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Tolerance and Inclusivity
Because not In Spite of Faith

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I am tolerant and inclusive because of not in spite of my Christian faith in the God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. I affirm science, the results and conclusions of science, including the scientific conclusions about the origins of the universe and of life, together with human life, because of not in spite of my Christian faith in the God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus incessantly challenged the fence-building and the excluding that we people do to one another. Jesus would have us love all people – not just our in crowd. People found (and find!) this deeply challenging – in the end, that was central to getting Jesus put to death.

Science is founded on the belief that reality is reasonable and consistent – just as one would expect if created by God. It does not surprise me (it does surprise many other people!) that “Big Bang” was a put-down by (atheist) Sir Fred Hoyle to mock the theory proposed by Belgian priest, astronomer, and professor of physics, Fr Georges Lemaître, that the universe had a beginning. 

When some people discover I received a science degree before I studied theology, they think that I left science (I have taught Physics and Mathematics at secondary school) because I became a Christian [Christians who tout an anti-evolution, anti-science, 6,000-year-old universe have lots of airtime]. The opposite, of course, is the case. I was a Christian at university and studied and taught science as a Christian.

All this was brought to mind when King Charles III declared that as a committed Anglican, he pledges:

to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for Faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals.  This diversity is not just enshrined in the laws of our country, it is enjoined by my own faith.  As a member of the Church of England, my Christian beliefs have love at their very heart.  By my most profound convictions, therefore – as well as by my position as Sovereign – I hold myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals. 

 The beliefs that flourish in, and contribute to, our richly diverse society differ.  They, and our society, can only thrive through a clear collective commitment to those vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit and care for others which are, to me, the essence of our nationhood.  I am determined, as King, to preserve and promote those principles across all communities, and for all beliefs, with all my heart.

The King’s remarks to Faith Leaders

There has been debate in the past, particularly when Charles was Prince of Wales, around what would happen, when he ascended the throne, to the understanding of Defender of the Faith – would it become Defender of Faith, or Defender of the Faiths? What Charles has now highlighted is that he will defend faith and defend faiths because he is the Defender of the Anglican Faith which, when understood well, is committed to diversity and to each person having the right to choose their own worldview.

The term first occurs when Pope Julius II made James IV of Scotland “Protector and Defender of the Christian Faith” in 1507. Pope Leo X conferred the title Defender of the Faith on King Henry VIII for his book Defence of the Seven Sacraments. Pope Paul III revoked the title after Henry was declared head of the Church of England. In 1543, Parliament re-conferred the title on Henry and his successors.

King Charles III’s understanding of defending faiths because of not in spite of being Defender of the (Anglican) Faith is a repeating of his mother’s position who said:

The concept of our Established Church is occasionally misunderstood, and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free prac­tice of all faiths in this country…

[She wished to send good wishes to each of the faith groups] in the hope that — with the assurance of the protection of our Established Church — you will continue to flourish and display strength and vision in your relations with each other and the rest of society.

Queen defends C of E

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7 thoughts on “Tolerance and Inclusivity <br>Because not In Spite of Faith”

  1. Father B,

    Are you aware that the RSS feed for Liturgy has stopped functioning?

    The source code for your page says that the feed should be https://liturgy.co.nz/feed but that doesn’t work.

    I used to be advised when you published a new post in my news feed aggregator app, NetNewsWire, but I haven’t received a notice in a few months.

      1. I ask this sincerely and do wish to debate.
        Have Utrecht Old Catholics continually conferred Diaconate Priesthood+ Episcopal Consecration according to the pre-1969 Catholic Rite or the post 1969 New Rite of Holy Orders?

        1. I am not sure how your question fits in with this thread, Anthony.
          Furthermore, I don’t understand the either/or version of your question. You assume that other denominations simply use the RC rites for ordination. This is obviously not the case. Old Catholics have their own rites for ordaining. Like other denominations, these will have certain touch-points with the RC rites, both historic and contemporary, but, nonetheless, they are not simply replicating RC practice. Blessings.

  2. Interesting. Are you limiting your tolerance and inclusivity to arguments of intelligent design? Or are you using that as an easy pass to taciltly suggest chrisitans should be liberal with their tolerance and inclusivity?

    Sure, Jesus was tolerant and inclusive within reason. And he was very explictly intolerant and exclusive in specific matters. The cleansing of the temple with a whip comes to mind. Not the model picture of love and tolerance. His continual unbridled anger at the self-righteousness of the pharasees. And his intolerance of continued sinfulness: “stop sinning so that nothing bad happens to you”, “Go and sin no more” and “leave you life of sin”.

    Perhaps there is something there that NZ anglicans could learn from about tolerance and inclusivity. It’s a dangerous position to be more tolerant than God.

    1. Not sure what your point is, Adam. Or exactly what you mean by “Intelligent Design” – are you arguing in favour of that, or against that? And, yes, I don’t think this short post was saying we should not be passionate about injustice, etc. I hope that clarifies your questions. Blessings.

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