Columnists > Voices
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Apologies to Winston Smith

Stories of suppression in England should cause a shiver

Issue: "On the road again," May 9, 2009

Caroline Petrie, a Christian community nurse from Somerset, England, who carries out home visits, has been reinstated, which is a point for our side. She had offered to pray for a patient and was suspended without pay by the North Somerset National Health Service Trust for failing to show "personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity."

David Brooker of Southampton, England, a Christian worker for a housing services group, received on March 30 a formal notice of suspension for "gross misconduct" against the organization's Culture and Diversity Code of Conduct. The citation alleges that "whilst on shift with a female colleague, you seriously breached ECHG's Code of conduct by promoting your religious views which contained discriminatory comments regarding a person's sexual orientation."

If the reader has just read the aforementioned quotations and not felt a shiver, then I owe an apology to Winston Smith of George Orwell's novel 1984, who died in vain (but I thought 1984 was just a stupid summer reading requirement for getting into ninth grade) and to Soeur St. Edward de la Croix, who sat at a big oak desk in our third-grade class one day and made our eyes bug out with stories about what would happen if Khrushchev had his way.

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David Booker has explained that he was merely having a conversation with a female colleague, who asked him about his beliefs. The woman inquired into the church's teaching on same-sex marriage and homosexuality. The following day Booker was summoned regarding "events that happened last night." He claims in his defense that he has homosexual friends and is not homophobic.

Booker's employer of four years, the English Churches Housing Group (which is funded largely through churches in Hampshire), is a Christian charity for homeless people. Its patron is the archbishop of Canterbury. If you are not confused by the suspension of a Christian worker at a Christian organization for citing a Christian position, I respectfully-and apologetically-refer you to a comment by Syme, one of the writers of the totalitarian society dictionary of Oceania in 1984:

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."

The Christian Legal Centre, to whom Booker went for advice, seems to have no dearth of clients, mostly befuddled souls plucked from the line of quiet duty. The CLC is also defending one Duke Amachree, age 53, an 18-year employee of the local authority, Wandsworth Council. Amachree was suspended on Jan. 28 for speaking about God to a female homeless client with a terminal medical condition. She forthwith reported Amachree to his employer.

The lady's zeal for the purity of the organization echoes the Parsons children, "Junior Spies" of Oceania's government (Orwell draws his inspiration from the "Hitler Youth"), whose parents lived in quiet fear of them. In the end they turn their father in to the Thought Police for thoughtcrimes. For it is prophesied: "And a person's enemies will be those of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).

In the future, the Ministry of Truth will have rewritten the history books, and the Ministry of Peace will be about War, and the Ministry of Love will be about punishment, and the Ministry of Religion will have snuffed out true religion. We are already off to a good start when the archbishop of Canterbury, the principal leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, is patron of a group that banishes all speech about Jesus. The fait accompli has come when the fox is in charge of the henhouse.

On the day when they finally take the praise of God, "Who is like the Lord!" (Psalm 113:5), and twist it into "Who is like the beast!" (Revelation 13:4), the grand seduction will be complete.

I hope this gets to you in time.

If you have a question or comment for Andrée Seu, send it to aseu@worldmag.com.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.

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