Thursday, 2 December 2010

Some good news

Most 'religion' bloggers don't usually tend to focus on good news (although I hope we manage to keep the Good News somewhere in the forefront.) Normally, because we live in a time of intellectual, theological and ecclesial upheaval (when, true to historical form, Anglicanism is about its usual business of shedding any zeitgeist-unfriendly "extremes" in an attempt to carry on regardless) we concentrate mostly on the controversy, the division and the sheer madness of what is going on around us.

However, how about these sentiments from a British Government minister? (Report from the BBC here)

"Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said "politically correct Grinches" should not be allowed to obscure the fact the festival marks Christ's birth. He said festivals like "Winterval" - which combined secular and inter-faith elements in 1990s Birmingham - should be consigned to history's "dustbin".
It was not in authorities' interests to "play Scrooge" by cutting back on festivities to save cash, he added. Instead, he encouraged them to draw shoppers in to town centres and enjoy the financial benefits of packed car parks.
"Shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, carol services and nativity scenes, and councils should not hesitate in supporting them," he said.
"We should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas, and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ.
"The war on Christmas is over, and the likes of Winterval, [and other alternative names for Christmas festivities] Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be in the dustbin of history."

Understandably, all politicians play to their power bases, and I know this reads in some ways as an attempt to recruit expressions of Christian faith in order to boost the economy. Yet even the most blatantly commercial of motivations can't destroy the essential message that it is the birth of Our Lord we are preparing to celebrate. As we know to our cost, if people are not surrounded by the symbols and visual reminders of faith, they soon come to forget it, or even hate and despise it.
But can you imagine during the long dreary years of Christianophobic New Labour [see this for the kind of crassness we've come to expect] any Government minister (whatever she - or he -  may have thought privately) saying anything like this?
What a difference a year makes - which, of course, brings us to the other major source of good news.....

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I was wondering why nobody had blogged about this. I thought it was significant and you were the first. Well done.

    As Ed Pickles said, let us bury the grinch for good.


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