Friday, January 05, 2007

Taking Offence

(BBC Online)
Like Jonathan Chilvers , Life of Brian is one of my favourite films, and therefore I find the whole furore coming from Christians when it was first released, rather embarrasing.
But, again like Jonathan, I wonder how I would have reacted had I been older than four years old in 1979 (when it was made), and I do empathise with some of the knee-jerk reaction in that many Christians felt that their faith was being threatened and some elemnets of society were persecuting them (God help them if they came across real persecution!)
But there is a difference between persecution and challenege and Life of Brian does challenge the Christian faith, pointing out the little foibles of it's followers and the general absurdities of life in general. Something Bishop Mervyn Stockwood should have perhaps of considered before he swanned into the TV studios and made unpleasant facetious comments about "Thirty Pieces of Silver" (But then I have never been a fan of Mervyn Stockwood, given the way he tried to bully John Stott into not allowing his church to be used by Billy Graham in the mid 1950's, and the incident with John Cleese and Michael Palin).
However, sometimes we Christians have a right to be worried and one example is the way the Exeter University Evangelical Christian Union has been treated. The group may have it's faults, but it is hardly a BNP Youth Wing and I don't quite see a problem with getting members to sign a declaration of faith (depending on what was in that declaration). After all you couldn't imagine a branch of a political party at University not having some form of ruling for it's members!


Tim Roll-Pickering said...

What's not received much coverage in all this is that at Exeter the main source of complaints against the Christian Union come from Christians.

From what I can see, and the various statements support this, there is nothing stopping the Exeter CU from existing as a society that isn't affiliated to its students' union and able to set what membership requirements and officer selection processes they like. Equally they could affiliate to the students' union if they were willing to accept the same rules as any other society (including many other religious societies, many of them Christian). But the CU wants to have its cake and eat it - demanding resources that are supposed to be fairly distributed to all (and also there's the question of the name).

Incidentally most political societies at universities do not have stringent requirements for membership. The Conservative society I was in at Kent had several non-party members and even some members of other parties (though as time went on they joined up).

Paul Burgin said...

Well I have heard their rep, hence why I was cautious when I mentioned their membership requirements, if I were a student there I doubt I would join them

"The Conservative society I was in at Kent had several non-party members and even some members of other parties (though as time went on they joined up)."

Tim, don't give me nightmares ;)