Thinking Anglicans

more about Jenny and Jasmine

In my Saturday roundup of opinion pieces I included the article that Archbishop Sentamu wrote in the Daily Mail. One of the cases that he referred to there was the case of Jenny Cain and her daughter. The Telegraph reported this under the headline Primary school receptionist ‘facing sack’ after daughter talks about Jesus to classmate.

This case has given rise to criticism of the school, for example, according to the Telegraph:

John Sentamu said it was an “affront to the sensibility” of Christians everywhere that Jennie Cain is being investigated for alleged professional misconduct after she sent a private email to 10 friends asking for prayer.

And there was also Christian school receptionist row: More bishops speak out in support of Jennie Cain.

George Pitcher followed up with an opinion piece headed Christians need protection in law.

Other reports of the incident give a rather different picture. See for example:

Exeter Express & Echo Girl, 5, told off at school for talking of God followed the next day by Parents back head’s stance in storm over ‘go to hell’ comment

BBC School row over pupil’s God talk

Ekklesia School defends stance on girl who told classmate she would “go to hell”

Simon Barrow has written this comment article at Ekklesia Scaring the hell out of kids?

… Perhaps those Christians who object to the school wanting to maintain a non-threatening environment should ask themselves how they would feel if a son of theirs ended up crying after being told by an atheist pupil that religious people are nuts and should be locked up? Or if their daughter was upset by a Muslim telling her she would suffer eternally for not believing in Allah and his Messenger?

In both these cases, there would be an outcry if the school did nothing, or if it said that that their kids would have to put up with being frightened, because trying to stop this would amount to “not showing respect for beliefs”…

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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

As usual there appears to be more to the Jennie and Jasmine story than is first reported. I hope that the Abp of York had actually read the whole story rather than just what was reported in the Telegraph or does he think it is acceptable for one child to tell another that she will go to hell if she doesn’t believe in God? Presumably the child got this idea from somewhere. Is that what the mother believes too? Seems to me that ‘christian’have been seeing rather a lot of persecution when actually there isn’t any at all. Perhaps a… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

So this girl is reprimanded for threatening another student with eternal damnation for not believing in the Christian God. Good. I am an Anglican and was repeatedly told by Pentecostals that I was going to Hell because I am not a Christian and am not “saved”. I have lived with them trying to coerce me, by any means they could think of, into accepting their beliefs. And it wasn’t only the Pentecostals. I wish there had been someone to reprimand them. I know this is a little child, but she obviously needs to learn that there is a difference between… Read more »

Robert Ian williams
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Robert Ian williams

While the country still carries the farce of having a national Church…..no anti-Christian secular attacks should be allowed.We are not a secular state.

peterpi
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peterpi

Rows like this happen in the Colonies all the time. What first gets reported as “Poor persecuted defenseless Christians are being thrown to the lions again” often turns out to be quite different, something else entirely. I remember an incident in the Midwest where a school was sued by a conservative Christian group because the school forbade a child from praying voluntarily in school. It turns out that the “voluntary prayer” in question was being shouted through a bull horn or loud hailer by the student at other students during recess or play time – day after day. If a… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

It’s the height of disingenuous manipulation, to report this story as beginning with “a little girl talking about God”, NOT “a little girl threatened another little girl—to the point of tears—that she would ‘go to hell'”.

ConEvs may threaten ***other adults*** all they want to, with Hellfire. Not children!

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“While the country still carries the farce of having a national Church..” – Robert Ian Williams

Robert, I can quite see how a R.C. like yourself would regard the Church of England’s legal and constitutional position as The Church of England, to be farcical. Nevertheless, that is the legal status of the C.of E. – until the people of the nation decide differently. This, of course, is not the situation obtaining with the so-called Church of Rome, which claims a wider domain, and therefore no national title.

john
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john

I like ‘so-called Church of Rome’: plays to all my prejudices.

On how Sentamu would respond to you (which you raised elsewhere), I think he just wants the gay debate to go away. He’s not personally bothered, but has sometimes been put in a false position as ‘enforcer’ and seems to find the likes of Colin Coward a bit ‘noisy’. Such attitudes are not ideal but they are a lot better than some.

