This article by Bradley Goodwin is featuring in our Christmas Special Issue, ‘The Communion Manifesto’. Information on this can be found HERE.
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In Great Britain, Christianity has become decrepit. On the outside, it meets the hallmarks of existence, with its name emblazoned in the schools that claim to represent it, and the churches and cathedrals that claim to preach it. The inside, however, contains nothing of substance. Those who profess to preach the message of Jesus Christ have replaced it with a cheap counterfeit. The Protestant Churches have replaced a sola fide in the message of Jesus Christ with a sola fide in socialism and environmentalism, with Jesus serving as a proto-Marx figure. The Catholic Churches preach much of the same message (though without the sola fide, if they at least believe themselves to be truly Catholic).
It is amusing that the only group of people who cannot seem to see this picture is a demographic group who claim to be the voice of rationality and reason. While the many are not bothered by Christianity’s absence, the humanist lobby come to the baffling conclusion that Christianity has too much influence in the public square.
In their latest attempt to conquer this apparently dominant foe, a campaign has begun to see compulsory Christian worship removed from assemblies in all state schools. The campaign began after Lee and Lizanne Harris, the parents of two children at a state primary school in Oxfordshire, wanted their children not to be involved in the Christian assemblies that took place every week. The children had been removed as requested, but according to the Harris’ legal case, the equivalent was not of ‘equal educational worth’.
For every battle against Christianity by such activists and academics, the usual response from the rest of us should to be briefly acknowledge it, accept their futility in preparing for war with a foe long-vanquished, and move on. However, in this particular case those of us in favour of Christian culture in a meaningful sense should take interest in this case, and thank the activists involved.
This case’s interest to us comes from the mouths of the Harris’ themselves, as heard in their interview to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme concerning the case. Lee interestingly regales us about his son coming home from school telling his parents the Bible stories he had learned and telling his parents they were fact. The parents’ response? As avowed atheists they explained to their child such information was untrue, that such stories of the Bible were fiction. I would like to thank Lee for this admission; he has said what social conservatives have been saying emphatically on education. They have admitted that the state cannot know what is best for children. They saw their son being taught doctrine against their beliefs, their worldview, and as loving parents to their children, saw it is a loving act to correct this seemingly erroneous teaching.
Not only is the old order being beaten with its own stick, but crushed with it entirely, stamping over socially conservative, Christian foundations with theirs. Humanists UK, on the back of this case, seek as part of the campaign to replace collective worship with so called ‘inclusive assemblies’. These so called ‘inclusive assemblies’ could not feel more Newspeak. They are deliberately designed not to be inclusive, but to exclude Christian practice and tradition from children’s lives. This exclusion is to be compulsory too, with the law siding against schools not willing to be ‘inclusive’ according to the Newspeak definition.
These types will chant the mantra ‘education, not indoctrination’, as if their plans cannot lead to indoctrination. The slogan reveals their hidden belief, that surely no religious person would be religious by reason or rationality. Rationality and reason are only on the side of the humanist. The logical conclusion of this is the conclusion they reach, that if you couldn’t hold these opinions rationally, the belief must be subversively passed on by religious obsessives. The ‘inclusive assembly’ serves as their vaccine, to stop the religious disease spreading.
There is a clear sign that the humanists involved in the war on Christianity that their side has already won: the fact such issues are now decided by the sphere of the human rights philosophy, entrenched and promoted within our Constitution. Make no mistake, the human rights philosophy is an atheistic one. What needs to be understood is that all legal codes are inherently connected to a moral code. For what is unlawful is usually unlawful because it is considered immoral by society’s moral code. The human rights philosophy’s moral code is atheistic; it is atheistic because it is relative. Our centuries-developed legal system prior to the human rights revolution was rooted in a fixed moral code. The emphasis was on liberty in one’s actions unless there was a strong moral basis or precedent for such a behaviour to be restricted. What was not allowed tended to have an extrinsic, fixed moral base as its standard; that standard being the Christian moral code.
The connection between our ancient legal system and Christianity is best documented in the story of their mutual decline. This tale of decline (and Britain’s more generally) is told comprehensively in Peter Hitchens’ The Abolition of Britain (1999), but one episode Hitchens features perfectly summarises it all: the case of D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). Filled with coarse descriptions of sexual acts and foul language, it was offensive to the conservative Christian social standard of the era. As a result, its publication was illegal under common law. This was until a reform was made under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, spearheaded by reformists such as Roy Jenkins and Lord St John of Fawsley, making an exemption to obscene works if ‘literary merit’ could be found within them. This was then united with an almost immediate challenge by Penguin Books to seek such ‘literary merit’, and end its’ legal prohibition.
The challenge to the law was the ultimate symbol of the decay of traditional Christian beliefs among the influential elite. All manner of elites were involved – literary professors, politicians and even clergymen them-selves – all willing to take to the witness stand to undermine conservative Christian morality. Many witness were well-known, such as Roy Jenkins and the author E.M. Forster. The reason they were prepared to take to the stand was because they did not believe in the standards upheld by such obscenity laws, as conservative Christianity would have demanded. The outcome was in the reformers’ favour with a ‘not guilty’ verdict, and the 200,000 copies Penguin Books had readied were green-lighted to go into public sale. From there, the process to an eventual abandonment of obscenity laws and the older standard was railroaded.
All in all, I say merely this to Humanists UK and other such activists: you have already won the war of ideas in the eyes of the state. Since our arguments have become useful to you, may you please show the ‘best of humanity’ and use empathy. If we should accept our arguments to support your proposal, may you explain why it should be ignored when considering ours? If humanism is the voice of reason and rationality, may it be explained why the order yours has superseded was not so?