Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Church or The MoD - Who's the Most Useless?

The Roman Catholic bishop, the Rt Reverend Tom Burns, who oversees the armed forces has praised the Iranian leadership for its "forgiveness" and "act of mercy" in freeing the 15 sailors.

"Faith in a forgiving God has been exemplified in action by their good deeds. They are offering to release the sailors and marines, not just as the result of diplomacy, but also as an act of mercy in accordance with their religion. Repentance has a common root in each religion. We all profess to hold a faith that comes from Abraham - the Father of all Nations. All nations form one community: we come from the one God who created us, and we will return to the one God as our common destiny."

Tom, the sailors were kidnapped by Iran in neutral waters. Remember?

His words were echoed by a leading Anglican figure, the Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, who said Iran had acted within the "moral and spiritual tradition of their country" and contrasted this with Britain's "free-floating attitudes".

"I saw on the one hand what Iran was doing, and what the president [of Iran] said had much to do with the moral and spiritual tradition of their country. The president talked about the religious background to the release, with reference to the Prophet's birthday and the passing over of Christ. What struck me was that if there were any values on the British side they were free-floating and not anchored in a spiritual and moral tradition."

Col Tim Collins, who led the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, sees things a little more clearly,

"It's a close call as to which organisation is in the deepest moral crisis - the Church or the Ministry of Defence."

Oliver Kamm makes the point succintly (unlike above),

"What binds us is not a set of religious doctrines but common citizenship and democratic rights under the rule of law. If you want to see what the alternative is like, Iran is not a bad place to start."

via Samizdata