Wednesday 24 December 2003

Another institution bent on self-destruction?

On Monday I wrote about the ban on a CD that mentioned Jesus. Readers will probably not be surprised by the angry comments in these letters in today's Scotsman. As Derrick McClure puts it:
This goes beyond mere ineptitude; it is one of the most crass, pathetic and shameful gestures ever reported of any public body in Scotland. The highest principle the clowns in the Scottish Executive and the hospital can think of is that of not giving offence.

Well, I am offended.

I suppose we could argue that the hapless hospital official who banned the CD was simply reflecting the values of his political paymasters, but what are we to make of a church advertising campaign that replaces Jesus with Santa Claus?
It's a traditional nativity scene with a difference. Mary and Joseph and the shepherds are all there in the stable - but the manger is occupied by a baby Santa Claus.

But one senior Scottish churchman is not amused that Santa has ousted Jesus from the crib.

The Rt Rev Michael Hare Duke, former Episcopalian Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, says the advert - which his own church has backed - will confuse people rather than help them to understand the Christmas message.

He said: "They have replaced the baby, who is essentially a historical person, with the mythological figure of Santa Claus.

"It will confirm what lots of non-churchgoers think about Christmas - that it’s a happy children’s fairytale."

A culture or a religion that does not stand up for its own values is doomed.