The story has by now gone around the world: on January 6 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s cathedral in Glasgow, a passage of the Qur’an was read out denying that Jesus is the Son of God, a core tenet of Christianity. The incident was emblematic of how the contemporary West has lost a sense of itself, and is so “open” to “the other” that it is ripe for invasion and conquest – which is exactly what the particular “other” that was allowed to proclaim its faith at St. Mary’s Cathedral has in mind. Yet after an international furor, Scottish Episcopal Church officials have not apologized; on the contrary, they’ve doubled down.
The Qur’an reading at the cathedral was apparently part or all of this: “And mention in the Book Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east. And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man. She said, ‘Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, if you should be fearing of Allah.’ He said, ‘I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you a pure boy.’ She said, ‘How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?’ He said, ‘Thus: your Lord says, “It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter decreed.”‘ So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, ‘Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.’ But he called her from below her, ‘Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, “Indeed, I have sworn to the Most Merciful a fast, so I will not speak today to man.”‘ Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, ‘O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.’ So she pointed to him. They said, ‘How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?’ He said, ‘Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive and dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.’ That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute. It is not for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (Qur’an 19:16-35)
That last bit, “It is not for Allah to take a son,” is in direct contradiction to what the Anglican Church is supposed to believe: “And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
What kind of madness has overtaken the Anglicans in Glasgow, that they would allow what is ostensibly a central belief of their faith to be denied in the place that is supposed to be the site of the purest and most vibrant expression of that faith? In response to the outcry, the cathedral’s provost, Fr. Kelvin Holdsworth, wrote:
Those who came heard a confident Christian community proclaim their faith in Christ in no uncertain terms. We say the Nicene Creed at St Mary’s and we believe it. Indeed, I sometimes have to tell people that I say it without my fingers crossed. Our proclamation of the divinity of Christ is at the centre of every Eucharist that takes place every Sunday. And so is the greeting of peace which we offer to one another. Peace be with you. Shalom. Salaam….
Frankly, we think it is a good thing that Muslims are coming to church and hearing us proclaim the Gospel of Christ….
The truth is, people confident in their faith can often learn most from one another. We are confident in our Christian faith and enjoy sharing it.
The most perceptive comment this week came from someone who knows me well. “This is just absurd – St Mary’s doesn’t do syncretism it does hospitality”.
That’s it in a nutshell. We don’t do syncretism, we do hospitality….
“We don’t do syncretism, we do hospitality.” Very well. But Fr. Kelvin Holdsworth fails to explain why “hospitality” required that a Qur’an verse that denied a central tenet of Christianity be read out. Nor did he note that no mosque in Scotland or anywhere else is likely to feature a New Testament reading proclaiming the divinity of Christ: the “hospitality” goes only one way.
“Our proclamation of the divinity of Christ is at the centre of every Eucharist that takes place every Sunday”: apparently Holdsworth’s defense for featuring this Qur’an passage consists of noting that the cathedral often proclaims the divinity of Christ, so one denial of it isn’t bad. That’s like saying “I have met thousands of people in my life and only murdered one of them, so I uphold the sanctity of life.”
But Holdsworth has more important things on his mind: he “cannot believe that moderate churches in the West should follow a policy of appeasement towards those who are Islamophobic.” Appeasement of Islamic supremacists? That’s fine. But “appeasement of those who are Islamophobic”? That’s over the line!
Note also his sly moral equivalence in referring to “moderate churches,” as if there were “extremist” and “moderate” Christians just as there are “extremist” and “moderate” Muslims — a central, albeit wholly fictional, talking point of the contemporary Left.
Lord, what fools these Anglicans be. They have a perfect right to read from the Qur’an denying core aspects of Christianity during Christian worship. And free people have a perfect right to hold them in contempt as dhimmi appeasers giving away their own identity, culture and religion for the sake of “deepening friendships” with people who will never really consider them as friends, for they are forbidden to do so by that same Qur’an (5:51).
The entire incident epitomizes the malady of the Western world. Clearly the religion of those at the Glasgow Anglican cathedral is not Christianity in any form, but Leftist multiculturalism. What they will ultimately find, to their shock and horror, is that their Muslim partners in this multicultural endeavor have no intention of reciprocating their generosity and hospitality, but will ultimately only subjugate them under the hegemony of Islamic law. They’re already halfway there.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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