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The former bishop of Rochester has made the speculative and apparently unsubstantiated claim that “Good Friday processions may be refused permission because they are regarded as a minority interest not worth police time.”
It comes in a video on You Tube (at 2 mins 40 secs), produced by ‘Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON)’, promoting a series of General Election hustings in churches. Michael Nazir-Ali will act as Chairman of the debates which are planned for April.
The claim he makes appears to be entirely without evidence, and like many of the headlines claiming discrimination and 'persecution' of Christians, will no doubt fall apart under closer scrutiny.
It does demonstrate however the extent to which some churches are actually bringing about their own maginalisation by being so inward looking and self-absorbed. They are making themselves more and more irrelevant, with wild claims based on the hysteria of a few vocal pressure groups.
But most seriously, when at a general election they should be looking to the interests of other truly vulnerable groups who really need advocates, it means that churches are neglecting their duty of care.
[Update 12 March: Martin Beckford at the Telegraph reports on the hustings today but completely fails to challenge Nazir Ali about this point. Nor does he even quote one critical or opposing voice to the CCFON initiative as a whole. In fact 'reports' is probably too generous a word. 'Produces a puff piece' is more accurate. ]Tweet