Monday, June 01, 2009

Gordon Brown’s ‘Presbyterian conscience’

Cranmer has already pondered this a little, remarking that it is a curious Presbyterian conscience which tolerates a decade of ‘spin’ and deception, is content to squander trillions of pounds and reduce the nation to penury, but then decide to be pricked by the blasphemous idolatry and intolerable excesses of duck islands, moat cleaning and a bit of second-home flipping.

But perhaps the Prime Minister has ceased to understand the meaning of ‘Presbyterian’ or is not using ‘conscience’ in the vernacular. While to us ‘conscience’ refers to the sense of right and wrong in an individual, to Gordon Brown there is only black and white; good and evil; his voice and that of the opposition. His subjective reason is his ultimate moral authority by which everone else must live, and thus his conscience claims authority over everyone else’s sources of motivation. There is nothing ‘Presbyterian’ about this, for it does not admit individual responsibility or any notion of God, Scripture or Christian tradition.

The Prime Minister’s ‘Presbyterian conscience’ is offended because duck islands, moat cleaning, wisteria clearing and servant quarters disturb his Socialist sentiment and the resentful perceptions of his heart. As Aquinas points out in the Summa, one acts badly in doing what is in fact bad, but also in going against conscience; so that unless he ‘put away his error’, someone of evil conscience cannot act well.

Cranmer can find no prior reference by the Prime Minister to his ‘Presbyterian conscience’: it is apparently the first time he has ‘done God’ – at least the Presbyterian one. But how this sensitive conscience cannot have been offended before now is bemusing. Is it not pricked by the atrocities in Zimbabwe, the genocide in Darfur or the bankruptcy of this great nation?

Or is it only offended when there is politicking to be done and nasty, greedy, pompous Tories to be quashed?


Blogger OldSouth said...

Amen, Bishop Cranmer, although I'm well aware that my Presbyterian forbears were at odds with your Anglican forbears.

In the view of this unapologetic Presybterian, our theology revolves around two basic ideas:

1. God is in charge, and,

2. He is not mocked.

He is a God of love and grace, but the first two items on the list cannot be bypassed.

1 June 2009 at 15:53  
Anonymous wonderfulforhisage said...

"I'm a pretty straight kinda guy".

"Presbyterian conscience".

I'm willing to bet that the author of both these soundbites Mr. A. Campbell.

1 June 2009 at 16:38  
Anonymous Andrew K said...

A Papist Writes:

Presbyterian in the sense of Hogg's "Justified Sinner"

1 June 2009 at 16:51  
Blogger McKenzie said...

As Aquinas points out in the Summa, one acts badly in doing what is in fact bad, but also in going against conscience; so that unless he ‘put away his error’, someone of evil conscience cannot act well.

I like this, it certainly has on flagellating one's self. Unfortunately though, there are firm limits on how far a pig's ear will ever resemble a silk purse.

Thank God for repentance.

1 June 2009 at 17:12  
Blogger The Young Oligarch said...

More like Presbyterian as in Holy Willie .'s_Prayer

Brown is in charge of a party which is aggressively anti-Presbyterian , especially in the corrupt R.C.-dominated fiefdoms on which his power relies .

To be fair to him , however , he is one of 2 Scottish Labour MPs who admit to being members of the established church . Compare that to the 24 (at the last count) followers of another faith .

No sectarianism there .

If he's such a great Presbyterian , how was it that Damian McBride's job interview appeared to consist of Brown enthusing over great Celtic goals of our time?
You would think a man so devoted to the Reformed faith , Prudence (lovely girl) and Raith Rovers F.C. would have little time or opportunity to keep himself so informed about our shamrock-emblazoned friends .

wonderfulforhisage is probably correct . A,Campbell , author .

1 June 2009 at 17:27  
Anonymous FAT said...

What Gordon Brown must do immediately:

1- A modern, secular and fundamentally democratic constitution for a civil society, to include all aspects of the EU regulations, UN Declaration of Human Rights, Children's Rights, and a Bill of Rights, incorporated as the highest law of the land.
2- A republican federation of regional autonomies – with a UK parliament and president. Wales, Scotland, Regions of England all with autonomy and regional parliament, president and legislative powers. Maybe a combination of the best aspects of the German and Spanish models.
3- An elected Senate and an elected Congress, members of both houses being directly elected, members of the Senate representing regions/counties, members of the Senate representing UK wide party lists.
4- Proportional representation – there is a tendency to prefer STV.
5- Right of voters to recall and to replace MPs. For example, on a quarterly cycle. Every three months (or so) a constituency has the right to vote to recall it's representative MP – maybe this should be limited to twice in any calendar year.
6- A presidential system, preferably based on the Irish model .. not a monarchy
7- A revamped Judiciary that reflects the constitutional rights and defends the implicit liberties and freedoms of individuals and groups.
8- A separate Constitutional Court, removed from the Judiciary.
9- A permanent war crimes tribunal.
10- A permanent ban on all professional corporate lobbying
11- Elections for all Public offices - no appointments on the nod.
12- A new Central Bank, a new banking regulatory body with teeth, not a banker´s club. Membership of the Eurosystem .. i.e. a new CB and a new currency .. the EURO .. to replace the BoE and the GBP.
13- Partition of executive, legislative and judicial branches.
14- A rigorous restriction on all electoral expenditure.
15- Closer EU integration and haronization of laws.
16- Immediate implementation of Lisbon Treaty
17- Etc. etc, etc.

