Sunday, 21 September 2014

Diabolical liberty

First, the Pope came out as an objective deist. More recently, the Archbishop of Canterbury admitted that on some days he's not even a deist. Just how far can this relaxed ecumenicism go? Back when I were a lad, the Not The Nine O' Clock News team asked the same question:

Sadly, the Church of England still hasn't embraced Devil worship, which is a pity, because in some parts of the world, the Satanic community seems more than ready to do its bit for outreach and inter-faith dialogue. And they seem to be making rather a good job of it, if the joyous publication,The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities, currently being distributed by The Satanic Temple is anything to go by.

Okay, it is a bit tongue in cheek, but there is a serious point about liberty and tolerance there, too. Not to mention a paradox wrapped up in a paradox. The well-worn meta-paradox is that most Christian Americans, who live with separation of church and state, take Christianity far more seriously than most people in the UK's biggest constituent country, with its established church.

Within that wider paradox we have the sub-paradox of things like Satanic activity books for tots and the growing acceptance of Wiccans in the US military emerging in a country stuffed with Serious Christians, rather than in a country so irreligious that even the Archbishop of Canterbury struggles with the whole believing in God thing.

Mind you, even though we're behind the curve when it comes to religious tolerance for diabolists, at least the C of E have made a start by omitting the words 'reject the devil and all rebellion against God' from the baptism service in favour of something a bit more inclusive, so the more liberal wing of the church might still end up embracing the Devil and all his works some time before the Anglo-Catholics and Serious Evangelicals have accepted women bishops and gay clergy.