In his Easter homily at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Cardinal O’Brien gave a full throated call for Christians to oppose the “aggressive secularism” now preying on the UK and its faithful:
As we journey onward toward that unity for which Jesus Christ himself prayed we realise that we have a heavy responsibility even at this present time.
In those words which Pope Benedict XVI preached in Westminster Abbey he stated: “We must recognise the challenges which confront us, not only along the path of Christian unity, but also in our task of proclaiming Christ in our day”. Any Christian who has tried to live a Christian life, particularly any Christian who has tried to fulfil that task of proclaiming Jesus Christ and his teachings in our day will realise exactly what the Pope meant by these words.
Perhaps more than ever before there is that “aggressive secularism”; and there are those who would indeed try to destroy our Christian heritage and culture and take God from the public square.
Religion must not be taken from the public square!
In other words which he uttered in his address in Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster, Pope Benedict XVI emphasised the positive role of religion in society. He stated: “Religion is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation”. And he went on to add firmly: “In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance”.
Just a few weeks ago a Presbyterian Minister in the Church of Scotland contacted me to say how much he appreciated my comments at that time in support of religious freedom in other countries. My correspondent contrasted the promise by the British Government to act against the persecution of Christians in other countries, while apparently ignoring the increasing marginalisation of Christians in the United Kingdom.
I am sure his point was well made. Recently, various Christians in our Society were marginalised and prevented from acting in accordance with their beliefs because they were not willing to publicly endorse a particular lifestyle. You have only to ask a couple with regard to their bed and breakfast business; certain relationship councillors; and people who had valiantly fostered children for many years of their particular experiences – and I am sure they are not exaggerating them!
And as I was preparing these words I had on my desk a recently produced booklet of some 80 pages which was headed: “Marginalising Christians – instances of Christians being sidelined in modern Britain”.
Yes – Christians must work toward that full unity for which Christ prayed – but even at this present time Christians must be united in their common awareness of the enemies of the Christian faith in our country, of the power that they are at present exerting, and the need for us to be aware of that right to equality which so many others cry out for.
Hear! Hear! Would more Anglican clergy have the insight and courage so to speak out and call for opposition to the secularism that is indeed constricting religious freedom and civil society in the UK.
Of course, those most engaged in pushing a secularist agenda are taking offense at the Cardinal’s call. Dr. Evan Harris stands out that in that regard. Those with very good memories might remember I’ve mentioned that odious man before. This ubersecularist disclaims being “aggressive” against religious freedom.
Yeah, right. And I’m a mild-mannered moderate.
In any case, what the Cardinal said needs to be said again and again lest Great Britain and the rest of the West becomes the secularist gulag I fear.