Until recently, Uwe Siemon-Netto was the religion writer and columnist over at United Press International. In a recent shakeup, that job went away and the veteran German journalist moved back across the Atlantic. He is still writing columns from time to time, and a very interesting one showed up on a conservative Anglican site — VirtueOnline — in the wake of the London bombings.
As you would expect from that cyber-location, Siemon-Netto is a very traditional Christian believer. But he also has tons of academic background and decades of experience in reporting European affairs.
Thus, I find his comments interesting on the differences between Washington, D.C., in the wake of 9/11 and London in the hours after these smaller acts of terror. These are his opinions and observations. He arrived in London hours before the attacks and saw many similarities between the two cities.
But here’s the difference: in Washington, people poured into churches and synagogues. In London, they rushed to the pubs by the hundreds of thousands.
Now, I am no teetotaler. Drowning one’s grief in ample amounts of beer or wine is no exclusive English trait but simply a very human reaction, though not exactly the wisest.
Yet I was appalled to find only four other people kneeling in my favorite London church, Saint Paul’s, Knightsbridge, when I went there that bloody Thursday afternoon, saddened even more when I discovered that these four were not even English but faithful visitors from Ohio.
I am now looking to see if any newspapers on the other side of the pond have reported about the “spiritual” side of the London events. Has anyone seen any stories that stand out?