Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

The Cross has been banned in school, a sign of the times?


  • Please log in to reply
217 replies to this topic

#41 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 09 October 2006 - 04:22 PM

My own sense of this is that this begins from at least the time of the Renaissance where it was said that 'man is the measure of all things'. Of course this effort to put man in a selfish sense at the centre of the universe has only grown through the centuries as a kind of cultural project. From the beginning of this it was understood that the Church (but not necessarily a generic 'christianity') represented a value inimical to this project.

But the values the Church taught are still very deeply woven into who we are in the west. What other explanation is there for the fact that so many secular reforms which consciously reject the active involvement of the Church are based on a humanism that also holds a kind of sacredness to man? Where else except in the west has this appeared in this way?


Dear Father Raphael,
Very interesting thoughts here. What you write rings true. Certainly from the time of the so-called Enlightenment, western intellectuals have often taken the patronising view that as 'rationality' increased its hold on mankind, religion (rather like the State in Marx's famous prophecy) would decay and die as the need for it passed. 19th century intellectuals like George Elliott assumed that it was possible to take the 'good' elements of religion and to keep them without the 'superstition'; the 20th century has provided an interesting commentary on such hopes.

Far from the influence of religion declining as a factor in world politics, it has, of course, increased, and instead of the narrow anthrocentric view of the nature of man winning universal consent, many people, even in the west, look towards some sort of spiritual practice to get a better understanding of how to be in this world.

If there is anything in this, then I could see why the secularists get angry with Christianity. It is OK to have a syncretic belief system and to pretend it is Christianity - Jesus is a good man, a healer, a shaman, what ever; all of that can be fitted into the teleological structure of the Enlightenment project. Call the syncretic result 'real' Christianity, align it with the secular values of a material society, and Voltaire was right. The problem here, as the Anglican Church has discovered, is that this actually empties Churches very quickly indeed. But men and women, conscious of the need for God, do not stop believing in something beyond this world, and they do not feel spiritually fulfilled by shopping, politics or even sport.

I suppose it must be very frustrating for those who thought they knew where history was going to find Christianity still there, still asking the hard questions, and still offering salvation. The least they can do, where they can, is to make sure that it is lampooned, insulted and marginalised in public discourse. The Soviets and the Nazis, of course, took their dislike of Christianity much further, but like all those who have sought to destroy the Church, it is still here and they are not.

But it is sad when bodies such as the Church of England acquiesce voluntarily in watering down the content of Christianity as it is taught in their own schools. I am all in favour of schools teaching the young about other faiths too - but that implies they also learn about Christianity, which, I fear, many of them do not.

That is why it is so important how we bear witness to this society. Treating the Faith as though it were a pearl of great price which we must not share with others but must keep close to ourselves whilst we wait for better days will not mend these broken times we inhabit.

In its own quiet way, a site like this bears witness to how Christians can be in this society.

In Christ,

John

#42 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 14 October 2006 - 10:26 PM

Just keeping up to date here with the signs of the times. British Airways has suspended one of its employees for refusing to take off a crucifix when order to do so, or at least to hide it. The employee, a committed Christian, is going to sue her employers for discrimination.

No doubt the company will claim they have a no jewelry policy, :rolleyes: and no doubt they ask Jewish employees to remove stars of David.

Is this another sign of the times, or just one of those things?

In Christ,

John

#43 Peter Farrington

Peter Farrington

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 647 posts

Posted 15 October 2006 - 01:17 PM

Dear John

I wonder if you think that the education system will be next to seek to remove all Christian content outside of RE lessons?

I mean especially if it will become difficult for Further and Higher Education faculty to be Christians in the public space?

As ever

Peter

#44 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 15 October 2006 - 02:45 PM

I wonder if you think that the education system will be next to seek to remove all Christian content outside of RE lessons?

I mean especially if it will become difficult for Further and Higher Education faculty to be Christians in the public space?

As ever

Peter


Dear Peter,
A most interesting question. I should like to know what our Moderator's experience is in a University that has always been a centre of Christian study?

My impression is that in schools Christianity gets taught as one of many world religions, where it gets taught at all, and that undue weight is given to the secularist view of it as the source of many of the world's wars; but I should like it if those with more direct experience of this aspect commented further on this.

The ignorance of English students about the religion that has helped shape their own country is limitless. I have been asked by history students with high A level grades and a good education whether 'Anglicanism' was similar to the 'Church of England', and whether the Catholics were Christians, and, if they were, what that made the 'Protestors'? It makes it harder than it used to be to teach medieval and early modern history in particular, and students studying the 19th century seem to think that his religion is not that relevant in understanding Mr. Gladstone.

