Friday, 29 March 2013

Know Your Patrons

I was talking to someone yesterday, Maundy Thursday, who asked me about my views on immigration. I mentioned my blog from the 4th March which I won't repeat here but this time the person I was talking to was a Christian and I said that the Christian thing to do would be to have no border controls. If we are to follow Christ's teaching then we should accept everyone who wishes to be here and give them all that they require. It is almost the complete opposite of what actually happens.

Jesus commanded his disciples to go and proclaim the Gospel and St Augustine started the ball rolling in England. He became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in 597 (and the 105th was enthroned just last week). Can you imagine what would happen now if St Augustine came here on a ferry and arrived in Dover. I can picture Nigel Farage telling him that he can't come in as he would be claiming social security. He would tell St Augustine that this island is not big enough for people like him but if he wanted to claim any benefits he would have to wait five years.

St Augustine may not be as well known in the role of England's patron saint as St George or St Michael the Archangel, but he is nonetheless a patron saint of England. He also has the advantage over some of the others of having a connection with England. So, I think it's significant, and positive, that an immigrant to a country can be its patron saint. I wonder what the Little Englanders, who are probably more acquainted with St George have to say about that.

St Augustine would not have been able to stay under UKIP policies because they are calling for a five-year freeze on immigration. As it is UKIP's intention to 'end the active promotion of the doctrine of multiculturalism by local and national government and all publicly funded bodies' then I don't suppose the Church of England would be able to carry out much of its work. However the positive message for Easter is that some Christian values are still to be found within British politics.

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