An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

ABY - Another prejudice of Christians

'Anyone But York' (ABY) is a stealth campaign being waged to stop Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, from becoming the next Archbishop of Canterbury because he is too old,apparently, at the age of 62. That is ageism, age discrimination, and I hope it does not become on par with the battles being fought over gender and sexuality.

According to a member of the ABY campaign: 'Just as the initials ABC are used to designate the Archbishop of Canterbury, the initials ABY have been used for York, But now, for those against him, they are being used to mean "Anyone But York"'.

Age, just like Gender and Sexual Equality, is a legally protected characteristic and there is a reason for this which age discriminators in the church need to take heed of. We have enough dinosaurs roaming around the Church yard without adding some more. Golly, at this rate we will run out of space to house all you out of touch Christians.

The 'Ageing Population' is a global demographic. What this means is that people are living longer and societies have to find a way to incorporate older people who previously were viewed as being 'redundant' purely because of chronological ageism views. Anyone over the age of 50 who has had to put up with 'old' jokes will welcome these proposals. With the retirement age being raised 62 years old is considered well within the limit of being able to function as a working member of society. This is an economic necessity. Together with this economic necessity comes a responsibility to remove the cultural and legal barriers as to how older people are perceived. Discrimination against older people is entrenched in layers of society like employment, cultural expectations, sport and the distribution of goods and services because so much of these are targeted at younger people.

There is also the moral argument for viewing older people as intrinsic members of society. They are what we will become if we are lucky enough to live that long. There is much social capital invested in them that we can all tap into. According to the World Economic Forum older people's social capital is often obscured by overly negative views of ageing that result in underutilized talent and wrong perceptions about abilities.

Our church pews are full of the elderly who were brought up in a more faith fuelled way than contemporary times. Their Christian worship is a role model to follow. The Church of all cannot afford to fall upon the false stereotyping of people which bears little relation to reality. Let not age become a battleground in the same way that the ordination of women and gay-rights has become. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Chelliah. But I have my doubts that the "Anything But York" thing is about his age. It is, more likely, based on racial prejudice. And not racism in its traditional sense, as a lot of those who are frightened of Sentamu becoming the next ABC would jump at the chance of electing Tutu even with his great age and poor health. I think (and I'm guilty of this) we are scared of his Ugandan way of doing things and saying things. He behaves in a way that is just not English and we are worried about his fixed ideas about sexuality which do not gel with the English liberal consensus.