If we seem, at times, to be in a post-Christian country, part of the cause is not far to seek. Muslims have set a much better example than Christians in this area; they keep their faith schools for teaching the faith; we in the Church of England let them teach the watered-down, doctrineless amalgam which passes for Christianity in this country.

As for Christians being open about their religious belief, I have certainly heard adverse comments about people who have crucifixes on their office walls, but, as yet, no one from 'Human Resources' has declared that they must be removed. But it would, I suspect, take only a single complaint for that to happen.

Is it, I wonder, different if one lectures in Patristics?

On the other hand, there is no shortage of students interested in Christianity. One of my sons who went to university in Wales regularly attended a Church on Sunday with a congregation that was numbered in the hundreds, most of them young people. As you commented elsewhere, Peter, there is a hunger for God - and that is why we must do our best to feed it.

In Christ,

John

#45 Peter Farrington

Peter Farrington

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 647 posts

Posted 16 October 2006 - 01:26 PM

Hi John

There was an interview on Radio 2 this lunchtime with someone who sounded like they were from the Secular Society. She wanted all public expression of religion banned as 'silly beliefs' and said that children should not be subject to any form of religious indoctrination until they were old enough to make up their own minds (that it was nonsense!, I guess).

Since secularism is as much a religion as far as I am concerned as any other, it was clear that what she was demanding was the clearance of the public domain so that only her religion was permitted.

As usual she blamed all wars and ills of the world on religion, and quoted vague statistics that showed that religious societies were more violent and had higher levels of social disfunction than non-religous ones.

But as I post elsewhere. Christianity does have to repent of some of its past history, and I am convinced that this woman was not evil, just deluded. She needs to find Christ as much as I do. But perhaps no really attractive and grace-filled examples of Christians have ever been close to her.

How much of the anti-Christian mood is down to our own failures? If Christian discourse is denied a place in the public domain then is that because much Christian discourse is not very Christian and not very filled with the life of Christ? How much are we to blame for that?

Peter

#46 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 17 October 2006 - 12:42 AM

Dear All,

It occurs to me that, in the western world, the devil realised that persecution was counter-productive to his aims, and that the thorns of mass materialism were a far better way of choking any seeds of faith and driving people from God. With mass materialism comes the virtual extinguishing of nostalgia for God and He is forgotten. Only a bat's squeak of an echo of remembrance of God remains, if that. How can we hope to combat this ignorance?

There is the well-known (hereabouts, anyway) story that at Tiptree, the village near to Tolleshunt Knights where the monastery founded by Archimandrite Sophrony is located, the vicar was explaining the Holy Trinity to his flock. He finished by saying, 'if you want to know any more, ask the hairy people at Tolleshunt Knights.' One lady then asked, 'do they believe in the Holy Trinity, then?' The vicar retorted, 'believe in it? They invented it!'

#47 Kris

Kris

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 383 posts

Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:54 AM

I wonder if you think that the education system will be next to seek to remove all Christian content outside of RE lessons?


I thought they already did that? Certainly seemed that way when I attended Secondary School here in the UK; and R.E. was treated as a pretty insignificant part of the syllabus.

There was, of course, mention of Christmas and we got time off school at Pascha; but no mention was ever made of their significance.

In fact, I remember being told to remove a Cross I was wearing around my neck (like BA, the school had a strict jewellary policy). When I enquired as to why my Muslim friends were allowed to wear hijab (even niqab were allowed) and mosque hats, but I couldn't wear a Cross, I was condescendingly told that "there is nothing in the Christian religion that says you have to wear a Cross."

I had not yet been received into the Church at that time, and so I didn't see wearing a Cross as the obligation I see it as today, but it nevertheless struck me as being very strange.

In XC,
Kris

#48 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:17 PM

I thought they already did that? Certainly seemed that way when I attended Secondary School here in the UK; and R.E. was treated as a pretty insignificant part of the syllabus.
In XC,
Kris


Dear Kris,

Yes, you accurately describe the very sad state of affairs to which we have reduced ourselves in the UK.

George Orwell got it right when he wrote that you could not express ideas if you did not have the words to formulate the concept first, and here in the UK secularists have done a very good job in this respect.

Despite having by law an Established Church, we have allowed religion to become entirely privatised. The Bishops in the Lords pronounce on everything except those things we might expect from men of religion; and even when talking about moral issues, they are careful to frame their discourse within the prevailing secular fashions; none of this moral absolutism - anyone might think that something could be defined as 'wrong'.

