Sunday, 11 January 2015

A startling absence of a Christian presence today

The victims of the recent terrorist attack in Paris were commemorated this evening with a silent walk and demonstration beginning outside the Senedd (the Welsh parliament) building in Cardiff Bay [Report here] The event was  organised by French ex-patriates living in the Welsh capital and  this evening’s rally was joined by First Minister Carwyn Jones, the Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb, chair of the Muslim Council of Wales Dr Saleem Kidwai, Rabbi Michael Rose from Cardiff United Synagogue, South Wales Police Commissioner Alun Michael, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, AMs and city councillors..
About 1500 people were present, including many individual Christians but, we are told by one of those who was there, there was not a single 'official' representative of a Christian Church or ecclesial body.
What on earth will this conspicuous absence - and deafening silence- say to the public at large and to those who were prepared to make the effort to be there - that the Church does not care, that we have nothing to say, or that we are completely irrelevant now to the culture to which our leaders cosy up at every possible opportunity?
We can, of course, spare the time and change our busy schedules to build altars out of silly boxes in Llandudno ... or anything else we could care to mention.
And,  if there had been no official invitation, would it not have been possible to attend and walk anyway - conspicuously and dressed appropriately? 
Or don't our Christian leaders (or rather their well paid PR and press officers) read the newspapers and social media or watch television? Perhaps they should ...

And, this time, those who criticise demonstrations of this kind are mistaken on one point: this is nothing like the hysteria surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales - a robust public defence of our traditional liberties (however flawed the Charlie Hebdo victims might have been or abhorrent their views) is something far more significant than that rather bizarre episode - not that our politicians seem willing to understand that, or anything other than the supposed need to exploit the situation in order to grab more surveillance powers for the State ..... ...


  1. I was there and quite frankly I had not noticed the lack of Christian representation. Dr Saleem Kidwai wore nothing to distinguish him as a Moslem. Rabbi Michael Rose was dressed slightly more "Jewish" for want of a better term. To everyones credit, clergy, politicians etc only the two young French ladies who organised the event and Dr Saleem Kidwai spoke. That was enough, there was no need for others. Those who did speak captured the moment succinctly and were well received.

    1. "That was enough, there was no need for others...."
      I'm sorry, but you make my point for me rather well .....

  2. Sorry to nit-pick, Michael, but an ex-patriot is someone who is no longer a patriot (which I am sure is not true of the French ladies in question). Someone who is not currently living in their native country is an expatriate.

    1. It's never nit-picking when one is right!
      Amended - and apologies - literacy is clearly another casualty of the general chaos descending on my life at present!


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