Christmas carol rewritten to be more ‘inclusive’
A British church has taken it upon itself to update the lyrics of the 17th century Christmas carol 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen' to make it more “inclusive” of women and queer people. The song, which was performed with the altered lyrics at a carol service on Monday, has sparked a row within the Church of England as critics say the changes are a blatant attempt to inject a progressive political ideology.
In its version, The All Saints with Holy Trinity church in Loughborough, England, removed all references to Christ as savior, any mentions of overcoming Satan, and completely scrapped the nativity story featured in the original. Instead, the new version addresses the “queer and questioning,” as well as “women, who by men have been erased, through history ignored and scorned, defiled and displaced.”
The updated text was shared on Twitter by a parishioner named Rachael Piffle, who uses ‘she/her’ pronouns, according to her Twitter bio. After her initial post elicited a backlash, she explained that the service where the updated version of the carol was sung was what is called a mayor’s community carol service, which raises funds for a children’s hospice, and was attended by people from the community who don’t regularly attend church.
Flipping love my church. pic.twitter.com/ReQn1Od0Y0— Ms_piffle (@ms_piffle) December 19, 2022
“We had reps from major charities in our area working with homeless, refugees and other vulnerable people groups. Don’t you think ignoring their work would have been disingenuous?” Piffle argued.
Nevertheless, traditionalist factions within the Church of England have condemned the attempt to rewrite the traditional lyrics. Church official Sam Magrave responded to the new text by stating on Twitter that he was “absolutely disgusted” that an act of worship was being used to push a “political ideology.”
Former vicar Reverend Matthew Firth added to the outrage by stating that the words were clearly changed to fit a “woke, unbiblical agenda.”
The All Saints With Holy Trinity in Loughborough is part of the Inclusive Church network, which is an educational charity whose mission is stated as to challenge the church “where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality.”