Christians in Politics Show Up
Mission

We need more Christians in politics – and banking, education, media…

 

Another of Justin Welby’s visions has begun to bear fruit.

Yesterday, Lambeth Palace hosted the launch of the much-heralded Community of St Anselm. In a special service in the Palace’s chapel, 36 young men and women committed themselves to a year of praying, studying ethics and theology, and serving the poor. Explaining the missional aims of the Community, its Prior, Anders Litzell, has written:

When Justin Welby and his family were moving into the family apartment on the top floor of Lambeth Palace in 2013, someone asked the new Archbishop of Canterbury what he was going to do with the rest of the 800-year-old building. “We’ll fill it with young people,” he said.

The Community is open to young Christians from around the world, from every part of the church, and with every kind of professional background or ambition. Whether they are already, or plan to be, working in banking, education, politics or the media, or they sense a call to serve the church, the programme offers the same opportunity: to experience a monastic lifestyle focused on Jesus Christ, and to do that while actively serving in the world.

Some will be residential members, based at Lambeth Palace; others will continue their day jobs in advertising, education, media, banking, the civil service and elsewhere – part of their challenge will be exploring how to close the gap that often exists between professional and spiritual life.

But despite the diversity of their national, cultural, professional and denominational backgrounds, the unifying question for all of them over the coming year will be: how do I follow Jesus throughout my life, and stay deeply committed to him wherever life takes me?

The Archbishop of Canterbury knows too well what many churches fail to tell their members: namely, that God’s Kingdom needs to be manifested just as much, if not more so, in the worlds of banking, politics, industry and the media as it is within the walls of our church buildings. How often is it preached from the pulpits that the best way to live for God is to work for the church in some way? It may be subliminal; often more implicit than explicit, but, honestly, how often do we hear church leaders enthusing their congregations about getting stuck into their secular jobs and considering how they can be salt and light in the world, rather than pleading for more people to fill the coffee rota or help out with the children’s work?

We regularly pray in our church services for the Queen, our bishops, clergy, ministers, youth workers and missionaries. We pray for those with more ‘virtuous’ jobs, such as teachers at the start of the school year, or for doctors and nurses as they cope with suffering and death. But what about everyone else? Do we not need prophets, pioneers and faithful witnesses in every industry, business and profession?

It ought to be easy to stay true to your faith in Christian circles, but faithfulness in a work environment in the world, where no one quite grasps what it means to be a follower of Jesus, can be a big challenge. And talking about what you believe – witnessing to the truth – is tougher still. But if we have any hope that the message of the gospel will once again spread to all of the corners of this country, we need many more spirit-filled Christians who are willing to take the narrow road whilst holding firmly to the faith and refusing to compromise their beliefs.

In an honest and candid interview in Christian Today, Conservative MP Gary Streeter highlighted this very issue. Just how can Christians be involved in the dirty world of politics without succumbing to the forces of secularism and party tribalism? At least things have moved in the right direction over recent years. As Streeter puts it, Christians are far more willing to accept that a Christian presence in politics is a good thing than they were 20 years ago. He is in no doubt that the Christian presence in Parliament has made a significant difference since he became an MP in 1992. He is also aware that Christians who feel called into politics – and other ‘public square’ professions – face distinct and tough challenges:

Politics is difficult… If people feel encouraged or called to be involved in that decision making process, they may need to accept the tough baggage that comes with it. I personally can’t bear party politics. When I felt God call me into politics in 1986 it came as a complete shock. I didn’t know anything about politics. It came as an even bigger shock to my wife. I was never looking to be, but I felt called. So I would encourage people that if they feel passionate about some of these big decisions that communities and our country have to make; seek God and they might be surprised and find that he taps them on the shoulder and says “yes this is for you.” And if He calls you, He will equip you.

One of the roles which Streeter is keen to play is that of a mentor to other Christians setting out on their own journeys into politics. Christians in Politics (CiP) – which is the umbrella group of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, Liberal Democrat Christian Forum and Christians on the Left – understands how important it is that Christians go into demanding professions walking close to God, with their eyes open and with plenty of support behind them. That is why Streeter has been working with CiP to organise their first national ‘Show Up’ weekend. For those Christians considering or pursuing a role in politics, this conference brings together a strong line-up of speakers including MPs, author and social commentator Os Guinness, and Krish Kandiah, President of the London School of Theology (there are rumours that His Grace’s Deputy Editor will be making an appearance, too). They will be there to encourage, discuss and share. As one of the directors of CiP, Claire Mathys, puts it:

I’m often asked by Christians how they can get more involved in politics. This weekend is a unique opportunity to learn from those already doing it; connect with others passionate about the issues facing the UK; and be sent out to positively impact communities.