Ford elms
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Ford elms

“ConEvs may threaten ***other adults*** all they want to, with Hellfire.” No they can’t. They have no right to bring disrepute on the Gospel by such tactics, they have no right to co-opt the word “Christian” to mean solely whatever they believe, they have no right to claim that not being allowed to insult, revile, coerce, threaten, and force their beliefs on everyone else is “persecution” and denial of their rights. That kind of behaviour is not necessary, it isn’t Christian, and it is deeply offensive that any cleric would defend it as some sort of right. Now, the discipline… Read more »

Tim
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alleged professional misconduct after she sent a private email to 10 friends asking for prayer.

If I’d used work facilities to send private email, I wouldn’t be complaining about such an investigation nor would I expect +York to make it into an issue of Christianity either.

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Bang on Ford Elms…

You see, perhaps it is an American thing (and apparently Canadian-[that’s also probably redundant]), to become so full of your version of Christianity, and to ‘read’ the bible, that you can literally attack not only others’ denominations, but their perceived commitment and faith in Christ as well. This is the harsh reality of fundamentalists, and I’d wish that our leaders would be up to the task of calling it for what it is, outright abuse and slander of one’s personal beliefs.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“perhaps it is an American thing (and apparently Canadian-[that’s also probably redundant]),” You know, once I thought it was a Fundamentalist thing. Then I thought it was an Evangelical thing, since all the Fundies I knew suddenly, at some point in the late 70s, were offended at being called Fundamentalist and demanded to be called Evangelical. Given the comments I have read here and elsewhere by some who identify as Evangelical, I certainly don’t see it as solely a North American thing, I see many of the same things being said, and see much the same mindset, in some Brits… Read more »

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

I was very saddened at Archbishop Sentamu’s willingness to believe these exaggerated daft stories (like the ones – usually turn out to have no foundation – of local councils banning Christmas) peddled by the right wing media. The purpose of these stories is to promote a sense of grievance and victimhood. This is very easy to do and wise leaders are needed to avoid that particular trap of insanity. There are already laws to protect Christianity in that the laws on religious discrimination cover all religions in terms of goods and services and therefore education (but with an exemption for… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Actually Ford, I’ll be there (in Heaven) to criticize the tempo of the Howell’s Nunc of the Col Reg. (And to tell everybody how I would sing the tenor solo)

On a slightly less silly note, I should think Canadians would always be insulted when only people from the USA call themselves “Americans”. If you’re from the Western Hemisphere, and not living on some rock in the West Indies, you’re an American.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“If you’re from the Western Hemisphere, and not living on some rock in the West Indies, you’re an American.” Depends on who you talk to. Interestingly, Latin Americans, I think, seem more likely to have a broader definition of ‘American’ than English, or possibly French, speakers. For English speakers, “American” means citizen of the United States of America. It’s kind of like saying that if you are from Ireland, you’re British because you are from the British Isles. Dare ya to say that in a pub in Galway! Or tell a bunch of Scots in Glasgow that they’re English. Go… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“On a slightly less silly note, I should think Canadians would always be insulted when only people from the USA call themselves “Americans”. If you’re from the Western Hemisphere, and not living on some rock in the West Indies, you’re an American.”

Well, if you are thinking North America, don’t forget Mexico!

The kinds of over-simplistic over-dramtic – the barbarians are at the gate and Christianity is about to be erased kind of stuff is frequently posted to peoples’ whole mailing list in the states. I’ve told a couple just to take me off their lists.

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

“And after your musical critique of the Nunc, can we raise a few jars and grouse about Willan? Seriously. I’m eagerly anticipating Lent so we can move on from the Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena. Beautiful in an academic musical kind of way, but utterly inaccessible, the perfect wall to keep a person from really getting into the Mass. It provokes all the high emotional involvement of a loaf of stale bread”. Interesting, I usually come across the Willan during penitential seasons, not otherwise. Ya can’t beat the Byrd Four Part with a stick, that’s almost as good as s-x!… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

