This is a risk: overnight a number of (mainly male) Christian leaders have let their pre Christmas toes curl up in delight as David Cameron has said the UK is Christian country.. which isn't what he said.. nor did he actually say Christianity should be the thing which reverses a moral collapse.. but these are just two of the reasons why he should have kept his mouth shut!
Hate what I say or not- I'm not sure I care. But here's my take..
First: bless the celebration of the KIng James Bible.. but lets be clear (see what I did there)- this version of the Bible was allowed (authorised) to pacify a tide of far better/ more literal translations which were just too subversive for Monarchy. Thus when DC suggests that Monarchy and its restriction are from this text he needs to be careful (oh sorry whichever lackey wrote this needs to).. Don't talk about government values around a translation that was allowed to put down the aspiration of the masses.
Second: please talk about language.. it was beautiful. It has shaped language. Let us be grateful for that. But let us also remember that language has moved on and even when it was written the tone of it is loftier than the education of many. It certainly is now.
Third: a nun tweeted earlier (now theres the 21st century for you) "The idea of 'vaguely practising' Christianity (Cameron) is absurd. If we're practising we're not vague, however much we fail." DC falls into the modernist trap of thinking its about what goes on in our head that gives us faith. I no longer think thats the case. It allows rabid secularists to pull the mumbo jumbo card. Christian faith is not a set of tenets or a moral code (another error). It has to be embodied- as we follow God incarnate.
I'm going off piste a little here.. but DC seemed to be back on the idea of religion as somehow pacifying the masses.. stopping us being terrible to one another, by doggedly following a moral code. Naive, at best; feudal at worst, he has missed the point.
This faith that I follow has at the heart of it the notion that everyone has equal worth in the sight of God: the great leveller. From that basis the follower of God can value people equally... and thats the shaping point of our politics. Thats what Christianity has to offer right now. You don't have to look far to see how as a nation we have lost that sense (follow has tags on the BIg Fat Gypsy Christmas to see how a secular society doesn't value everyone as equal). I am inclined to believe that DC's policies do not dignify people as having equal value- others may disagree.
My final point is this: I think we need some people to give most people permission to believe again. I think people do- but a very small number of very fierce people tell us that we are deluded if we follow a God. DC was right to point out that actually most people do believe. I wish it was someone else who had given that permission..
I'm not sure that all publicity is good publicity. DC has put in his twopenneth which I hope does not allow media to write off anything that is said over Christmas.. I hope churches don't use his speech as a good thing. I hope that someone gently point sour that CUF who he praised, was set up after his predecessor decimated the inner city.. I hope he finds something more than vague practice..