Monday, 14 December 2009

Bishop apologises

Armed Forces bishop apologises for Germany comments

The Rt Rev Stephen Venner, the new bishop to the Armed Forces, has apologised for claiming that the SS could be admired for "their faith in the fuehrer and their loyalty".

The remark, he said on BBCs PM programme, was taken out of context. What he meant was the SOME of the SS were admirable, not those who were torturing people or executing them or driving them into concentration camps, but faith was anyway a jolly good thing, and pretty admirable, and we would have to sit down with these people and talk about it some time. And it was indeed a just war, because all these people had lived in conditions of, er, war, so we were right in waging war so they might, er, stop. And some of them would stop, so our boys had better not shoot those but the others.


Straight-faced Disclaimer

This is, of course, a parody and not fair. I mean I fully understand the analogy is not perfect and it's bad sport to reach for the Hitler card, though the words are not far off what the gentleman was saying on radio a few minutes ago. But you can see Bishop Venner thinking, 'Well, at least they have faith, and faith is where I came in, so there must be something good about it. And of course they're very loyal, and loyalty is a good thing. And it is Christmas.'

I just think he is wrong about the faith. And if that is the argument for a just war, there are likely to be better ones around.


Poet in Residence said...

This fascinates me. I go into religious buildings for the purposes of research, and quite often see in them lists and photographs of 'the fallen heroes' as they are mostly called - men in uniform who fought for whatever cause, and some fought for a Devil with NSDP Membership Card 555. And I think, where's the Christianity here? What did Jesus say: "Where 2 or 3 are gathered..." and where did he pray? In a garden. And so, as it's Christmas, I must ask (and please forgive me - I'm your neighbour and brother) how does it work, this religion stuff? You put on your best clothes, your red hats, and enter the House of God whose roof is lined with Maya gold...
Forgive me. I outdo myself. A moment of weakness. It will pass. I blame the dingdongbells.

Stephen Foster said...

Did he mention the fashion?

I prefer the Taliban hats and gowns to the rather formal Nazi uniform, but both have their merits.

James said...

A parody, sure: but I fail to see where it isn't fair.

Poet in Residence said...

Hugo Boss fashions do you mean Stephen? Unfortunately I have one of their t-shirts. I won it in a race but I never wear it.

George S said...

Did he mention the fashion?

As Jenny Joseph almost wrote: 'When I am an old bishop I shall wear purple..'

Poet in Residence said...

Did he mention the fashion?

I appear to have confused the cardinals with the bishops. Religious dyslexia is a problem I've have. Perhaps it dates from the time a priest prayed with the crew of the Enola Gay prior to take off. Wished them God Speed! Or maybe it comes from chess. Bishops are diagonally moving chess pieces at home on the back rank.

James O'Fee said...

NSDAP, to be pedantic. National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei. National Socialist German Workers' Party (and it was socialist in important ways, just replacing belief in the Proletariat with belief in the Volk).

Every common-or-garden fanatic has Faith. The Anglican idea that this is somehow a GOOD THING can perhaps be traced back to Prince Charles who wants to replace the title Defender of The Faith (bestowed by the Pope for a book ghost-written by Thomas More) with Defender of Faith.

The English use the word 'Bishop' in chess, the French use 'Fou' = Jester, the Germans 'Laeufer'=Runner, the Spanish 'Alfil', from Arabic, the source of the game for Europeans. [George can add the Hungarian. Our 'rook' is Persian.] Curiously Magnus Carlsen (winner today of the London Chess Classic) does have a liking for returning his bishops to their original bases on the c- and f-files, as in his fine win over Vladimir Kramnik.