Gordon Brown attacks ‘holier than thou’ politicians who claim religious sanction for their actions
It is not often that His Grace’s ashes roll on the floor laughing their ass off, or whatever the idiom is, but if reports of Gordon Brown’s sermon at Lambeth Palace are true, then Tony Blair was quite wrong to talk of Gordon Brown as merely lacking in ‘emotional intelligence’: he is has profound mental problems and suffers from psychotic delusions and thought disorders which suggest a degree of schizophrenia.
Apparently, Mr Brown delivered a sermon in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which he poured scorn upon political types who have the audacity to make an appeal to sacred Scripture as the divine inspiration for political philosophy and praxis.
His Grace is honoured. An entire sermon, all crafted for him. Bless you, Mr Brown. Bless you.
The full speech may be found here. Highlights include:
"We know here in the West that what may begin as a benign attempt by a politician to explain their religious motivation too often ends with the spectacle of them hinting that God has sanctioned or ordained a course of action..."There is, of course, some truth in this: despite how His Grace’s blog may sometimes appear, he does not believe that the creator of the universe is a eurosceptic Anglican Tory.
"Whether in foreign affairs – perhaps hinting at a justification for weapons or a war – or in domestic affairs – perhaps justifying intrusive laws in deeply personal matters best resolved in the privacy of conscience and family. To claim or imply divine sanction for a political cause is wrong not just because it is politically unacceptable: it is wrong to me because it is religiously unacceptable too. We cannot claim that God is on our side: the most we can do is hope that we are on God's side."
But what is the point of having a faith if it may not be invoked to justify political decisions?
If one is a Christian in politics, should one not try to do the right thing according to one’s conscience? And is that conscience not seared by the Word of God and illuminated by the Holy Spirit?
Abortion? Embryo research? Poverty alleviation? Housing the homeless? Fair taxation? Justice for the oppressed?
Alastair Campbell may have declared ‘We don't do God’. But, on leaving office, Tony Blair not only swiftly converted to Roman Catholicism; he admitted that his faith was ‘hugely important’ in influencing his decisions.
And so it should have been. The shame was that he chose to dissemble and deny; hide his light under a bushel, as it were; cram Jesus into a dark corner, for fear of being thought a ‘nutter’.
Perhaps with his predecessor in mind, Gordon Brown criticised those ‘pious politicians’ who assume an attitude of moral superiority:
"There is a genuine worry that people have about involving faith in politics; the dangers of an attitude of moral superiority, born of a 'holier than thou' stance or conviction.Right.
"The suggestion that somebody is a more moral person simply by virtue of having faith or having a particular faith is, I believe, a perversion of the religious idea itself."
This is the man who 'did God' quite a few times when it suited him, with appeals to a 'Christian country', or appearances on Songs of Praise. And let us not forget the real reason (here, here, here and here) he invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the UK during a general election year.
The Christian in politics is commanded to be salt and light; to live out his faith and witness for the truth in season and out. They can expect persecution, ridicule and scorn, including allegations of being ‘holier than thou’ and of perverting the faith.
It is bizarre that Gordon Brown, the son of a Presbyterian minister, should align himself with the aggressive secularists in censoring the Christian inspiration of morality and virtue in the political realm. At the very time when some minority faiths are flexing their muscles with impunity (indeed, being encouraged to do so), the Christians are manifesting shame, under the guise of humility, for fear of being accused of being a ‘nutter’ or of claiming ‘moral superiority’.
His Grace would like to remind Mr Brown that the Bible is the living Word of God and that Jesus is alive. If you wish to equate the greed of the bankers with the money changers in the temple, that is your prerogative as a believer. If you wish to talk of the markets or the environment with references to man’s stewardship over creation, that is your charge. If you wish to take the country to war to guard against the oppressor with references to the liberation of captives, that is your moral principle. If you wish to alleviate poverty, strengthen marriage and talk of the rearing of children with reference to your faith, that is your duty. If you wish to talk of sin, it is your obligation.
Appeals to the Christian inspiration of political philosophy and the formulation of political policy does not negate reason or circumvent the need for rational deliberation.
It is only the aggressive secularists and other anti-Christians who seek to persuade us otherwise.