Why do politicians do it? Treat us to a Christmas message I mean.
Families send out round robin letters at Christmas telling every acquaintance that Araminta has Grade 3 piano and Justin is spending his gap year in Tibet at a meerkat rescue centre. Ignored is the incident with young Julian, the captain of the rugby club and the shower cap; also husband Torquil’s little misunderstanding with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs fails to find a mention.
With church leaders it is understandable, after all it is their trade so to speak. We have utterly sincere pleas to be kind to each other, to pretend there is no differences between religions and to protect the environment. Ignored is anything connected with the Great Commission or any suggestion that sin may not be an entirely good thing. Do, however, get your priorities right and think of drowning polar bears.
Even Richard Dawkins took advantage of the season by sending us a Christmas message via Al Jazeera concerning the evils of the church. We must have nodded off during his remarks about totalitarian Islam, we can’t believe a brave outspoken opponent of all religion wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
But why do politicians do it? If we don’t trust them over mundane matters why should we listen to them when they speak of faith?
In face of stiff opposition from vote grubbers around the world probably the worst example this year comes from our very own David Cameron. Poor Dave has clearly been trying to channel his inner Paul of Tarsus:
“Christmas also gives us the opportunity to remember the Christmas story – the story about the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope that he brings to the countless millions who follow him. The Gospel of John tells us that in this man was life, and that his life was the light of all mankind, and that he came with grace, truth and love. Indeed, God’s word reminds us that Jesus was the Prince of Peace.”
Not bad, at least he managed to recall that Christmas, amongst other things, “also gives us the opportunity to remember the Christmas story.” Unfortunately we can remember other statements from Dave about his Christian faith.
Just four years ago he described his Christian faith thus:
“I believe, you know. I am a sort of typical member of the Church of England. As Boris Johnson once said, his religious faith is a bit like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes. That sums up a lot of people in the Church of England. We are racked with doubts, but sort of fundamentally believe, but don’t sort of wear it on our sleeves or make too much of it. I think that is sort of where I am.”
Christians should avoid cynicism, it is corrosive of the soul. However, unless Dave has “sort of” experienced a conversion in the last few years, in which case “Praise the Lord,” then we can be forgiven for suspecting that this is a piece of crass political opportunism.
Cameron has successfully alienated a significant proportion of the Christian population with his government’s seeming inability to deal with the major problems facing the British economy and society, in contrast with his focus on the obsessions of a tiny metropolitan elite.
What better way of getting those gullible Christians back on side than getting a speech writer to whip up a Christian friendly statement with no actual commitments concerning policies which Christians might actually want?
You can imagine the remarks in No 10, “Don’t worry, they’ll never notice.” Like his hero Tony Blair poor David Cameron thinks that if he can get the words to sound right then people won’t spot the reality.
However, the Bible teaches “By their fruits shall you know them.” It’s not just his insistent promotion of sodomite marriage, Cameron will continue losing Christian votes unless the government introduces policies which:
Adjust tax regulations to support families;
Promote fiscal prudence on an individual level;
Reform a welfare system which is counter-productive and perpetuates poverty;
Link overseas aid to effective anti-corruption policies, and which emphasise human rights, especially the rights of Christians to practice their faith;
Promote freedom of speech and protection from the enforcement of the extremes of political correctness by intrusive progressive jobsworths;
Return the police to combating crime instead of being an arm of progressive social engineering.
Rebalance the criminal justice system. Perhaps amongst the many things Adam Smith said which Cameron should remember is that “Mercy to the guilty is the same as cruelty to the innocent.”
Add your own priorities, the list could go on and on. It will take more than a few ghost written platitudes before Christians can begin to trust the arrogant posh boy whose only job outside politics was as spin doctor for Carlton Television.