Andy Walton looks at whether there is a "Religious Right" emerging in Britain
How The Church Lost A Fine Chance To Redeem Itself
29th October 2011
Peter Stanford | The Guardian
In the entrance hall of Church House, behind Westminster Abbey, a film on a loop tells how the modern Church of England is all about social services, education and a hands-on role in community life. How, Anglican leaders moan, is such a church seen by the public as a largely irrelevant institution obsessed with internal debates about homosexuality and the place of women at the Communion table?
If they still haven't got the answer, the events at St Paul's this week must have spelt it out. Canon Giles Fraser, that rare thing today, a popular, charismatic, radical clergyman, felt that his great cathedral had to choose between vocal anti-capitalist protesters and the fat cats of the City of London who wanted them silenced. Fraser backed the demonstrators, whose manifesto chimes so readily with both public disquiet at the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, and gospel values.
But Fraser's boldness horrified rather than inspired most of his colleagues. This is no longer a church with a taste for outspoken figures such as Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the radical voice of anti-apartheid protest in the 1950s and 1960s, or Bishop David Sheppard, who in the 1970s joined forces with his Roman Catholic counterpart, Derek Worlock, to stop Liverpool going bankrupt, or even Archbishop Robert Runcie in the 1980s, who risked Margaret Thatcher's fury when he published the Faith in the City report on urban deprivation. Her cabinet condemned that document as Marxist, but Runcie stuck to his guns and won renewed respect in secular times for the CofE because it showed itself more capable than most of standing up to the government.
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