I finally got round to watching some of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme, “The New Fundamentalists” presented by Rod Liddell and aired about a month ago. (I recorded it not knowing that the tape was going into Susan’s school the next morning. I didn’t get it back till a few days later and by then I had lost the urge, so to speak.)
Liddell doesn’t like evangelical Christians, as is made clear. His concern is the growing influence of such in political life. For him this was a big SCARE STORY. Waahh!
Impressions so far? Big Wows. Yawn. The fact is evangelicals (of many and various stripes) have always existed in the UK, always had the influences he describes. Indeed, in the past some of the greatest ever influences for good in society have come from evangelicals. What’s the big deal now? It’s like Liddell himself was completely unaware of this until recently and now he is SCARED and wants to tell everyone about his WORRIES. Waahh! And what a privilege for him – he has the chance to worry on TV!
My response? Well, each time he raised an issue that worried him, I couldn’t help thinking, “Yes. And?”
But here’s a more substantial response (but even then it’s more of a kind of fat-bloke-in-a-‘La-Z-Boy’-chair type of response). One of Liddell’s issues is state-funded ‘faith’ schools, part of Labour’s education policy. OK, I’ll be fair. He is not against Christians paying to send their kids to private Christian schools. Let them. He is against the state funding schools set up by Christians and running along Christian lines. Why should the state subsidise Christian education?
Fair point, maybe? OK, suppose Christian parents wanted to pay for a private education for their children in order to avoid the secular pagan faith position in our schools, could they opt out of paying some of the taxes which fund the state system? Not yet, and so they would effectively pay twice to get the education they want for their children. The question is now the other way round – why should these Christians subsidise state education?
Yes we are free to send kids to private Christian schools, but the fact is, the freedom to differ with the State in this matter costs an exceptional amount of money.