A celebrity vicar’s knickers are in a twist. Giles Fraser, the vicar of Didley Squat, has exchanged dog collar for dog whistle by arguing against freedom of movement on the flimsiest of premises.
Social mobility is not a modern phenomenon. Jesus and his family went into exile in Egypt to escape King Herod’s decree to slaughter the firstborn. Fraser’s religion only exists thanks to freedom of movement.
Would Fraser have us confined to our country, our county, our village? Would he have our marriage choices restricted to the boy or girl next door? Would he have us forget that the rich tapestry of British life is woven from strands from all around the world?
Fraser is connecting two distinct ideas. People have always moved around, and relationships have always broken down. One does not cause the other. Rather, both are symptoms of the human condition. Since Fraser is divorced and remarried to a foreign lady, LCD Views says, you hypocrite! You nest of vipers!
Love thy neighbour, but who is thy neighbour? In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the neighbour is the foreigner who shows compassion. No love for foreigners, no love thy neighbour as thyself. Maybe Fraser needs to love himself a bit more.
Biblical scholar Matthew Twentitu gave us some further insights. “Christian teaching is all about love and forgiveness,” he said. “It is about the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. Would Jesus embrace foreigners, or tell them to fuck off?”
Twentitu quotes numerous examples of Jesus dealing with foreigners, outcasts, the poor and needy. “Jesus was the very opposite of the rampant crazed capitalists currently in power,” he said. “And unfortunately Fraser has thrown in his lot with the latter.”
The Anglicans are a broad church, but this one has a very narrow viewpoint. Canon, fire thyself!