Will Gordon Brown ‘do God’?
Throughout the Old Testament, the cause of the widow, the orphan, and the poor is particularly enjoined upon Israel as befitting a redeemed people who are entrusted with the character and standards of their Redeemer. The theme is carried into the New Testament, particularly in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus himself said: ‘I will not leave you as orphans’, and the Holy Spirit, has been given and has taken up his abode in the Christian that he might be an effective ambassador of Him who ‘hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation’.
It is this ministry to which Mr Brown intends to dedicate himself. He will reject the sexual and cultural obsessions of the ‘religious right’, and dedicate himself to ‘weightier matters of justice’. He has no truck with secularism, and believes that spirituality is profoundly relevant to social change – ‘religion should be a presence perpetually motivating people to pursue "justice" for the poor’. He will articulate ‘moral truth’, because he is ‘listening to the message of the biblical prophets when he brilliantly slashes Africa's debts, doubles aid, and increases tax credits for poor kids here at home’. His support for the Jubilee Campaign to cancel Third World debt was noteworthy, as is the observation that he has not voted on a single one of the 18 pro-gay measures brought by the current government. He also supports faith schools, and (unlike Mr Blair) has not been ashamed to talk of God or his Christian faith.
All of this looks sounds very promising indeed. Yet one must look beyond the superficial spin of The Independent, and listen to those who know the man well. The one Christian Socialist for whom Cranmer has irrepressible admiration is the Member for Birkenhead, Frank Field, who said: ‘Allowing Gordon Brown into No 10 would be like letting Mrs Rochester out of the attic. He has no empathy with people. Tony Blair walks and talks like a Prime Minister and Gordon Brown doesn't, that's all there is to it.’ And Lord Turnbull talked of his ‘Stalinist ruthlessness’ and his ‘cynical view of mankind’.
If he is really ‘listening to the biblical prophets’, Cranmer would like to know the scriptural foundations for beggaring the country with tax and spend, for recklessly selling the nation’s gold reserves, for sustaining evil dictators in Africa and elsewhere, for hiring a million pen-pushers in non-jobs, for stifling business with reams of red tape, or for increasing the tax burden on the poorest of society. For a man supposedly in touch with the prophets, Mr Brown has a track record of being wrong on so many levels that the prophetic voices from whom he is alleged to hear must be false.
And Cranmer happens to think that there are already too many false prophets in the world, and prays therefore that Prime Minister Brown will be in office just long enough for him to reveal his true nature, but short enough to restrain his pathological propensity to inflict further damage upon the governance of the United Kingdom.