George Carey and Justin Bieber's pet monkey vie for the front pages for who is the most out of control primate

30 Mar 2013 at 11:16

I suppose there is a delightful irony that a former Archbishop of Canterbury and Justin Bieber’s pet monkey vie for the front pages this morning as to which is the most out of control primate. I think George Carey wins by more than a whisker. And he is far more of a menace than the monkey who is now spending the night in Munich monkeydom.

Carey has got form for being a first class pain in the arse. Anyone who has worked with him (and I know a few) roll their eyes heavenward when the great man’s name is mentioned. The trouble is he got there by some divine joke. He was the guy the Commission put forward who was so utterly hopeless that their preferred choice would shine through and be chosen. The trouble is Thatcher didn’t quite understand these clerical shenanigans and picked the patsy.

And when after a few years of blithering idiocy at the helm of the Anglican Church everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he hung up his mitre and retired to DunPreachin. But oh no. He became the Daily Mail’s clerical rent a gob and has been a thorn in the side of every successor to the See of Canterbury, giving a whole new meaning to a bishopric. Whether it be helpful remarks about gay marriage, women priests or whatever the loons on the Mail backbench dream up, our George will offer an opinion, which is invariably wrong. Which I suppose means that he is at least consistent.

Personally, I have never been one of those politicians who knock the clergy for attacking government social policy. The Church is meant to be the champion of the poor and vulnerable and they have a right to give us their view even if it is often wrong. So I don’t criticise Carey for that. But what really irritated me beyond belief on Stephan Nolan’s show in the early hours of this morning was the MAIL splash that Cameron was persecuting Christians.

Not only is this utterly deluded it is an insult to those men and women who are imprisoned, tortured and killed because of their faith. He then went on to say that two thirds of Christians felt marginalised. Really? This rather mystified that rather sensible guy from the Christian think tank Theos who appeared on the show.

It appears that the Carey angst centres around government lawyers arguing in the European Court in Strasbourg against the absolute right to wear a crucifix at all times. And for once the judges reached a sensible compromise. Faith should always be about thought word and deed. From the heart. Not some physical manifestation.

And then we had the usual rant about gay marriage. The most ludicrous gripe being that the Commons under croft (known as the crypt) will soon host multi faith services opening the door to gay marriage. Well, the under croft has never been exclusively Anglican. Both my children were baptised there by a Roman Catholic bishop in a Roman Catholic service in the 1980s. If Jews, Muslims and Sikhs want to take take part in multi faith ceremonies it is something that should be welcomed. And if a couple of the same sex want to be blessed or married there (provided its not an Anglican ceremony which is forbidden by law) why not?

But to accuse Cameron personally of presiding over the persecutions is quite bonkers. Anyone who goes to his parish church of St Mary Abbots Kensington, will know that the Cameron family have been part of the Anglican community for many years. He once described his faith in a way that would chime with most of us, “It’s like Chiltern Radio. Sometimes you get a very good signal whilst at other times it fades.”

Come off it George. Christians are not being persecuted in Britain and if some feel they are being marginalised it’s because they have been banging on about what to the rest of us see are pretty marginal issues. And not very Christian.