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September 20, 2005

Send the Bishops to Baghdad - says Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen

Posted by Peter Mullen

Church of England bishops have proposed that all of Britain's Christian leaders should hold a "Truth and Reconciliation" meeting to apologise for the Iraq war. Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen - the Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill in the City of London & Chaplain to the Stock Exchange - suggests that the bishops, if they wish to pronounce on Iraq, should first improve their expertise on the issue. They should go to Iraq.

The latest jape from the bishops in the Church of England is to say that the nation should apologise for the war in Iraq. They want to call a "Truth and Reconciliation" meeting whereby Christian leaders all apologise for the invasion of Iraq and the deposition of Saddam Hussein.

The Bishops say we ought as a nation to apologise to the Iraqis for our invasion of their country. As is the rule with statements from the bishops, the intention of their remarks is not entirely clear. Do they, for example, mean to imply that things would have been much better if we had not deposed Saddam Hussein and that his genocide had been allowed to continue? By opposing the war they tacitly give a retrospective thumbs up to Saddam and his torture chambers.

What do the bishops know about politics and war anyhow? There is the story of Stanley Baldwin faced with a miners' strike and a threatened intervention by the bishops in his day. Baldwin said, "I'll let the bishops mediate between the government and the strikers if they'll let the National Union of Mineworkers revise the Athanasian Creed".

But the bishops have never let doubts as to their actual competence in any matter impede them from poking their crooks into matters a mile away from their proper expertise. Bishops and Synods in the Church of England have pronounced on every issue from glue sniffing to the hydrogen bomb these last twenty-five years. They want us to believe that they are lending us the divine perspective on matters too intransigent for professional political or military remedies. Thus they declare on the rightness or wrongness of all wars, they enter the minutiae of every aspect of social policy from the future of the inner cities to the operation of the coffee market.

Such gestures of assistance would be most welcome if only the bishops had demonstrated their competence in matters happening in their own backyard, so to speak. But instead we find that their theological and liturgical policies over the last thirty years have emptied the churches. These men are not faithful shepherds. They have undermined the faith by a relentless outpouring of books, reports and pamphlets casting doubt on Christian basics such as the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth of Our Lord.

And when they are asked what they believe about these dogmas, they answer with much less assurance than when, say, they get up to make a song and dance about the economics of debt relief and foreign aid. But men so uncertain about heavenly things should not be expected to have much understanding of things that are merely earthly.

They have done the equivalent of selling the household silver – no, not selling, just throwing away – in their deliberate sidelining of The Authorised Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. They have effectively demolished the four hundred years treasure house of devotion found in those great books and built a shabby prefab instead. And even on the merely mundane level – that world of practical business which they claim to understand so well – they have diminished everything they have touched. It was the bishops who presided over the greatest mismanagement of church funds since the destruction of the monasteries. £800 millions were lost – and that's the most conservative estimate. They have sold off all the fine old vicarages, usually at the top of the property market, and now they are having to raid central funds to repair the tawdry four-bedroom suburban boxes they built to replace them.

I have an idea. If the bishops wish to pronounce on Iraq, we should at least help them improve their expertise on the issue. We should send them to Baghdad.

Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen is Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill & Chaplain to the Stock Exchange. He is the co-editor of Called to Account: The case for an audit of the state of the failing Church of England.

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Perhaps while the Bishops are there, they could drop in on Saddam Hussein and toady to him as George Galloway did: "Sir, I salute your strength, your courage and your indefatigability."

I haven't been to church for years and feel emotionally very distant from the C of E. Every time the bishops say something it is usually so wrong-headed as either to make me laugh or to revolt me. They are an embarrassing irrelevance.

Posted by: Mike at September 20, 2005 05:25 PM

Dear me! First we botch the invasion, destroying Iraq's water and power supply but not the enemy. Then we invaders become the irritant sparking a nationwide revolt. Then, around torturing whomever we get our hands on while posing naked prisoners for sado-masochistic 'happy-snaps' in our gulags, we preside over law and order dissolving into chaos and gangsterism whereby no Iraqi is safe from kidnappers. Now -- now -- the Rev Dr Mullen wants to subject the long-suffering Iraqis with something even worse. He wants to send them dozens or even hundreds of Anglican bishops. Has this man no mercy? Couldn't we just carpet-bomb them a little more and call it even?

Posted by: s masty at September 20, 2005 09:03 PM

This is yet another example of why the Church of England is the best argument for atheism that there is. I am a Christian and an Anglican. However, I never came to faith through the Church and the only time I have had doubts is when involved in Church life. It's a year and a half since I last went, and feel better for it.

Basically, I have found that the Church of England is full of smug middle class people with a very high regard for themselves who have paganised the Lord into a graven self-image. In 'The Church of the Holy Middle Classes' the Cross may as well be replaced by a graven image of 'the holy middle class 'christian' '. They will blow with any wind of fashion to maintain their comfy, threat free existance to worship their self-image.

It's extremely difficult to believe that any one of the Anglican Bishops who wrote such crass and evil nonsense actually believe that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Posted by: Hal at September 23, 2005 12:59 PM

Radical Moslems prepared to sanction suicide bombings and even the killing of children receiving sweets do so because they believe the West is conducting a crusade against Islam. I can't see how apologising can do anything but confirm them in this belief.

There is a curious inconsistency here. The church in apologising for a war it opposed, will be supporting the idea of "group responsibility", a notion it rejects for Islamic terrorism at home - recognising that individuals are guilty of 7 July and that other Moslems owe no apology.

The second position surely makes better sense

Posted by: JohnM at September 28, 2005 02:55 PM

Are you the same Rev. Peter Mullens from this article?

"London) A Church of England priest has issued a public apology for writing in Web postings that gays should be forcibly tattooed with a sodomy warning.

“I did not intend to cause any upset but I realize that the remarks were injudicious and I have caused offence. I want to issue an apology,” the Rev Peter Mullen said Tuesday.

“I did not intend to cause offence when I made some joking remarks about homosexuals,” the statement said.

“I was not actually meaning to criticize individual homosexual persons, but the promoters of gay culture. However, my remarks have caused offence and for this I am sorry and make a full and complete apology.”

Mullen, who is chaplain to the London Stock Exchange, came under fire Monday when the comments on his internet blog became public.

In the posting Mullen said the forced tattoos would be similar to warning placed on packages of cigarettes.

“Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan ‘Sodomy can seriously damage your health’ their chins with ‘Fellatio kills.’

In another posting the 66-year old Mullen calls for gay pride parades - which he called “obscene” - to be outlawed.

In yet another he blasted poetically another Church of England priest, the Rev Martin Dudley, for blessing the civil partnership of two fellow clerics.

“The Bishop of London is in a high huff, Because Dr Dudley has married a puff; And not just one puff - he’s married another: Two priests, two puffs and either to other.”

Bishop of London the Rt Rev Richard Chartres has criticized Dudley for conducting the ceremony, but chastised Mullen for the blog postings.

Following a meeting with officials from Chartres office late Monday the blog postings were removed."

If so, shame on you.

Posted by: Stephen Mead at October 9, 2008 02:17 AM
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