1- Any solution that says that people should not be allowed to say what they actually do believe – most of us would agree that this is wrong, for very good reasons. Stop people saying things merely to score points or to get back at people or to proclaim people second class. But who has the right to stop people saying what, so far as they can see, is true (i.e., a ‘belief’)? 2- The criterion that is often used is: Is this offensive? That is not a criterion that deserves to be used. For example, things can be both… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“I usually come across the Willan during penitential seasons, not otherwise.” We’re just beginning to experiment with changing the Mass setting with the season. Still have to keep the Creed Merbecke or people will grouse. AC at our place can easily mean nothing more than ‘set in their ways’. I can see why some would only use Willan at penitential times, it being somewhat flagellant. Honestly, usually with a new Mass setting, I don’t like it initially because it’s new. I go to St. Mike’s, we’re all like that. Then I find some access to it, usually at the Sanctus,… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“But who has the right to stop people saying what, so far as they can see, is true (i.e., a ‘belief’)?” Who is trying to do this? Do you really think that the only way to witness to the faith is to insult and threaten people? Do people really think it is a good thing to be a Christian just because you are terrified of what the angry vindictive Christian God will do to you if you not believe? God is not mocked. To Him, and this is something we Anglicans should know from childhood, “all hearts are open, all… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

The 2 essential points here are: (1) The NT word-group from which we get ‘faith’ is pistis/pisteuo, which has a broad semantic range that unfortunately does not map neatly onlt the English language at all. Hence the multiple controversies about the meaning of ‘faith’. We are expecting ancient & koine Greekl to have the same concepts as us – and why should they? Pistis/pisteuo covers belief (ie a working theory based on evidence but falling short of proof/knowledge – and most situations in life do fall short of 100% proof/knowledge), but it also covers trust and commitment. All of these… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

It goes without saying that while faith/belief is always evidence-based (since one could scarcely *really* believe anything without evidence, and the only alternative basis for a belief is a mere wish – which would be a dishonest basis) the *amount* of evidence varies, and always falls short of that which exists in those rare cases where there is full knowledge/proof. It’s a bit like an election. There is usually one candidate who appears better to my or your mind than the others, even if only slightly better. A candidate can win with 30% of the vote. But they are still… Read more »

Tim
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Christopher Shell scripsit: It is a standard, a cliche, that NT faith is essentially of the Heb 11.1 kind

Yes, very much so, I find. At least in evangelical circles faith is apparently unseeingness.

In my experience it is the walk.

I’ve been a brethren, a free-evo, a failed evo-boptist (their fault!), a CoE evo and a low-liberal Episcopalian veering on non-theist in my time; I trust this means none of the above can step forward claiming to be “the one true faith”, because the common factors do not support such a view.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Even if one gives evidence objectively,”

But you don’t, Christopher. If your faith is even in part based on evidence, then provide that evidence, please.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“It goes without saying that while faith/belief is always evidence-based”

Christopher, John 20, notice verses 24-29, with particular reference to verse 29.

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Hi FOrd- There are any number of reasons why citing John 20.24-9 is inapposite: (1) There are other kinds of evidence other than sight-based evidence; (2) Jesus himself, in John’s gospel and others, is taken to have predicted his own resurrection. So the evidence in this case would consist in the fact that it is rational to believe a trustworthy person, whether Jesus, Mary, the ten apostles, or all of these. (3) If Jesus’s ‘Blessed are those who have not seen but yet have believed’ were taken across the board, Jesus would also be commending belief in little green men,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

I’m so glad that: green cheese, little green men, etcetera, are not part of any credal statements in the Church Catholic and Reformed. Otherwise, I might have ‘lost my faith’ years ago. I don’t *see red* very often over these columns, but I’m beginning to get that rosy glow of impatience.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“There are other kinds of evidence other than sight-based evidence” Yet you still refuse to give any. It might be rational to believe a trustworthy person, but how is that evidence of anything? Scripture tells us Jesus told the Apostles He would rise again. They then tell us He did. How is that evidence of anything? Let me help here. For me, one of the most powerful arguments for the truth of the Gospel is St. Paul. I cannot understand how someone can go from being a vehement persecutor of Christians, to the extent that he may have been responsible… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

And this is another reason why it’d be better to have these arguments over a pint: no threads to derail!

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

When you say religion is irrational, I take it that you mean that so-called ‘religious’ so-called ‘beliefs’ are often irrational. Correct, but which of us can answer for another person’s ‘beliefs’? Jesus was not much to do with ‘religion’ anyway, but everything to do with real life. I think your error is to take ‘religion’ as your starting-point. How can it be the starting point when others don’t even have it in their picture at all, either as a starting-point, a midpoint or an endpoint? It is a very rare word in the NT (e.g. James 1) and even then… Read more »