Sunday, 22 July 2012

Is it OK to Attack Christians if you are on the Right, but not the Left? Cranmer’s Inconsistency

A few days ago the Cranmer blog was defending Evangelical Christians against ‘liberal’ attacks in the Guardian. A government advisor Alan Judd had laid into the Christian belief of creation in relation to education policy, and why it needed to be excluded from schools. Cranmer offered a very useful defence on the 20th July 2012 DfE labels evangelical Christians 'extremist'

However a few days later he posts an open letter from Rev. Nick Howard and co., which attacks the South East Gospel Partnership (SEGP) because of its refusal to sanction or withdraw fellowship from Rev. Stephen Sizer. Cranmer asks ‘Why does the South East Gospel Partnership tolerate anti-Semitism?’ 21 July 2012

The allegations that Howard makes have been examined by Police and Sizer’s own Bishop and found wanting. That isn't to say that people don't make mistakes, but if Sizer has been cleared by his own Bishop the SEGP surely has a Christian duty to remain in fellowship with him. Why then the renewed attack by Howard, now on the SEGP? Cranmer further basically accuses the SEGP of tolerating anti-Semitism. There does seem to be a determined effort here to divide and discredit a respectable group of evangelicals in an attempt to isolate Stephen Sizer. Unfortunately, the SEGP seems caught up in a proxy war within the Anglican Church over political support for Israel and Palestine. Perhaps Howard thinks the SEGP is of no consequence because they are not a Christian Zionist group, but this desire to expand the battle lines reflects badly on his cause.

So, a question for Cranmer - is it acceptable to attack Evangelical Christian groups from the Right, but not the Left? Instead, do we as Christians not have a duty to forgive our brothers and build community, or do some political manoeuvres triumph Christian faith?

One thing I have observed in life is that there is as much error on the political right as there is the left. As a social conservative I believe we need to uphold both social responsibility as well as personal responsibility. Sadly, conservatives sometimes have a bad habit of defending inequality and injustice - the same may apply to a lack of concern for Palestinians as they are forced out of their homes and land. As Christians we have a duty to work for peace, justice and reconciliation on all sides, Jews and Palestinians, as we seek to bring knowledge of Christ to all people and to all nations.  

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