Letter: Diatribes or true Christianity

Sir: I commend Polly Toynbee's caustic advice ("Just say No to this agonising aunt", 9 December), in reference to the appointment by The Daily Telegraph of Anne Atkins as its first agony aunt. Priestley's accompanying cartoon bore sufficient testimony to the direction in which right-wing, quasi-Christian morality is heading in this country.

By contrast, the former Archbishop of York, Lord Habgood, in his final address to the General Synod in July 1995, described a Church "which is willing to operate within many of the assumptions of its surrounding culture, and wants to stand alongside puzzled people at all levels of society, as they try to make sense of their lives and responsibilities".

The diatribes of the Anne Atkinses, William Oddies, and Mary Kennys of this world will ensure that morality remains what Oscar Wilde described as "an attitude one adopts towards people one doesn't like".

There was once a radical liberal who rode roughshod over the venerable regulations of his day and exploded the prejudices of religious leaders and moralists because he wanted to set people free. His name was Jesus Christ.

The Rev MICHAEL HAMPEL

Spennymoor, Co Durham

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