Christianity under persecution?

Christianity being discriminated against‘ has been one of the reported concerns in both the Christian and national media. However, to extend that concern in to calling it ‘Christianity under persecution in the UK‘, seems to me to be exaggerating the claim somewhat beyond the realms of what real persecution is.

This was the thesis behind Easter Sunday evening’s BBC documentary ‘Are Christians being persecuted?’ with Nicky Campbell. Of course some of the secular groups were not convinced by it; and even commentators like Ecclesia were not wholly in favour either. Ed Sturton’s excellent documentary on Iraq’s Forgotten Conflict was much more about real persecution (and not just Christian either).

However, the ‘is Christianity being persecuted‘ debate did get me thinking about how the Christian coverage in the media was going over the Holy Week/Easter period. In the end, I was positively surprised at both the quality and the quantity of the stories in both the print and broadcast media.

Not all the stories were quite what the various press offices would have liked to have written for Easter – the Pope and the ongoing sex abuse reports for one; or Archbishop Rowan Williams’ reported comments that the Irish Church had ‘lost all credibility‘ for another. Even here though, with apologies from many Roman Catholics, and even agreement (on that point…, surprisingly) from some commentators meant it was not all bad news.

There have been interesting reactions to the ‘they want me to remove the crucifix I have worn to work for 30 years’ story, commentators, and bloggers, and even archbishops (“wooden-headed bureaucratic silliness“) may agree that Shirley Chaplin might have lost the legal argument, but perhaps won a significant moral argument that Christians are often treated differently in the media/society/legally to those of other faiths.

Over the Easter period Christianity has had quite an encouraging and positive airing this year, with – in addition to some of the expected fare – the previously mentioned Nicky Campbell documentary, and Start The Week with Andrew Marr with the Archbishop of Canterbury, snippets in ordinary programming/printed supplements, etc. And with the General Election now announced, groups such as Westminster 2010 will be trying in their own way to call parliamentary candidates to declare their personal position in relation to Christian issues. So perhaps the announcement of the demise of Christian principles may yet be a bit premature.

And, if Christianity was considering that it still had to deal with it’s image problem, Hadley Freeman has a failsafe come-back plan. – Just going to check the calendar to see if we are still stuck on 1 April…

Tha Crìosd air èiridh! Gu dearbh, tha e air èiridh! – Scots Gaelic for the Easter greeting “Christ is risen: He is risen indeed.” Another reminder that Christianity is not yet dead.

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