GuidePedia

The Archbishop of Canterbury is quoted today condemning sermons that preach 'claptrap' about being nicer to one another and saying the life of Jesus “challenges every assumption” about society. He went on,
He does not permit us to accept a society in which the weak are excluded – whether because of race, wealth, gender, ability, or sexuality.
Is that true? 

It all depends what you mean by exclusion, of course. I don't suppose anyone believes many people should be completely excluded from society, except people put in gaol. Some people were ostracised in ancient Greece, but I am not sure this punishment was necessarily un-Christian. I suppose some people behave in such a way that they are rightly or wrongly shunned by others. 

If exclusion means not respecting others, or not caring about them then it's clearly a bad thing. Pope Pius XII, in words aimed at the Nazis, spoke of the need for solidarity 
"imposed by our common origin and by the equality of rational nature in all men." 
That's the kind of equality I believe in. But I think exclusion is a weasel word, intended to smuggle in ideas that do not have much to do with Christianity

In first century Palestine, a very hierarchical society like all pre-modern societies, even the very poor had their place at the rich man's gate and there was probably not much exclusion, but I am not sure whether this kind of very unequal society commends itself to Archbishop Welby. By 'inclusion' he means something else, I think, to do with equality of opportunity and social engineering

In any case, I do not think one should attempt to turn Jesus into a feminist or a supporter of homosexual rights. 

Jesus abolished divorce and condemned swearing oaths, but he was a first century rabbi and therefore he believed it was an abomination for a man to sleep with a man as with a woman, as  did all Jews, and as did all Jesus's followers until recently. 

Jesus did not preach against inequality. He was not concerned about the effects of poverty on the poor or social exclusion on the excluded, but the effects of riches on the rich and the effects of comfort on the comfortable.

He did not preach a change in the position of women (or slaves, for that matter) in Jewish society. Women and slaves were not 'excluded' from society, of course, but Jewish society very much excluded Gentiles (goyim). Markedly too, Jesus did not choose women as His disciples, nor of course Gentiles, in whom he showed very limited interest, although he was moved by the centurion and preached the parable of the good Samaritan. Instead, he was an exorcist, who preached heaven, hell and the last days. He said that
My kingdom is not of this world.
As for equal opportunities, St. Paul says to slaves who believe in Christ,
Art thou called being a slave? care not for it; but if thou may be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a slave, is the Lord’s freeman; likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s slave.
How odd, too, of the Archbishop to think that to oppose social exclusion on the grounds of race, gender or sexuality is 
to oppose every assumption about society.
Opposing these things is the ruling ideology, the default setting of society and enshrined in law, not counter-cultural in the least.

The last Archbishop of Canterbury was a clever man, whom I couldn't help liking, but this kind of stuff is ... well, claptrap.

Post a Comment

 
Top