Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Witch -hunt, 21st.century style

Leaders of 6 Christian denominations in Norfolk have signed a statement distancing themselves from Reverend Robert West, who is standing in the Norwich North by-election. The statement was signed by the Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich (Church of England); the Rt Rev Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia (Roman Catholic); the Rev Graham Thompson, East Anglia District (Methodist Church); the Rev Richard Lewis, regional minister, Norfolk (Baptist Union); the Rev Paul Whittle, moderator, Eastern Province (United Reformed Church); and John Myhill (Society of Friends).

"It is important for us to do so since the British National Party candidate styles himself as 'Revd' and is often to be seen dressed as a clergyman," they said.

That might be because he is one: see article here

They continue:
"He belongs to no known denomination and voters should not be misled by his adoption of clerical dress. The policies he promotes are not shared by any of the Churches we serve and are contrary to the teaching of the New Testament.
"There we read that in Christ 'there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female' (Galatians 3.28)."

Let Revd. West himself answer that

It ends:
"Christians in Norfolk and Norwich have had a long tradition of welcoming the stranger. We pray that this generous instinct may continue to be celebrated here."

Did they welcome the Romans and the Vikings? That's doubtful, and they weren't very happy with the Jews either. The "Strangers" in the above quote refer to those Huguenots and Walloons, persecuted for their religious beliefs, who came to Norwich, bringing their new crafts, which resulted in increased wealth for the city. But before that, Norwich's wealth and prestige came from English wool, as did many other English cities.

The stance held by these sanctimonious Churchmen is nothing less than a political witch-hunt; one wonders if they are the natural descendants of Matthew Hopkins? Do any of them feel ashamed, and rather foolish now, at the Church's obsessive condemnation of those different to themselves, who were really no more than poor men and women who knew about herbs and country medicine? Who healed the sick in their communities, only to be denounced by hysterical mob-fervour encouraged by the Church?

In their day, the Church of England was reviled and persecuted by the Catholics; then, when Protestants were in power, Catholics were persecuted in their turn. Until the end of the 18th. century, Non-Conformist denominations had to meet in secret, in order not to incur the wrath of the Established Church. Now, they are perfectly acceptable; how are they different from the past? Is it that the Church follows the doctrine of the particular Government of the day, in this particular case condemning a clergyman who has not joined their club? It does appear that way to the layman. Which would be nothing short of hypocrisy, betraying a distinct lack of understanding of their fellow Briton.

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