Dated 10th February 2009
The senior chaplain at
military academy has dropped the Apostles' Creed from Anglican services saying it might offend religious minorities.
The Daily Mail reported on 31st January that centuries of religious tradition have been sacrificed for the sake of political correctness.
Reverend Jonathan Gough dropped the Christian declaration of faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit when he took office last month.
A fellow Chaplain said it had been removed 'to stop upsetting cadets who do not believe in God'. This is despite the fact that attendance is not compulsory. Non-believing
cadets can and do opt out of church.
The Ministry of Defence said the Creed had been withdrawn from services at the Royal Memorial Chapel to make the church 'more inclusive'. Figures showing how the massive increase of attendance at church by cadets from other faiths and none since the service was made more 'inclusive' by hiding what Christians believe have not yet been released.
A senior member of the Chapel yesterday said the decision to cut the affirmation of faith was ludicrous. He said: 'It's a disgrace. Nobody was told and everybody has been left shocked and angry. It' just an attempt to be "right on".'
The Creed, which forms part of the Morning and Evening Prayer services, found in the book of Common Prayer, begins: 'I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried'. It goes on to speak of His Resurrection and Ascension and the Final Judgment.
Theologian Dr Richard Bell, from
, said 'The Creed is the central plank of the Church of England service. If you give up on that you are effectively giving up on God. Frankly I'm appalled by this decision.'
Sir Richard Dannatt, the current Chief of the General Staff, is unlikely to be enthusiastic about Mr Gough's revisionism. Sir Richard is a practising evangelical Christian. In October 2006 , he was reported as being concerned by the decline in Christian values in
that had allowed Islamic extremism to flourish. He told the Daily Mail: 'It is said we live in a post-Christian society. I think that is a great shame. The Judaic-Christian tradition has underpinned British society. It underpins the British Army.. ... Threats now are not territorial but to the values of our society.' He was uncompromising when asked about the allegiance of Muslim soldiers. 'If they are prepared to take the Queen's shilling they will go wherever the mission requires them to go,' he said. That does not sound like a man who would want any Christian service watered down in the army so as not to offend those who are highly unlikely ever to hear it.
Mr Gough, 46, is a former secretary for ecumenism for Archbishop of Canterbury. His only comment has been: 'I had many options to choose from.' The Chaplain General, Rev David Wilkes, a Methodist, has said that non-Christian chaplains will eventually be commissioned, a move which would shake the Christian underpinning to which General Dannatt referred. At present, only Christian chaplains can be full-time and hold officer status. All others are civilian.
Former army officer Patrick Mercer MP, whose father was Bishop of Exeter, called for the Creed to be returned. Mr Mercer, who trained at
, said: 'If you go to an Anglican Church service you expect to hear an Anglican service. I think the good reverend is being a little too precious.'
An Army spokesman said it was common practice to alter the service from time to time, although only the General Synod of the Church of England has that power. 'The people who are angry should sit down with Reverend Gough for a cup of tea,' a spokesman said. He did not say whether that approach had met with success in any of the Army's current theatres of war.
PRAY: With secularists now at war against the Church, the last thing we need is to be cut down by 'friendly fire'. Pray that those intent on destroying the Christian foundations of our society will find no place in the Church and especially not in the Chaplaincy. Soldiers will not respect weak men who lack confidence in their beliefs. Pray that the Christian Faith will continue to underpin our armed forces.