OUR region has many associations with high church officials of various denominations over the centuries. There have been reasons for joy and pride in this long relationship.

Alas, alongside celebrating the spread of the “Good News,” there were less inspiring moments of conflict and distress.

The recent avoidable controversy over Easter, the holiest time of the Christian year, has left a strange taste of sadness, bordering on despair, in the mouths of many worshippers.

We all have the right, publicly and harmlessly, to express our hopes and beliefs regarding religion. Yet, even if it is primarily for civic and civilized reasons, we all need to consider sensitively the effect of what we say on the feelings of others. Non-Christian faith is a common practice by people living peacefully in this country who rightly enjoy the consequence of goodwill and tolerance. I therefore present with some hesitation the incredibly hostile and hurtful statements made by some high authorities in the Church of England in recent times.

I hope you will be generous and understanding about what I say this week in the spirit of concern and comment.

I am Christian. Not particularly good – quite the contrary, perhaps! I don’t button those with opposing views. I am only a believer in the generally accepted sense, like many readers and others who are humbly aware of the conquering grace of the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ on this Earth and his phenomenal goodness and accept his ultimate sacrifice on the cross on Good Friday.

I’m sure 99% of humans who worship at Easter have watertight credentials for their positions and wouldn’t want to get dragged into sorted and unworthy bashing.

But it seemed utterly horrific and incomprehensible that the two leading clergymen of the national church had given free rein to their strong and uncompromising observations on what should be the most harmonious and accessible celebration of what is good in the Universe.

Yes, it made sense for them to speak of their righteous compassion felt with all those around the world caught up in the world’s tragic contradictions and injustices. Yes, our hearts accompany all expressions of sympathy and solidarity with the divine Goodness. But – and here I choose my words carefully – some influential clergymen have been wrong to slip into their public pronouncements they conclude that Almighty God must be incandescent with rage at the actions our political leaders have taken to relieve the fate of our less fortunate fellow human beings, taking them as a group of hunger, despair, cruelty and abandonment to a distant land, Rwanda, for a chance of settlement. To portray the Prime Minister or anyone else behind the scheme as inhumane and indifferent to trying to find a solution that could change their lives is grotesquely unfair.

To suggest that God will be more enraged by manufactured human inequities than pleased with an attempt to lend decency and health to the desperate and vulnerable victims of the world’s ills is bizarrely illogical. And misplaced. I prefer to let God make judgments about our conduct and motivations.


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