LONDON (Jun. 2)
Britain’s official millennium celebrations should be marked with Christian prayers, according to the nation’s chief rabbi.
Citing the religious nature of the millennium, Jonathan Sacks said Tuesday that it is by definition a Christian celebration.
“It is not and cannot be a Jewish moment or a Muslim moment,” he said. “But neither can it be a secular moment, a party celebrating nothing in particular but the passing of time.”
Sacks made his comments when he delivered the first City Lecture, an event sponsored by the lord mayor of London and the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
“As a Jew, I want to live in a country that takes faith seriously,” Sacks said. “Someone who takes their own faith seriously is more likely to respect my faith than someone for whom all faith is superstition and all religion an irrelevance.
“It is quite wrong to argue that an inclusive society is one in which religion is absent from our public celebrations. An inclusive society is one in which our many faiths are valued, each in its own way and time.
“The millennium is a Christian time in a country where Christianity has not merely shaped our common culture and morality,” he added. “It has helped those of us who are not Christians feel that our faith has a voice in the conversation, a part to play in the building of society.
“That is why I would feel diminished if the millennium were not a time of Christian prayer and celebration.”