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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Christianity in Decline : Women to Blame

I reckon it's pretty much the nadir of the Church in this country when a bishop is addressing the UKIP conference. Not because they're anti-EU. Not because they're in favour of private enterprise or even limiting immigration. We can all legitimately disagree over these matters. But because they use fear of other people to drive their agenda.

But if this is a low spot, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has identified where it all started going wrong. In the 60s, when mothers stopped sharing the faith with their children.

There's a lot of historical nonsense in that statement, and some implicit assumptions.

With the exception of a minor revival in the 50s, the percentage of practising Christians in the UK has been declining since Victorian times. Some have put this down to the First World War. In short, the lies sold to the working class - especially that sweetest of all, about dying for your country - led to a rejection of deference. And that deference was lost to walrus-moustachioed colonels, land owners, mill owners and the Church, as it pronounced God's blessing on a war that sacrified young men for dying empires.

By the Sixties, that process was in runaway mode. Car ownership, smaller families, increased the potential for leisure activities that were more attractive than sitting on a hard bench while someone with a plummy voice told you to behave better. But that decline had been running downhill for decades.

What actually happened in the 60s that the Bishop may implicitly be criticising? Women were finding they didn't have to be chained to the stove or nursery all day. They had jobs - either through choice or necessity. They had fewer kids - so more time for other things. In short, they did not have to be defined solely as wives and mothers. Their parameters were not so circumscribed by their menfolk. That's what happened in the 60s.

So to bring us back to the 60s, a Bishop talks at a conference where, according to the Sun, activists handed out leaflets comparing gay people to Hitler. A bishop who left Pakistan because his life was in danger, talks to a party whose referendum advertising included warning that migrants endangered the country.

Still, if you want the Church to thrive, tell women to get back in the kitchen and teach their kids about Jesus.

7 comments :

  1. I would put it, myself, rather down to the erosion of Authority in general. How many dutiful Anglicans or Catholics or Methodists (or church of your choice) sitting meekly in the pews of a Sunday were acting out of anything more spiritual than fear of the Squire, of Hell-fire, of community disapproval? Although rejection of Authority became noticeably vocal in the 1960s (and wherever do you get the idea that married women in general didn't go out to work before then? Nice middle-class ladies, who did not work after marriage but charity work, were statistically much in a minority. All those factory hands, agricultural gangs, domestic servants, retail and hospitality trades, etc came from the working class, married, widowed, and single and believe me they did not work from choice.) with the broadcasting of TW3 and and relaxing of broadcasting censorship in general, the origins can be traced back decades if not centuries. Remember that Daily Herald headline in the 1950s? Oscar Wilde's The Soul of Man under Socialism? Even Byron's attacks on the Monarchy. The difference, in the 1960s, was that (thanks to mass media) it was not just the middle-class intelligentsia that were involved.

    I'll shut up, not before time.

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  2. Flashlight Annie30/09/2017, 18:06

    Would it be ungodly of me to want to slap the bishop?

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  3. On the other hand, fairer minded people might like to refer to Nazir-Ali's speech here: https://youtu.be/OCRe4pKZY8k It's rather a good speech.

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    1. Skipped through it - it's a bit long. Comparing the Holy Roman Empire to the EU is bizarre. And claiming that England / UK never wanted to be part of an empire simply untrue. We just wanted our own one. Repeated the Winterval lie which has been debunked for years. And did say that it was women responsible for Christian decline. I'm feeling pretty fair-minded.

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    2. I am confused. Why would it be the women's responsibility? How about men as the head of the family, spritual leader of the home and so on and so forth? Shouldn't THEY be the ones held responsible?
      (I would argue that, historically speaking, only small groups of people were "true believers", most went through the motions because their "betters" put pressure on them.)

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  4. Wasn't it the job of the fathers, as well?

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