Friday, 11 April 2008

I'm So Privileged!

I've often wondered who my Assembly member is! Sounds staggering, doesn't it, that I haven't got a clue! Well that didn't last long - I've just done a little search! And I discover it is a fellow native of the Rhondda, Lorraine Barret who, by some coincidence, has been quite vocal on the Archbishop of Wales' recent comments on the Welsh Assembly. Maybe it's not so bad that I didn't have a clue who she was. After all, being a Christian, I should keep my political opinions to myself (that's not my opinion by the way but my Assembly Member's!)

Lorraine Barret - yes, that's right, my Assembly Member (well done, you're keeping up!) said this. "The archbishop can have his own views but I don't think he should use his position to try to influence society on a religious basis. I don't think religion should have any privilege in our civil society,." Now I must admit to getting a little hot under the collar at comments like that. Why? Well, not because I necessarily agree with the Archbishop. neither is it because I'm some kind of religious extremist but simply because it's not a privileged position that I want as a Christian and a priest, above and beyond the rights of everyone else. I simply want an equal voice without anyone putting me down or taking away my privilege as a citizen in Welsh (and, yes, British) society. And by that I mean the privilege of freedom of speech, the freedom of viewing the world from my perspective (or, hopefully, from God's perpective - if that's possible - we try!) and being able to say, with conviction, that I believe something is right or wrong because of the particular belief I have in God.

You see, I find this whole argument tiresome. Yesterday I stumbled across the recent attempt of Chris Bryant (Labour MP for the Rhondda) to bring political pressure on the Church England to ordain women as bishops. Now, taking away the internal 'politics' of that issue within the Church, I find the whole thing quite flabbergasting. Politicians (or at least some of them - hiya, Lorraine!) say that religion and politics don't mix and shouldn't be mixed and, if you don't mind, if you are religious and you have something to say about society (or about politics or politicians or life or anything else for that matter!) then please take off your religious shoes at the front door if you don't mind, (I've just hoovered!) But they seem to have a lot to say about us! Now then, now that I have taken a new political step up - I'm looking forward to the next Assembly elections. I wonder who I shall vote for? Someone who says I should keep quiet or someone who offers me liberty and freedom and a voice to express what I believe? I've got a few years to think on that one! What a privileged position I'm in!

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