St James Ministry Team

A blog from the Ministry Team of St James Church, Colwall, Herefordshire, UK



I watched a recent Channel 4 programme giving the results of a survey on the attitudes of Muslims in this country, the tone of the programme being that they were worried that Muslims, instead of integrating, were wanting to keep themselves separate. I ended up sympathising with the Muslims and agreeing with them.

First of all was the attitude of the presenter, Jon Snow: it reminded me of the Lewis Carrol poem, You are old Father William. There was a thinly disguised attitude that anyone with a religious point of view was faintly nutty, a very prevalent attitude in the media and very insidious and difficult to counteract.

The second thing to emerge was that the preconception of non-Muslims was that women were oppressed. Not at all, say the Muslim women, its the Westerners who are oppressed. Oppressed isn't quite the word I would use, but I certainly agree that Western sexual attitudes, largely determined by commercial pressures, are giving both young men and women very unhelpful attitudes to sex. And we are not responding with a robust view of what sex should be about from a Christian point of view.

And lastly, alcohol. The acceptance of excessive and binge drinking is widespread, even by intelligent people. "It's just a bit of a lark - he went over the top." Whereas, it's actually a degradation of man created in God's image. Higher things are expected of us. I can sympathise with the Muslim's view of a complete ban on alcohol, but surely in England we can learn to be moderate, can't we?