Thinking Anglicans

columns for Easter Eve – part one

commentisfree is the Guardian’s new collective group blog. Madeleine Bunting and Andrew Brown have just had an exchange of views there:

In Sugar or saccharine? Madeleine asks:

What role does religion play for societies and individuals? And is it a good thing?

In Stronger stuff Andrew replies that

Madeleine Bunting is mistaken. Religious is neither sugar nor saccharine, but good old nineteenth century opium.

Giles Fraser wrote a column on Thursday Resurgent religion has done away with the country vicar. This has provoked many website comments and some letters in the paper (scroll down) on Friday. The Guardian carried a Good Friday editorial Fight the good fight. which refers to the above article, and concludes thus:

…Religious liberals support the values of the modern secular state. They oppose racism and homophobia, they advocate the separation of church and state, they promote tolerance. This is why the current tension in the Anglican church should matter to everyone. If Rowan Williams were to decide that the Anglican Communion could only be saved by a lurch to conservatism, liberal secularism would be one of the losers. It may be that only 2 million regularly go to church, but three-quarters of Britons still regard themselves as Christian. The fight for women bishops and gay clergy is part of the wider fight for equality and tolerance throughout society. Religious liberals and defenders of the secular are fighting on the same side. In these pages yesterday, the vicar of Putney, Giles Fraser, called for liberals to rediscover their fight. So too must the defenders of secularism.

Rowan Williams broadcast this Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 on Good Friday.

Mark Sisk Bishop of New York preached this sermon earlier in the week at the diocesan Chrism Mass: What then is the spirit of our age?

The Times also had a leader on Good Friday. So did the Telegraph : Truth brings all honest people into an alliance.

On Ekklesia Simon Barrow has How Easter brings regime change.

This week in the Church Times Giles Fraser has The limits of silence at the cross.

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On Giles Fraser and the Gruaniad’s comments… I love the way liberals, humanists and atheists alway paint conservatives as extremists one step away from murder, whilst conveniently forgetting that less that 20 years ago extreme atheistic humanism – in the form of communism – was still oppressing people globally… and still is in China etc !