Monday, February 2, 2009

Chaplain Bans Creed to Be "Inclusive"

It seems that dropping the Creed from worship is not just an American thing. Here's what the beginning of an article in the Daily Mail Online says about a Church of England chaplain:

Sandhurst military academy has dropped the Church of England Creed [sic] from services over fears that it may offend religious minorities.

The move has outraged worshippers who say centuries of religious tradition have been sacrificed for the sake of political correctness.

Senior chaplain Reverend Jonathan Gough dropped the Christian declaration of faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, when he took office earlier this month.

Mr Gough – nicknamed the ‘Right On Rev’ by some of his flock – says he wants to avoid offending non-believers.

But Christian cadets and civilians were furious when the traditional Anglican service abruptly ended without the Creed being read last Sunday.

Although no official announcement was made, a fellow Chaplain said it had been removed ‘to stop upsetting cadets who do not believe in God’.

Last night the Ministry of Defence confirmed the Creed, which also refutes heresy, had been withdrawn from services at the Royal Memorial Chapel to make the church more inclusive.

This is despite the fact that it is not compulsory for any Sandhurst cadets to attend.

Read it all.

I think the "Right On Rev" is dead wrong. This is a good example of how the (no doubt sincere) desire to be inclusive pushes the Church further in the direction of offering nothing in which to include anyone in the first place.

The logic of this misguided notion of "inclusion" can easily lead to a slippery slope. After all, why stop with dropping the Creed? Aren't some people offended by references to Jesus as Lord? Or to any reference to Jesus at all? What about atheists who are offended by the word "God"? What about persons who object to the perceived "cannibalism" of the Eucharist, or who object to the norm that baptism precedes the "right" to receive communion? Or what about excluding sacred writings from other religious traditions from Christian worship? Doesn't a closed canon exclude and pass judgment on other religious persons?

It's a good thing that early Christians like the apostle Paul didn't buy into this misguided understanding of "inclusion." If they had, chances are pretty good that none of us would even know anything about Jesus, much less have churches to worship in.

When we no longer stand for something in particular, we end up standing for little or nothing.

Another excerpt from the online article:

Former army officer Patrick Mercer, who went on to become the Bishop of Exeter, last night led calls for the Creed to be returned.

Mr Mercer, who trained at Sandhurst, said: ‘If you go to an Anglican Church service you expect to hear an Anglican service. I think the good reverend is being a little too precious.’



BillyD said...

Why on earth would you drop the Creed to avoid "offending" non-believers with references to Christian belief at a Christian religious service?

Joe Rawls said...

How is this "inclusive", since it has the effect of excluding--in a very real sense--folks who can say the Creed with a reasonably straight face? It's a safe guess that the good padre really doesn't believe most of the "nonsense" in the Creed and that he's using his position to impose his own agenda on the congregation.

Bryan Owen said...

You're asking the same question that baffles me also, BillyD. I just don't get this stuff.

And I think you're right, Joe. The paradox here is that, in the attempt to be "inclusive," this guy ends up being exclusionary. That's another reason why I characterize what's he's up to as a misguided notion of "inclusion."

plsdeacon said...

"Inclusion" (as defined by those who remove "exclusionary" things like the Creed or the Confession or the requirement for Baptism before receiving Eucharist) is a false idol. Like all heresies, it is true that God wants to include all persons in His Kingdom, but they way the "inclusionists" practice it, it excludes those who think that being a subject of God (and, thus, part of His Kingdom) means trusting certain things to be true and that receiving from God has obligations on us.

Phil Snyder

Kaira said...

Interesting article.