Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Turbulent Priest

Time is up for Gavin

Gavin Ashenden’s resignation as Queen’s Chaplain made a number of newspapers and local media as well. 

Some said “One of the Queen’s Chaplains”, but others were more ambiguous, saying “A Chaplain to the Queen”, “Former Chaplain to Her Majesty” and “a chaplain to the Queen”, all of which suggests  that rather than being one of many, he was “the chaplain” who presumably gave the Queen spiritual advice! The caption to a photo of the Queen had underneath it, in the Telegraph, "The Rev Gavin Ashenden was until this week a special chaplain to the Queen."

Only one report said he was "one of the 33 special chaplains", but didn't explain what they do! Queen's Chaplains are part of the College of Chaplains. This consists of those appointed chaplain to the monarch. They are honorary chaplains who do not fulfill any formal duties. They preach once a year in the Chapel Royal.

It is interesting how local BBC Radio Jersey, and many of the newspapers did not mention the "conversations instigated" by Buckingham Palace, but gave the impression that he had chosen to resign of his own accord. The Glasgow Herald commented that: Buckingham Palace confirmed Dr Gavin Ashenden has tendered his resignation “with immediate effect”.

Reading between the lines on his blog, , I suspect he was pushed! Some reports note "After a conversation instigated by officials at Buckingham Palace...." which says it all. The Palace had had enough of "The Queen's Chaplain..." headlines to last a lifetime, and the latest was the last straw!

The implication was always that he was in some way a spiritual adviser to the Queen, and lent a spurious legitimacy to his provocative outbursts.

It is a shame in a way that he should resign over the issue of reading the Koran in a Christian service. Unlike his remarks on Islam being a violent faith, this was purely and simply on whether a reading which apparently denies the divinity of Jesus should have been read in a Christian church. It was a decision which he rightly criticised as something done for the right reasons, but the wrong way.

I assume that the Glasgow Church is not going to follow this up with services in which extracts from "Jesus Christ Through Pagan Eyes" are read out, or extracts from the Book of Mormon, or Mary Baker Eddie's "Science and Christian Truth" on Christ, or extracts from the Jehovah Witness mistranslation of the start of John's Gospel? Or for that matter, an extract from the Egyptian Book of the Dead on the Resurrection of Horus?

That would seem to be in keeping with the precedent, and the arguments for it, which they set out, and it shows how ill-thought and misconceived the whole enterprise was.

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