An Unholy Alliance?
Well, first Mabel, mother of Alan's deceased wife, laid in for the Christian fundamentalists against his plans to marry Usha, his Hindu girl-friend. Mabel believes a Christian, especially a Vicar, should not marry a member of another religion. She is now praying that Usha will be converted. Alan seems to regard this with some amusement. Apparently converting Usha is not something that has occurred to him.
This catches liberal Christianity very well. Respect for other people means accepting them as they are and not trying to convert them to your point of view. This is a long way from Orthodox Christianity, which wants everyone to find the love of God in Christ. Alan is presented as loving Usha so much that he doesn't want to change her. In the Bible, loving someone means you want them to come to faith in Jesus.
Now, however, it is the turn of Usha's Hindu family. Her Aunt Satya acts as the spokesperson telling Usha that the news has broken her mother's heart and that if she marries Alan she will be cut off from the family and community and it must not happen. Usha is worried that Alan will feel that if they go ahead with the marriage they will be being selfish and wants more than anything for the marriage to take place despite what their families may think. Alan, however, reassures her by telling her nothing will stop him from marrying her.
I should say that seasoned Archers listeners will now be convinced the marriage won't happen because when someone makes this sort of statement, it is usually an indication that the scriptwriters intend the precise opposite! I can't wait for the news to be released to the congregation and village. It will be interesting to see which characters line up in favour of the marriage and which are against it.
Watch this space!