The Grenfell service and the politics of grief

Dec 18, 2017 by

by Andrew Tettenborn, The Conservative Woman:

You could have seen it coming. As the Moore-Bick inquiry into what actually happened at Grenfell Tower gets under way, the great and the good have lost no time in embracing the opportunities to milk it for all the political advantage it’s worth. Two vignettes illustrate this perfectly.

Last Thursday’s memorial service at St Paul’s was attended not only by survivors, but by royalty, politicians and celebrities. As one might expect, it was a mish-mash (aka a ‘multi-faith’ and ‘multi-cultural’ event). The radical Dean of St Paul’s, David Ison, invited ‘people of different faiths and none’ to remember the deceased before God (!) in a service provided with an imam and a Syrian oud-player, a hijab-covered Islamic girls’ choir singing ‘Insh’allah’, and a steel band playing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. But that is not the important thing.

First, Labour but not Conservative councillors from Kensington were invited (or, according to some sources, Conservatives were unofficially told to stay away at the request of Grenfell residents who did not want them there, but that is much the same thing). For a service ostensibly aimed at reconciliation and healing, this seems a strangely un-Christian approach. That the Church should apparently condone the demands of one part of a congregation to exclude those they would prefer not to have relations with is not a hopeful sign.

But then one suspects reconciliation and forgiveness were never intended to take more than a back seat.

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