A PRIEST with the Church of England who converted to Hinduism has been allowed to continue to officiate as a cleric.
The Rev David Hart’s diocese renewed his licence this summer even though he had moved to India, changed his name to Ananda and daily blesses a congregation of Hindus with fire previously offered up to Nagar, the snake god. He also “recites Gayatri Mantram with the same devotion with which he celebrates the Eucharist”, according to The Hindu, India’s national newspaper.
The Hindu this week pictures him offering prayers to an idol of the elephant god Ganesh in front of his house. However, he still believes he is fit to celebrate as an Anglican priest and plans to do so when he returns to Britain.
In an interview with today’s edition of Church Times, Mr Hart admits that he had not told Dr Russell that he had converted, but said that he would be amazed if his conversion were treated with any suspicion.
“I have neither explicitly nor implicitly renounced my Christian faith or priesthood,” he said. The renewal of his licence was sponsored by the Rural Dean of Colombo in Sri Lanka.
Mr Hart believes that his change to Hinduism would be “read in the spirit of open exploration and dialogue, which is an essential feature of our shared modern spirituality”.
This is the real reason why the establishment of a state church is a bad idea: not because the church ends up dominating the state, but because the state ends up dominating the church.
Or, in another sense, the church ends up conflating the Gospel with the national interest and popular culture, and tailors the former to conform to and advance the latter.
The Church of England has spent so long being of England, following with every cultural and ideological shift in the English mindset, that it has forgotten that its mission to be the church in England.
Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley would not have gone to the stake for today's Church of England, but gone running back to Rome.
Source: Times Online