The vile person shall no more be called liberal, nor the churl said to be
For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.
Recently I took part in a public read-through of the entire King James Bible, and declaimed this passage from Isaiah. I’d been mulling over what I might say in this statement, so it struck me quite forcefully.
My fiction writing is very much in the context of the Church of England, sitting squarely in the middle of the liberal tradition. I’m almost afraid to admit this in the current climate of extremism and dogmatic certainty within the Church. So much of what is happening today – insistence on an Anglican Covenant, defections to the Ordinariate, witch-hunts against those who are ‘different’ – goes against what I stand for, and continue to believe. Perhaps it is time to re-define liberal values in terms of the historic Church of England, before the word became a pejorative inevitably prefaced by ‘woolly-minded’. Liberalism should be something to be proud of, not to demean.
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