That we shouldn’t be gratuitously offence to people who believe a little differently from ourselves is simply good manners. Once one of the highest aims of the peoples of these isles, to be good mannered. But it is possible to be excessively wishy washy while attempting to be so.
Take this about a church covering up a crucifix, varied Jesus related things, over Islam and Ramadan. This is really very silly indeed:
A church has raised eyebrows after offering to ‘cover up’ a cross and allow Muslims to say prayers in its building during Ramadan. As part of the plans, men who attend a nearby mosque were reportedly invited to use the aisle of the parish church in Darlington as a place of prayer. Muslim women were also offered space in adjoining rooms of St Matthew and St Luke’s church, it is claimed.
Objecting to that gender disparity would perhaps be reasonable. But covering up the cross? Why?
The Reverend Lissa Scott agreed for the celebration of the Muslim fast to take place in St Matthew and St Luke’s church in Darlington. As part of the event, the Reverend agreed to ‘cover up’ the church’s cross and a copy of The Light of the World, a well-known devotional painting of Jesus by the pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt.
Really, if we’re all going to get pally with Muslims then we should at least try to understand Islam. Jesus is regarded as a prophet, rather than The Prophet, within that religion. To venerate him is just fine, even if that doesn’t extend as far as considering him the Son of God.
The problem therefore isn’t getting all community like this, it’s not bothering to find out what the belief system actually is. But then as the Church of England doesn’t really have a belief system who is that surprised?
It is, of course, possible that the covering is to accord with the non-representation of the human form regarded as part of Islam but that’s another matter. One where we say, well, this is our belief system and let’s be all community about it, shall we?