Saturday, August 04, 2007


is the title of Lee Penn's article in the current SCP Newsletter. It talks about people--even priests--from one religion embracing a second and contradictory religion, and holding to both mutually exclusive faiths simultaneously. This new trend seems to be growing out of the interreligious dialogue that is going on around the world.

This segment is particularly amusing:

Religious confusion is not limited to the United States. A Church of England priest, David Hart, "sees no contradiction in celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi or performing Hindu rituals in his home in Kerala, where he has been living for nearly a year, and offering Holy Communion as a priest at the St. James' Parish Church in Strethan, Cambridge, whenever he is in England," according to the Times of India. "he brought a Ganesh idol, conducted a puja for 10 days and subsequently joined a Ganesotsav procession organized by the Kerala unit of Shiv Sena to immerse his idol in the sea. He is also a follower of Lord Krishna, and had offered prayers at his local temple."

Hart, an Associate Professor in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Winchester, is also in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and is international secretary of the World Congress of Faiths, a London-based interfaith organization. He has said, "Becoming a Hindu has not brought about any change in my spiritual status. The act has not shaken my Christian beliefs by even one per cent.. ...Asking me to express my preference for any particular faith is like asking me to choose between an ice-cream and a chocolate. Both have their own distinct taste." He is...a priest and a professor--so he is able to spread religious confusion with an air of authority. As of this writing, he remains a priest in good standing; there is no indication that Hart has been disciplined by the Church of England.

I believe that is the same Church of England with which we conduct ecumenical talks. But maybe the man has merely been taking Catholic lessons. This Catholic priest, said to have been interviewed at the Vatican, claims he can be a Hindu at the same time that he is a Catholic priest. My question--when he consecrates bread and wine, given the beliefs that he holds, does he still have bread and wine?

Another interesting part of Lee's article talks about the influence of Harry Potter:

It is not just teenagers who can be lured into Wicca and Neopaganism by the Potter books; vulnerable adults can fall into the same trap.

Wayne Haney attended Virginia Theological Seminary, and served as an Episcopal priest for five years. He then left the church due to "the strain of leading a Christian flock while not fully being able to believe the message I was preaching." This plunged him into a "very early mid-life crisis." As the
Battle Creek Enquirer reported in March, 2006, it was "during this crisis of faith that he began to read the Harry Potter series of books to his children. The magic depicted in the books aroused a curiosity in Haney that led him to Web-searches and other readings. This led finally to a Wiccan group in nearby Flint, Michigan, where he and his wife were welcomed." Now, Haney is "a practicing minister of the Sacred Birch Society, a Wiccan group that meets regularly in the Lampeer Michigan area." The ex-priest Haney read himself out of Christianity and into Wicca with the help of a child's fantasy about "good" sorcery.

And yet some parents think the kids aren't vulnerable!

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