Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cameron doing religion

I've been trying to figure out what the Prime Minister meant in his recent speech.

"I claim no religious authority whatsoever," except as Prime Minister he appoints CofE bishops he said. "I am a committed, but I have to say vaguely practising, that seems to be where most English people are at Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith like introducing the law that equates marriage between persons of the same sex with, err, marriage but who is full of doubts. Like many (I am) constantly grappling with the difficult questions when it comes to some of the big theological issues." For many members of our society "religion" is based on a few remembered or half remembered phrases or stories or on feelings, on a half seen image of Christ, whose divinity is questionable, who have serious doubts about fundamental doctrines, such as the Resurrection but there is a desire to believe.

Describing the King James Bible as "a high point of the English language" with "arresting phrases that move, challenge and inspire", Mr Cameron said it had helped bind Britain together. He sees religion (re-ligere to bind together), set of common myths that somehow form the basis of our national culture.

"We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so," he said. But how does he define Christianity? "The Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend. Is he upholding the traditional Tory notion that Christianity is really about "values": honesty, integrity, charity, respect for law and order, neighbourliness? It is really the "Big Society". The alternative of moral neutrality Relativism and Individualism, the fragmentation of society? should not be an option. You can't fight something with nothing. A bit vague. If we don't stand for something, we can't stand against anything." But what are we against and what are we for?

But Mr Cameron, who was attacked over the summer by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for pushing through "radical" policies "for which no one voted" took the opportunity to have a gentle dig back.

"I have never really understood the argument some people make about the church not getting involved in politics," he said. "To me, Christianity, faith, religion, the church and the Bible are all inherently involved in politics because so many political questions are moral questions. So I don't think we should be shy or frightened of this.
Now let's wait for the Sunday papers to have a few rabid atheists chewing tis over.


nickbris said...

As cunning as a waggon load of monkeys.

Probably the second worst Tory PM we have ever had. Shot himself in the foot in Europe now we must hope & pray that he does something honourable like falling on his sword.

Gladiatrix said...

One pedantic point, Father Ray. The PM does not appoint bishops in the Church of England. That is the job of the Church of England Commissioners.

I think you might be referring to the power to appoint the Archbishop of Canterbury.

pelerin said...

I think a lot of people are wondering exactly what Mr Cameron meant. I put a short comment on the Daily Mail Website saying that if he really wanted to return to Christian moral values then he should think about the Commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' and its relation to abortions.

Needless to say it was not published and the comments seem to stop at 12.45.

Being cynical I think he is trying to curry favour with Christian voters but it won't work and he will probably alienate the atheists too.

Patricius said...

"I claim no religious authority...but everyone ought to agree with me"!
The PM has been having a difficult time lately and has conveniently found a distracting target to criticise.

Matthew M said...

At least he said SOME THING! Better than TB.
You people over on the small island don't care either way.
"THOU SHALL DO NO MURDER" is the Commandment, but it still applies.

The Bones said...

Thanks Mr Cameron,

Gosh, that's really 'made us sit up and think'.

Dominic MacCarthy said...

Didn't he also say something about women and their rights, and that some religions hadn't grasped the equality of women?

Was this a swipe at Islam, or at least those brands of it which like to keep women inside the house or in the niqab? Or even at the Catholic Church which cannot ordain priestesses? Will Dave the Brave try to saddle us too with Vicarixes, Canoninas, Monsignorettes, and Bishoprenas - a monstrous regiment of wymyn?

But as Matthew M points out, Dave has at least had the guts to nail his rather pallid and undecided Christian colours to the mast. Much better than Blair or Alastair Campbell's "We don't do God." Better a lame Tory than a lame Socialist, it would seem.

Lynda said...

What it highlights to me is the longtime, deadly silence and inaction of the Anglican AND the Catholic episcopate, in England and Wales, on even the most pressing moral issues determining society.

Pablo the Mexican said...

He sounds like an American Catholic.


Paul, Bedfordshire said...

I would like to think that this, and last weeks discovering some backbone to stand up to the EU were his realisation that he had erred and was returning to some principles.

I suspect though it has more to do with there being no chance of a coalition with the liberals in 2015 and still looking unlikely for a decent majority, we had better stop attacking the core support and get the Democratic Unionists onside.

Physiocrat said...

On the 400th anniversary of the King James bible it would do us all good to study chapter 25 of Leviticus and then ponder (1) how political economy has got into its present disastrous state by ignoring the principles expressed there and (2) how those principles could be applied today to prevent a recurrence.

No usury
Thou shalt not sell land into perpetutity

shadowlands said...

This is, the elected leader of our country, giving us permission to be and state, who we are. A time of grace, embrace it, while it lasts.

He lost a child. His child died. That changes a person. Remember Father Ray, he is your spiritual child, in a sense. Pray for him. St Thomas More said, not exactly as I am going to type, but words to the effect, we must not look for trouble, seek peace and keep quiet while we can.

I feel affirmed as a Christian in my own home today, by the leader of this country. Let's celebrate.

One day at a time. Rosaries, not PM's ultimately will be, what Our Lady saves the world with. She said so. I believe it.

Rosaries. They are the living gospel message, truly. ask Our Lady to show you, anyone reading this. Just ask.

Fr Barry Tomlinson said...

As I understand it the appointment of C/E bishops begins with a Vacancy in See committee (see This committee produces 2 names and the PM submits one to the Queen.

Amfortas said...

I suppose we should be grateful to the PM for saying what he did. I'm not sure it amounts to Christianity, rather a vague humanism derived from Christianity. As ever with these statements the emphasis is on social cohesion and morals. Maybe that's all we can ever expect from any PM. There's never anything about the longing of the human heart for God or redemption through Christ.

Evagrius Ponticus said...

Physiocrat: Moreover, we should read St Thomas' points on usury, which highlight more than anything the astonishing insanity on which our economic system is based.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I think you were a bit hard on him. At least it is a start and better than nothing. Let us pray that he progresses and let us not be too cynical.