A further thought on the Jeremy Corbyn/national anthem 'incident'. Each time I take a baptism service, I make a point of saying that if we come to some words in the service people don't agree with, that they should feel free not to say them. There are already plenty of people who don't join in the songs anyway, and I don't want people to feel compromised, that they're being asked to say things they don't really believe. 2 things prompted this:
- Sitting down for a pint after one christening with a godparent who informed me he was an atheist. Work that one out.
- Getting a trenchant email from someone who'd attended a baptism at our church and accused me of brainwashing people and imposing religion on them. (As an aside, the Anglican church has such an effective record of brainwashing that 90% of people who attended Sunday school aren't adult members of any church, so that's gone well. And my personal record in brainwashing is so stunning that 99.8% of baptism guests never return).
I don't want a repeat of the email, but more importantly I'd like people to think about what's actually being said and to speak with integrity. So guests at a baptism are encouraged to choose the Corbyn option: supporting the family and the occasion in a respectful way, without feeling they have to join in with words they don't agree with.