Sunday, May 07, 2006

The God Slot

BBC Radio Four comes on in our bedroom every morning at six-thirty. It’s a slightly softer way of waking up than the alarm which goes off at seven on weekdays. This morning, it being Sunday I suppose, there was a lot of religious talk and I was lying there amazed as I heard some of the stories.

The first was one I’d come across yesterday on the BBC News site; the Anglican Church were worried that the front runner for election as bishop in a California diocese was a lesbian, living with her partner. Three of the seven names on the ballot were gay or lesbian and the fear was that if one of them were elected it would finally bring about the split that the church has been worried about for some time now. In the end the issue was avoided because they elected a heterosexual bishop.

Avoiding the problem at this point doesn’t make the larger issue go away though. If, as the former article states, “Anglicans are so deeply and bitterly divided over homosexuality that even their famously broad church may now buckle under the strain of maintaining the pretence of unity,” then I have a feeling there is going to be some serious blood-letting in the Christian faith before it is resolved in any way.

So while the Anglicans are worrying about how high gay priests can rise, the Catholic Church, who have already published their firmly unclear point of view, are worrying about a political schism with China over the appointment of bishops. Excuse me but, if my sometimes vague recollections of ‘O’ Level history serves me well, the argument about the right of Rome to appoint bishops has been going on since the Catholic Church was founded. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it! The Chinese either have to jump one way and make up with Rome, or jump the other way and create yet another Christian church. (Well, it worked for Henry VIII…)

Finally, just to remind ourselves that human pettiness in religious affairs is not exclusively a Christian preserve; try this article from the Washington Post about an ultra-devout sect of Hasidic Jews who have been literally brawling in the Synagogue over who should be their next leader!

Love thy neighbour? Honour thy father and thy mother? Clearly not.

On a slightly more upbeat note though, in amongst all this debasing of religious principles, I did find a rather nice prayer on the top of a post by the Erudite Redneck which I think is worthy of a mention.

[BTW, in case you were wondering about the title, see here for an explanation.]

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