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Misunderstanding Marginalisation

Today's BUGB e-news sweep links this article which talks about Christians who see themselves as 'marginalised', for which read 'discriminated against.'  What annoys me about most of the examples is they are people who don't even seem to understand why their claims are nonsensical, notably those who get uppity about being told not to wear crosses.

Like many of those cited, I wear a cross and have done for most of my adult life.  The one I now wear, and have worn for the last seven years, was an ordination present from a Scottish friend (nice little link/irony there).  Whilst I like wearing it, there are plenty of times when I don't, for all sorts of reasons, and it's no big deal.  And it's no big deal because I know and understand that crosses and the wearing thereof have no significant role in Christianity.  Too many of the people who get hoity toity about being told not to wear them don't understand that unlike Sikhs (especially) and Muslims (often) there is no religious requirement to wear a cross; the comparison is invalid.  Being told you can't wear a cross and chain on health and safety grounds is no different from being told you can't wear any other necklace.  As it happens, I also wear an SOS talisman on the same chain as my cross - I reckon I could make a far better case for wearing something that carries important medical information than a piece of (apologies) pseudo-religious jewellery.

The various examples of B&B owners are, so far as I can ascertain, examples of what amounts to law-breaking, though it may be a 'grey area', certainly it would be law-breaking for a hotel.  I am pretty sure these fine upstanding Christians have welcomed many guests who were co-habiting heterosexual couples, whether they knew it or not - I suspect, apart from anything else, they are being inconsistent in their taking of moral high ground.  As for how you can claim to be marginalised because you offer a public service and then withhold it, I am not so sure.  On the topic of B&Bs my walking friend and I had a near opposite experience when booking accommodation last summer... trying to book two singles or a twin room, one establishment offered us a double...  Is that the opposite kind of discrimination?!  (No, we found it quite funny and the landlady did suggest several other venues).

Finally, I am forced to ask myself, notably in the light of things such as Jim's post today whether all this Christian POM Disease (Poor Old Me) is based on a failure to understand our calling?  If we are called, somehow or other, to participate in Christ's sufferings then we ought to be expecting not just a bit of (perceived) marginalisation but some actual struggle as our counter-cultural, welcoming of the outcast, seeking of Shalom, lifestyle bewilders and bothers wider society.  I think it is pretty insulting to those Christians who really are persecuted that we who enjoy religious freedom enshrined in law get uppity about silly things like decorative lumps of metal and/or assert our 'rights' over and above others who live law-abiding, if different, lifestyles from our own (let them be Jews, let them be Turks... etc.  Baptist historical self-understanding; might that today equally say let them cohabit, let them be in civil partnerships? (and do I get struck off for asking the question?))

Jesus seemed to like the margins and those who were found there.  Perhaps we should rejoice rather than moan when we feel marginalised?


  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I couldn't agree more and you make the case beautifully.

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