hope that Christian believers have in an eternal future which non-Christians do not share.  Mr John Colgan complained to the police that Bishop Boyce had broken the law on inciting hatred.

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