Richard Dawkins: Oxford’s Christian Union is “predatory and nasty”

Oct 11, 2017 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

The ‘Oxford University bans Christian Union’ story has gone half way round the world, and it really shouldn’t have. Oxford’s Cherwell newspaper originally carried it: ‘Christian Union banned from Balliol freshers’ fair‘, which was kind of true, but swift enquiries to primary sources established a number of factual errors (or journalistic ’embellishments’) in order to sell copy, so it didn’t seem worth writing about. But then the Guardian waded in with ‘Anger as Oxford college bans Christian group from freshers’ fair‘; and the Telegraph with ‘Oxford college bans “harmful” Christian Union from freshers’ fair‘; and the Times with ‘Balliol College Oxford bans Christians from freshers fair‘, etc., etc (Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Daily Express, The Tablet, Premier, Christian Today…).

This is Balliol, for Pete’s sake, where John Wycliffe, The Morning Star of the Reformation, was once Master (not to mention sundry bishops); and outside whose doors some eminent reformers were burnt at the stake. It has its own chapel, like most Oxford colleges: its very foundational ethos was Christian (and unlike some colleges [like St Antony’s], it hasn’t converted its chapel into a library or a gym).

Talk about Chinese whispers… (can one still say that, or is it now considered racist?).

Firstly, Balliol College banned nothing: it is highly unlikely that anyone with any authority in the College even knew about the matter until it hit the press. Secondly, the JCR (Junior Common Room – the term for the whole undergraduate population of a college) didn’t ban anything: it was a small faction of its organising committee. Thirdly, when the JCR as a whole heard about the actions of the secular zealots, they passed a unanimous motion (yes, unanimous) that such illiberal behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated and could never be repeated. Fourthly (and rather most importantly), the Balliol Christian Union reps were very happy with the amicable resolution and didn’t want any further publicity.

Enter the eminent and renowned Professor Richard Dawkins.

Read here


Related Posts


Share This