David Cameron’s Damascus Road conversion to evangelical Christianity initially came as a surprise to me, until I remembered there’s an election next month.
I’m most definitely not a Christian, and while the slow demise of Anglicanism is a loss to the art of flower arranging, it doesn’t particularly concern me. As my main man Karl said, “religion is the opium of the people”. However, even I find the idea of David Cameron as a plougher for Jesus hilarious.
The rest of the left has reacted in a somewhat predictable manner, trying to distance Jesus’ teachings from Cameron’s politics, even arguing that Christ was somehow a left-winger. This is an inadequate response at best; there’s no textual basis to make any assumptions about his politics, and whatever they were shouldn’t matter anyway.
Cameron’s declaration of Christianity is ludicrous because his Government has pushed through measures that most Christians and almost all churches were actively opposed to, most notably same-sex marriage. Just so I’m being absolutely clear, I support same-sex marriage and I’m glad this Government has finally brought it in (after years of lobbying by the LGBT+ community). However, the Church, and the majority of Cameron’s MPs (particularly the Christian ones) opposed it. If Cameron opposed same-sex marriage on religious grounds that would be shit, but at least he’d have some fucking principles.
Clearly, Cameron has no grounds to claim to be “bringing God back into politics”. I’m glad he’s not – but why is he claiming to be? 4 letters – UKIP. They’re taking votes off the Tories, and Call-Me-Dave thinks he can win those voters back with a transparent attempt to “do God”. It really is that cynical.
The issue of politics and religion goes a lot deeper than Cameron’s scrabbling for votes, though. It’s a toxic relationship that damages both parties. I grew up as a Strict Baptist, so I know my Bible quite well. Jesus didn’t talk politics much, and judging by his statement that “[his] Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) that’s because he didn’t think Christianity had much place in politics.
The early Church didn’t have a lot of luck with politics; most notably, the Roman state didn’t like Jesus very much, hence the whole cross thing. In fact, whenever the Church has had anything radical, interesting or even relevant to say they’ve been persecuted by those in power.
The link between Church and state fucks with our freedom in a number of ways – for example, we’re the only country aside from Iran with unelected religious leaders helping make our laws. It also means the state can interfere in the workings of the Church, rather than it being an independent institution.
There is no Biblical basis for the Church to be part of the state, and we’d all be better off if it wasn’t. Religion is a private matter, so keep it like that.