Civilians should be remembered
IN his recent book, The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray summarises the story (which he accuses our leaders of shying away from, albeit with the best of intentions), the number of civilians of all ages deliberately killed, raped and abused – all recently – across England and Europe.
My question is, should they, too, be remembered on Remembrance Sunday?
Are they, too, among those who have fallen in war? Certainly they weren’t fighting – or didn’t think they were.
But Murray lays these deaths at the door of those who are at war with the west, and especially with our lifestyles and values; secular, relatively rich, liberal, tolerant – but (as they see it) self-indulgent and lacking purpose. Too liberal, in fact.
Remembrance Sunday reminds us of the sense of purpose that we experienced in war time, when we fought to defend our right to espouse those very values.
How to build on those values and the sense of purpose today?
Douglas Murray distinguishes between “Christian” and “religious”. He understands that many of us are “not religious”, but, even if not “religious”, he believes we can hold on to the sense of being Christian, and that we should.
This is because our problem is, to a great extent, ideological, and in terms of impact there’s no other ideology around with anything like the power of dynamism of the so-called Islamic Front.
Angela Merkel has suggested, to Murray’s approval, that one of the strongest things we can do is to cherish our culture (both English and European, regardless of Brexit) even more, and not least our churches and cathedrals.
Certainly we can have too much “ideology”, worse in the eyes of most of us than too little. But despite everything, can we still believe that our Christian heritage - and ideology - is the best we’ve ever had?
And that it will strengthen us much more than anything else can, and much more deeply, as we look to the future. Canon Edmund Urquhart Ashbourne