Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Inter-Faith Marriage

One thing you have to say for Alan, the fictional Vicar of Ambridge in the BBC Radio series the Archers, is that he is a brave man. First, he tried to remove the pews from the historic Village Church – unsuccessfully, thankfully! Now he has proposed to his girlfriend. Nothing wrong with that except that Usha, his girlfriend, is a Hindu. Usha’s family are not exactly ecstatic, but Mabel, Alan’s mother-in-law is absolutely opposed to the union.

Now I had better explain. Alan is a widower. Mabel is the mother of his dead wife. Mabel is a pretty fundamentalist, black Christian. She is a decent, kind person who wants Alan to be happy and who likes Usha. She just does not think that a practising Christian, especially a Vicar, should marry someone of a different faith. The news hasn’t got out yet to the wider parish. I imagine the scriptwriters are going to have fun with this one!

It is a serious issue, though, and raises many more. Alan is on the liberal wing of the Church and is presented sympathetically by the programme writers. Alan is the sort of Vicar many non-Christians like. He believes in God, but doesn’t go on about it and puts social action at the top of the agenda. I wonder where this story is going to go. Will Alan and Usha marry whatever the reaction? Or will they give in to the opinion of some sections of the community? My problem is that I like Alan and Usha as characters and so find myself supporting them.

But when you think about it, surely Mabel is right?

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