Opinion: Christianity's voice has been hijacked

Before I delve too far into a highly emotive subject, I should probably point out that I am not speaking strictly as a Christian. I am sufficiently unsure to hedge my bets a little and take my kids to church occasionally, but like many, Christianity doesn't figure as part of my daily life.

So I am always amazed that in such a supposedly secular society there seems to be such an interest in Christianity. Witness, for example, Channel 4's strange if fascinating programme last Saturday which involved rewriting the ten commandments.

The programme, which asked whether the original commandments are still relevant, should have been required viewing for PROs working for Christian groups. No doubt some found this TV show tasteless and lacking in reverence, but the fact that several of the original decrees were overturned by the voting audience must have rung a few alarm bells.

The overwhelming impression of the exercise was that a vast swathe of the British public confuse spiritualism with humanism. Hence the new commandments' focus on protecting family, children, the vulnerable and the environment - along with prohibitions against killing, violence and theft, and a heavy accent on responsibility for one's actions.

The most popular commandment by far turned out to be 'Treat others as you would have them treat you'. While the exhortation to 'love God' was conspicuously absent, it seems that the moral codes once designed to underpin a Christian life have become an end in themselves.

Weekly church attendance remains the preserve of the dedicated few. What this programme did was highlight the real sense of disconnect that the Christian movement can't seem to overcome.

Take the Church of England. Anglicans have apparently long been involved in issues of environmental protection, prevention of the spread of Aids/HIV, and the protection of children, as well as addressing problems such as domestic violence - all critical touch points of public concern. But while the public evidently value tolerance above all Christian values, the overall impression of the Anglican Church is of an organisation looking ever more inward as it attempts to ostracise homosexuals within its senior ranks.

In the meantime, the PR chasm is being filled all too vocally by others such as Christian Voice, which having taken on Jerry Springer: The Opera, has upped its game to declare war on abortionists.

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