I don't think the Bishops would accept this as a fair description, but that is because they are so acculturated that I doubt they would understand the perspective from which this critique is being made.

Peter's description of the interview is, alas, all too accurate. Only one dogma is to be tolerated, which is that almost everything is relative.

Peter asks:

How much of the anti-Christian mood is down to our own failures? If Christian discourse is denied a place in the public domain then is that because much Christian discourse is not very Christian and not very filled with the life of Christ? How much are we to blame for that?


I fear that the answer to this has to be that Christians must, indeed, shoulder much of the blame. Our witness has clearly been inadequate. Too many people I know associate Christianity with either a fundamentalist literalism which is closed to thought and intellect, or a clinging to tradition which has the same features; either way, we are not coming across as people who have anything to say that is worth listening to.

At the same time, the young people amongst whom I spend so much time, would be interested if they thought we were approachable, and I see great work being done by men and women of all denominations. There is no doubt that the plethora of denominations gets in the way of effective mission.

In Christ,


John

#49 Peter Farrington

Peter Farrington

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 647 posts

Posted 18 October 2006 - 03:17 PM

Just keeping up to date here with the signs of the times. British Airways has suspended one of its employees for refusing to take off a crucifix when order to do so, or at least to hide it.


I see that the woman in question is Coptic.

Peter

#50 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 18 October 2006 - 05:56 PM

I see that the woman in question is Coptic.

Peter


Dear Peter,

That is interesting. I would guess that BA might find themselves on the business end of a racial and religious discrimination suit?

The BBC newsreader, Fiona Bruce has also been ordered not to wear a cross whilst reading the news.

Are these folk so afraid of the power of the cross that they have to ban it? Alas, probably not, I suspect it is down to some jobsworth who thinks that someone might be offended - which, given a lot of the pernicious rubbish churned out by the BBC, is a trifle ironic.

I fear we must take it for granted that the one minority it is safe to target and to insult is the Christian one. It was, I think, the BBC that sponsored (then failed to run) 'Popetown'; you don't see them offering 'Muhammedtown' -, or 'Jerry Spring meets the Prophet' - I wonder why??;)

In Christ

John

#51 Scott Pierson

Scott Pierson

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 19 October 2006 - 01:02 AM

Are these folk so afraid of the power of the cross that they have to ban it? Alas, probably not, I suspect it is down to some jobsworth who thinks that someone might be offended


I wouldnt doubt that the cross really does make them afraid or at least uncomfortable. The fact that someone might get offended is probably the main reason for it but why do people get offended.. its because the cross makes them uncomfortable and evokes fear in the enemies of God. When I hated God I was uncomfortable with the cross. I would pretend it didnt bother me and would do things like (God forgive me ) roll a joint with pages from a Bible and hang crosses upside down and such to prove to myself and others that it didnt bother me but at least at one level I was afraid... sort of the feeling that I might get hit with lightning or whatnot. I wouldnt doubt that others feel the same level of uncomfortablness when they see the cross.

#52 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 19 October 2006 - 09:35 PM

A follow up: the BBC have announced that their newsreader, Fiona Bruce, can wear a cross provided it is small and unobtrusive.

Goodness gracious me, we wouldn't want the symbol of our salvation to intrude upon anyone's consciousness, would we now! Not, of course, that there is much chance of anything else the BBC broadcasts contributing to that end either!

On the radio news there was a female atheist opining that since religion was 'an opinion' all signs of religious belief ought to be kept in the private sphere; further proof, were any needed that atheists really do think that their position is normative, and that their 'opinion' is a privileged one which should have precedence. This, I suspect, is the base line for the various bans which we have been tracing in this thread.

All we can do as Christians is to continue to register our profound dissent from such babblings.

In Christ,

John

#53 Scott Pierson

Scott Pierson

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 20 October 2006 - 12:54 AM

On the radio news there was a female atheist opining that since religion was 'an opinion' all signs of religious belief ought to be kept in the private sphere



That’s funny someone proclaiming in public their opinion that opinions ought to be kept in private and not proclaimed publicly. I wonder if the irony of that ever occurred to her.

#54 Peter Farrington

Peter Farrington

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 647 posts

Posted 20 October 2006 - 07:26 AM

Dear Scott

I very much doubt it. There are few people more illiberal than those who proclaim their liberal credentials.

Peter

#55 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:14 AM

Dear Scott

I very much doubt it. There are few people more illiberal than those who proclaim their liberal credentials.

Peter


Dear Peter,
Indeed. It is hard to remember one's Christian charity at times. It is a mark of an hegemonic mindset that it cannot tolerate any other mode of thought; it sees nothing intolerant in this. Its position would be similar to that of the Spanish Inquisition. Indeed, in their times of wordly triumph, Christians have not always been more tolerant than our new hegemons are proving themselves to be.

