Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Cathedral is no place for a disruption

A place of worship, not a political platformI've just come back from a pleasant trip to Canterbury Cathedral for the Easter Day Sung Eucharist. As ever it was a wonderful service that I first started attending when I was an undergraduate in Canterbury. Today, despite snow and rain, a huge congregation attended.

But there was one unfortunate note, though so far I'm only aware of the Press Association picking up on the story. Just as Rowan Williams entered his pulpit to deliver his sermon, two men jumped up with placards and started disrupting things, claiming that the Archbishop has never spoken out about the persecution of Christians around the world and against his misreported comments about Sharia Law. They were soon escorted away (see The Press Association: Two held over cathedral protest) and the Archbishop told us all how he does frequently speak out about the persecution around the world. It does not surprise me that you won't find his response in the Press Association's story and for that matter the Archbishop is often ignored when he's speaking out on these matters. Much of the media is only interested in rows within the Church.

The incident brought back memories of the disgraceful protest by Peter Tatchell ten years ago. I doubt there was anyone who was more convinced of his cause because of it, whilst many were turned against it. A church or cathedral is a place for coming together to worship and to follow the Word. Services are a time for reflection and contemplation. Disrupting the service to make a point is highly offensive and never going to win adherents to a cause. There is a place to make a protest - and the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral offer plenty of places to make it outside - but during a service is disgraceful. I hope that we will not see repeats of this behaviour.

1 comment:

neil craig said...

Good point about the PA reporting the accusation that he has not spoken out while not reporting when he does. The media are, of course always willing to report on oppression abroad - if it is in a country we are supposed to hate but never if it is one we are supposed to like (eg the Dragodan Massacre of 210 people by NATO "police" a few hundred yards from the British HQ which has been entirely censored).

Media hypocrisy - who would have thought it?


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