Not long ago, I was invited to be the main speaker at the conference of Anglican Academy and Secondary School Heads (AASSH). My first talk was to follow the inaugural address given by Dr Rowan Williams. As a lowly cleric, what could I do to break the spell cast by the former Archbishop of Canterbury?
I decided to flip the switch from serious to silly. I began by showing my audience a clip from Carry On Up the Khyber. In the movie, Sid James plays Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond, Governor of a province near the Khyber Pass. The 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment are defending the British territory near the Khyber Pass. They are a fearsome lot who are said to not wear anything under their kilts!
I showed the heads of school a clip from the penultimate scene of the film where the enemy is shelling the Governor’s Residency. The blasts get louder and the cannon balls land closer to target as Sir Sidney and his officers and ladies are dining in regal splendour. The building is shaking and plaster is falling into the soup. But Queen Victoria’s entourage carry on the charade and pretend that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Only Brother Belcher fails to display a stiff upper lip, and panics like a normal person.
My audience got the message I was to deliver over the next two days. Christian civilisation had collapsed like a plywood castle eaten by termites; Islamofasicm had moved its cannons into Westminster; the barbarians were at the multicultural gates. But apart from a few irritating Brother Belchers the nation was playing ‘Carry On Britain’ while the plaster was falling into the soup and carrying on as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
Christian civilisation had collapsed like a plywood castle eaten by termites; Islamofasicm had moved its cannons into Westminster; the barbarians were at the multicultural gates.
Two acts in our Khyberesque play sum up this theatre of the deranged.
Act 1: Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman is waging a war in Yemen killing thousands, trying to destroy his Qatari Arab kin and persuading the US, Britain and Western allies to support the Saudi war against the Shias of the Middle East. This does not deter PM Theresa May and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby from throwing a red carpet welcome and grovelling before the ‘moderate’ ruler of one of the world’s most brutal Islamic regimes. Welby is actually photographed bowing before the monarch of a country that is the primary exporter of Salafist Islam!
Act 2: British police detain Lauren Southern, a 22-year-old white female Canadian reporter, under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for six hours. They interrogate her about her Christian faith and ban her from entering Britain. A couple of days prior to her detention, police detain and ban Austrian Identitarian leader Martin Sellner and his girlfriend, YouTube commentator and author, Brittany Pettibone from entering Britain.
I watched Tommy Robinson’s interview with Lauren Southern following her release. It is like a scene out of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. The police ask Southern to describe her political ideology. ‘Then they asked me about my religion and asked if I was a Christian extremist, how I would describe my Christianity,’ she says. After that they asked her how she felt about someone driving a car or a truck into a group of people!
What is ‘Christian extremism’? Loving your worst enemy?
Every Christian in Britain should be protesting this grotesque misrepresentation of Christianity and the audacity of the police to equate it with terrorism. What is ‘Christian extremism’? Loving your worst enemy? Forgiving the person who offends you seventy times seven? In that case, every faithful Christian is or ought to be a Christian extremist!
If Christians commit violence in the name of their faith they are defying the teaching and example of the founder of Christianity, who called his disciples to turn the other cheek and died on the cross. If Muslims commit violence in the name of their religion they are obeying the teaching and example of the founder of Islam, who called for spiritual and physical jihad and led more than 72 battles.
No doubt, not all Christians follow Jesus’ life and teachings and not all Muslims obey Muhammad’s life and teachings! Hence, there are violent Christians and there are peaceful Muslims. Is it so difficult for our government to understand this fundamental difference between the two major religions?
Southern’s real offence was to conduct a ‘social experiment’ in Luton displaying flyers saying: ‘Allah is gay. Allah is trans*. Allah is lesbian. Allah is intersex. Allah is feminist. Allah is queer. Allah is all of us…. LGBT for Islam UK god’ outside a restaurant in the town centre. So what’s the palaver about calling any god gay and educating Muslims on supporting intersectionality? Cool, innit?
Anglican priest and human rights activist, Paul Oestreicher, former Canon at Coventry Cathedral, preached on Good Friday arguing Jesus was probably gay. The Guardian posted his views in an opinion piece. Bob Shore-Goss, a gay pastor who believes Jesus was gay, has written books on the subject, including Queering Christ and Jesus ACTED UP: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto. ‘For my own spirituality, I would love to jump into bed with Jesus,’ says Shore-Goss.
Allah is gay. Allah is trans*. Allah is lesbian. Allah is intersex. Allah is feminist. Allah is queer. Allah is all of us.
If Christian clergy can question God’s sexuality hoping to liberate gays, why shouldn’t a reporter go around saying ‘Allah is gay’ and see how people respond? Besides, our government is vigorously pushing the gay agenda on Christians. The Wilton Park report demands seminaries include ‘queer theology’ in their courses and Sunday schools incorporate ‘teaching of LGBTI beliefs’. Shouldn’t the government be incentivising Miss Southern for educating Muslims about the potential gayness of Allah instead of banning her from entering the country? And how is distributing a leaflet on Allah’s inclusive attributes an act of terrorism?
Since Britain repealed blasphemy laws in 2008 we should be free to insult and offend any religion. Since Islam is not a race and Muslims comprise almost every race, ethnicity and nationality on the face of this planet, Lauren Southern cannot be accused of racism.
So what is she being accused of? Take a deep breath and count to ten before you explode. Melanie Phillips prophetic vision of Londonistan has come to pass. Britain has reintroduced blasphemy laws, but they apply only to insulting Islam. Last week, a Pakistani court ruled that all citizens must declare their religion when applying for identity documents. The police asked Miss Southern not just about her religion, but quizzed her about a particular non-existent religious brand of Christianity.
This week, witnesses and human rights representatives are telling the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva how the government is using blasphemy laws as a weapon against the Christian minority in Pakistan. Have we now degenerated into a banana republic like the Islamic Republic of Pakistan where the British government has used what is effectively a blasphemy law to strip Lauren Southern of her human rights?
Funnily enough, the Khyber Pass which was the fictional location for Carry On Up the Khyber, is located in the north of Pakistan. While Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond and his party were indulging in a pantomime of pretence, the 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment were fighting the fierce battle. The natives had the cannons, but the British soldiers had the balls. Now we don’t have the cannons and we don’t have the balls.