J.S. Mill, a century and a half ago, spotted the authoritarian tendencies inherent in secular liberalism; as it has worn down and undermined the place Christianity once had in the intellectual life of the west, it has become more, and not less, intolerant.

All these things on this thread are indeed signs of the times; and we shall continue to bear witness.

In Christ,

John

#56 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:34 AM

Dear All,

There is an excellent article on relativism by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (as he then was). I can't recall the site but a Google search would find it. It is very sound and perfectly orthodox. He describes relativism as the new intolerance.

#57 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:04 PM

Dear All,

There is an excellent article on relativism by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (as he then was). I can't recall the site but a Google search would find it. It is very sound and perfectly orthodox. He describes relativism as the new intolerance.


Dear Andreas,
He wrote an excellent book which has just been published - those interested will find an article on it at:
http://ncronline.org...6/ss100606e.php

This is where he was coming from in that address on Islam which created so much controversy.

Say what one will about the Papacy, this Pope and his predecessor are impressive in many ways.

In Christ

John

#58 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:56 PM

I agree, John. If ever there was hope for reconciliation of the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church, it is under this Pope. I only regret that he felt he had to apologise to the Islamic world and to say that he regarded Islam with deep respect. I am not clear how one can respect a religion which denies that Christ was the Son of God, that He died on the Cross and rose from the dead on the third day.

#59 Scott Pierson

Scott Pierson

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 370 posts

Posted 20 October 2006 - 11:33 PM

I was listening to the radio (Bob Dutco (spelling?) ) today and heard about elementary school students at a public school in southern California who were required** to take a 3 week course on Islam in which they “became Muslims”. The students made Islamic prayer rugs, took on Islamic names, performed Islamic prayers and rituals and were told they could get “extra credit” if they gave up their lunch as a fast for Ramadan. They also made banners to hang up on the classroom wall with Islamic slogans like Allah is great and such. Someone later called into the show and said her sisters child brought home a prayer rug made in a Michigan public school (in Brighton) and that they are doing the same course there.

One of the parents brought up a law suit but the local court ruled that what the school did was not contrary to the constitution because the children were simply “learning about another culture”. Strangely (or maybe not) the ACLU didn’t rush to the parents defense to protect their children from the “evils” of religion and enforce separation of Church and state.. In fact the ACLU has refused to comment on the case whatsoever. I thought at first the school wining the case might actually work out for the best because Christians could make reference to the decision when formulating and teaching classes on Christian culture, the Bible, etc but the judges made sure the ruling was worded in such a way as to apply only to this specific case. If a similar class was held by the same school in which kids “became Orthodox” for the week the same judges could technically rule that unconstitutional even if it was handled in the exact same way. So the ruling was a loss both ways. Its being appealed to a higher court by the Thomas Moore Law Center though.

If we are not careful we will wake up one day and the whole world will be Islamic. There are billions of Muslims in this world and many of them would like nothing better than to subject the USA and Europe to Islamic law. And despite the constant talk of “religious freedom” by American Muslim “civil rights “ organizations you can bet the religious freedom of Orthodox will be very limited. We have the freedom to be second class citizens and pay a special tax to the Muslims how wonderful!

** The school claims the parents had a right to opt out yet they failed to inform them that the class would take place nor did they tell them they had the right to opt out untill after the class was over and the parents were in court!

#60 John Charmley

John Charmley

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,101 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 21 October 2006 - 07:42 AM

Dear Scott,

A shocking, but alas not surprising story. Educators appear to be caught in a trap of their own making. Political correctness dictates that westerners show 'respect' for all 'cultures', and it also leads to the banning of religious symbols from schools; however educators are at a loss when dealing with a 'culture' that is, in itself, religious. However, lacking common sense, they have come up with an answer which is, I suspect, deeply patronising and possibly racist.

They decide to treat Islam as nothing more than a 'culture', hence the sort of nonsense which your post so vividly describes. Most Muslims would, if they realised this thought process was going on, find it offensive; but since it works to their advantage, they don't.

When I lived in the West Midlands of the UK, local children had diwali celebrations at a school where there was official discouragement of the use of the greeting 'happy Christmas' because 'people might find it offensive'; as the young say: 'go figure!'

Personally, I am beginning to find it offensive that so many 'people' are so easily offended - but since I am a white, middle-aged, Anglo-Saxon, male Christian, I would guess that I am one of the few whom officialdom will not mind offending?;)

In Christ,

John




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users