Monday, November 06, 2006

Wolves in lambs' clothing?

Now, this is interesting:
"If, as most Christians accept, they should be politically involved in democratic processes, many believe this may, where necessary, take the form of active resistance to the state. This may encompass disobedience to law, civil disobedience, involving selective, non-violent resistance or, ultimately, violent revolution." (Emphasis added)
So saith (according to the Telegraph) the Evangelical Alliance UK, in their new report 'Faith and Nation'.

At their website, the EA - representing, apparently, over a million members - introduces this report as being part of a 'challenge' to Islam 'to engage in debate without resorting to intimidation'.

Hence, apparently, the completely non-intimidating reference to violent revolution.

To be fair, having followed up on the links to the 'Faith and Nation' report (the original PDF is available here), when seen in the context, the bits quoted in the Telegraph add up to less a clarion call for the forcible imposition of Biblical law (whatever that might be) and much more a kind of meandering shuffle through centuries of Christian thinking.

Additionally, from its style, it's quite clear that it was written by a committee. (And no, that is not a stylistic compliment). It weaves back and forth on topics such as resistance and violence using those famously vague phrases such as 'many think that' and 'some believe' to avoid taking any real stand.

It may be sinister. Or it may just be confused.

Of course, the headline 'Christian Group Suggests That Many Christians At Various Times in History Have Advocated Violence In Certain Circumstances But Others Have Believed Otherwise' would have hardly been the kind of thing with which you can sell newspapers.

In the end, rather than bashing you over the head with violence, it bores you to death with verbosity. You may choose to read the whole thing if you choose.

If so, may God (or Zeus or Ra or "Bob") help you.

There are some strange things about this document though... According to the EA website, for example, the 'call' is offered in a spirit of 'assertive love', which is a concept which leaves me a bit baffled, I have to say. The EA itself puts the term in it may be that they're not sure what it means either.

It may, of course, be the sort of thing which the good Rev. Ted ('I think I know what you did last night') Haggard has allegedly (though actually somewhat-admittedly) been engaging in over in another vital centre of Christendom. In which case, I suspect that most muslims are not interested in entering into a dialogue of that sort.

It may, on the other hand, be just another of the many murmurings of a comparatively insignificant group of wackos.

However, it might, on the other other hand (what, don't you have three hands?), be the sort of thing which a distressingly large number of other evangelicals (also in God's Own Country) have been advocating with no small amount of...assertiveness.

Onward, Christian soldiers...

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