British Church Considered Covering Up Crosses So Muslims Would Feel Comfortable Praying There

Controversy arose at a British church recently when its members and a female reverend reportedly discussed covering up Christian images – including crosses and a portrayal of Christ – so Muslims could pray there during Ramadan. This occurred at St. Matthew and St. Luke’s church in Darlington, England.

“They were told that a cross and a well-known devotional image of Jesus, a copy of The Light of the World by the pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt, would be covered up,” The Sunday Times reports. “The plans were discussed at a meeting held at the church on May 9 attended by the Rev Lissa Scott, the priest in charge, and Gerald Lee, a former mayor of Darlington who seeks to boost racial harmony through a group called Celebrating Communities.”

“One aisle in church to be cleared of chairs for Muslim men to say prayers,” The Sunday Times added. “Cover Christian crosses/photographs in small rooms for ladies to say prayers.”

Luckily the The Diocese of Durham intervened to remind all involved that according to the laws of the church, non-Christians are not permitted to worship in buildings under the jurisdiction of the Church of England.

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A spokesperson for the Diocese told the Christian publication Premier:

“While it is vital to build good interfaith relations, it is clear that an act of worship from a non-Christian faith tradition is not permitted within a consecrated Church of England building. This is a legal position outlined in Canons B1/2/3 and B5 Section 3 where it states: ‘all forms of service used under this Canon shall be reverent and seemly and shall be neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.’”

Christian Episcopal Church Bishop Gavin Ashenden told Premier, “When Muslims come into our church, we invite them to come in and respect Jesus. If we accepted an invitation to go into a mosque, we would respect Muhammad.”

“They realize that the vicar made a silly mistake, but I’m glad it happened because it raises in the public eye some important issues which people need to work through,” he added. “Islam and Christianity are not Abrahamic cousins in Middle Eastern religion. They’re actually antithetic to each other.”

“There seems initially to have been some misunderstanding locally of this, but that has been resolved now,” Ashenden continued, “with plans for Muslim Prayers to be held in a nearby building then the whole community coming together for a celebratory meal inside the church.”

Indeed. Interfaith relations are important, as the Diocese spokesman stated.

But at what cost? Certainly not covering up one’s faith.

is a professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience in conservative media and Republican politics. He... More about John Hanson

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