1 June 2009 at 18:53  
Blogger Sam Steel's White Angel said...


That list is irrelevant. What Gordon must do is:

1. Call an election.

I have been to visit my nephew's grave today and had an experience of renewal centered around thinking about a statuette of a white angel. I have changed my name via blogpoll.

1 June 2009 at 19:13  
Blogger Jomo said...

He thinks himself one of the Calvinist elect therefore his actions are always beyond criticism.

He is part of the Scottish establishment. The Labour party became the convenient vehicle to achieve power for the elite/elect when Scottish Unionism ran into the buffers.

Smith/Dewar/Brown thought they could use devolution to hold onto power. They cared little for the damage their constitutional tinkering did to the unity of the state.

The useful idiots in the rotton boroughs across central Scotland were never a serious threat to Brown's ambition. However, they have tradionally limited the progress of the SNP. Doesn't look as they will be doing that much longer.

Brown's performances on radio and TV today suggest he is the verge of complete breakdown.Perhaps the men in white coats will reach him before the men in grey suits.

1 June 2009 at 20:20  
Anonymous healthy weight said...

FAT - If you are resident in this country, you are a traitor. You ought to go and live in one of the places you think is better; not to change what has long been, for the British, much, much better than those places.

If you are elsewhere, you are the enemy of this country.

Confusion and Destruction to europe. [Make that 'greater confusion and destruction].

1 June 2009 at 21:55  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

We'll have to wait until the Euro elections are out of the way. Everything else is more or less on hold until then. Next week everything will look a bit different, or even a lot different, depending on how severely Labour is hammered and, just as important, on who does the hammering: BNP and UKIP or the Tories and the Lib Dems.

1 June 2009 at 21:57  
Blogger The Young Oligarch said...

FAT is correct in his estimation of the constitutional change these types have in store for us if we let them (as well as being as rotund as I).

Jomo presents a different view of Scottish politics from that which I know . Perhaps he lives in an
area free from Labour's malignity
The hagiolatry of John Smith and Donald Dewar is very much un-Presbyterian .
I remember well the out-pourings of grief from our seperated bretheren over both these events . Dewar's (widely scorned) statue as "Father of The Nation" in Glasgow is testament to this .

As a public servant in Scotland , in an area dominated by the Labour Party since 1918 , I can confirm that only one Christian denomination is given anything but hostility - and it isn't Presbyterianism .

2 June 2009 at 01:51  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

I await with patience a substantial example of his or Tony Blair's use of clear languge that drew a line in the sand between those of a faith and the militant secularists who make up much of his party.

A true Presbyterian would have, for example, no difficulty in asserting the uniqueness of Christ. When we hear something like that we shall know it was not written by Mr Campbell.

2 June 2009 at 08:26  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

‘…to Gordon Brown there is only black and white; good and evil; his voice and that of the opposition. His subjective reason is his ultimate moral authority by which everone else must live, and thus his conscience claims authority over everyone else’s sources of motivation.’

Gordon Brown’s conscience cannot exist in a vacuum. Over the years his conscience must have been seared by a hot iron.

I cannot discern a scintilla of Judaeo-Christianity in him, only a humanism which he has mistaken for humanitarianism.

No one, and I speak to many people, can see him as an elected prime minister.

It may well be, before he goes in the way of his forefathers that he confesses:
‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.’

Genesis Ch. 3, v.13

2 June 2009 at 08:58  
Blogger Dave said...

When he uses terms such as "presbyterian" he is gambling that the great unwashed haven't a clue what he means. This allows him and his ilk to ascribe whatever meaning they wish to this word. Another example of doublespeak in action.
Let Jesus have the last word (as he undoubtebly will)
"By their fruits shall you know them"

2 June 2009 at 09:20  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

FAT - whilst I might reasonably concur with your item (5), I fear that nearly all the remainder would result in the total destruction of the UK as we know it. Certainly I reckon I'd lose the will to carry on living under such a regime; it's what the Lib Dems (and the eu commission) have been pressing for for, after all. Let's just say it's not my idea of paradise, but each to his own, of course.

Why not up sticks and go somewhere nice in the eurozone where you are able to enjoy Napoleonic law to its fullest extent without foisting it onto the UK, which, at least on current trends, really doesn't want it? And you can already enjoy the delights of the euro in so many places, after all

2 June 2009 at 13:50  
Anonymous Sandy Jamieson said...

When I read this article, I browsed over a list of Church Moderators and indeed High Commissioners of the Kirk as well as learned divines from both the 18th and 19th century
I never heard the Rev John Brown preach nor heard of any of his writings so I cannot comment .

I am familiar with the words of the great William Barclay (much as I can disagree with him), I admired Moderators such as Leonard Small and Andrew Herron and disagreed with men like George MacLeod (of Fuinery)and David Steel. The 20th century Church produced men such as Donald Caskie at Skelmorlie (the Tartan Pimpernel) and James Currie at Dunlop (of Burns Supper Fame)

All of them had a Presbyterian conscience without doubt.But to claim to have one while lying about all and sundry is not something they would do.

An early Calvinist belief was predeterminism. The weakness of this was recognised after the Disruption. As referred to above in Holy Willie's prayer,
"O though that in the Heaven's doth dwell,
Well as it pleases best thysel,
sends ane tae Heaven and Ten tae Hell, all for Thy Glory,
And Nae for any Good or Ill, they done afore Thee"

Gordpon clearly sees himself as on of the "unco guid"

2 June 2009 at 17:56  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

He's a commie, he doesn't Believe in God, to him, religion is simply another way of attaining control over the Masses.
Why is why he has agreed to this.

Euromed Agreement

2 June 2009 at 21:07  

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