The weekend takes place on the 6th-8th November at Sunningdale Park in Ascot. The cost including meals is £140 for a single room or £110 per person for a twin room. Full details here.

His Grace’s blog rarely promotes events, but, for those considering or actively exploring a future in politics, this conference is an opportunity to be grasped. As a gesture of support for the initiative, the Archbishop Cranmer blog is exclusively offering a £140 single-room ticket for the entire weekend COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE. Anyone is welcome to enter on condition that they are able to attend for the whole weekend. All that you need to do is submit your details via the form below.* A name will be chosen randomly from a hat.

If you know someone who may be interested, please spread the word. The closing date is 5th October and the winner will be contacted soon afterwards.

Show Up Weekend 6th-8th November Entry Form

[contact-form-7 id=”4421″ title=”Christians in Politics entry form”]

*No personal data will be retained or shared with any third party.

  • David

    The idea that we need to take the faith out to the world, including its jobs and professions, and especially into politics, is an excellent one worthy of support. Well done Archbishop Welby.
    On this blog I have often argued for more Christians in politics, and received, at best, a luke warm reception. Part of the decline of The Churches is due to the fact that they have allowed the world to come into them, whereas a vigorous gospel goes out to the world.
    Of course these new representatives of Christ, out there in their professions, will not have the easiest of times; the long hand of a bossy, secular and suspicious of faith Big State now reaches into many areas of professional activity, often taking anti-Christian policy directions.
    It will also be a very good thing if the Church makes efforts to appeal beyond the narrow spectrum of the “caring” government professions such as teaching, social work, the medical professions and so on, who seem to make up the bulk of recruits for clerical and lay roles nowadays. These professions are also generally, high in female participation, which accentuates the inbalance of the sexes in Churches. One meets very few private sector engineers, lawyers, farmers heavily involved in Lay volunteering within the Churches let alone plumbers, gardeners or car mechanics. Is Christianity in the UK only for the academically educated one asks ?Is there a role for the more egalitarian Methodists I also wonder?
    Overall this is an excellent initiative. With God’s blessing may it flourish and expand.

  • Inspector General

    Well done all concerned. If we are to counter the increasing threat of Islamification in this country, we can’t leave it to empty secularism. We need to harness Christians and let us not forget cultural Christians who are not so guided by Christ as the rest of us, to go out there and be.

    One notes on Pink News, a similar but sinister attempt is being made to provide ‘ LGBT Leaders’, of all things. Those people are out to queer the world. It is up to us to save the world, if we can. It shouldn’t be too hard. We have God on our side. The true God, not that devil Allah.

    • chiefofsinners

      Join in if you know it…Christians to the left of me, Christians even further to the left of me, here I am stuck on the extreme right with you.

      • Inspector General

        Imagine there are no lefties, it isn’t hard to do. No secularists a-whining and no Islamics too. Imagine all the people, living in Gods peace…
        Some may say the Inspector is a dreamer, but he’s not the only one. Some day we’ll achieve it, and in Christ we’ll live as one…
        (Much as we used to in the past….)

        • chiefofsinners

          We all love a bit of Lenin, I mean Lennon.

  • IanCad

    Gillan,

    I have stated before that the ABC has what is probably the most difficult job in the world.

    Diplomat, psychologist, counsellor and guide, to a community of infinite variety.

    Integrity, also, is a fundamental requisite, as is loyalty to the Word of God and to those who suffered and sacrificed to bring to us, in our mother tongue, the inspired words of scripture.

    In that, AB Justin seems to have failed. This AM, in the Sunday Service on BBC, between the sentences refering to the Lollards Tower and the subject of Grace, the transcript contained the following words:

    “Cruel prison of the unhappy followers of Wycliffe at a time when the bible in English, pioneered by Wickliffe, was a problem for the church.” (sic)

    In the interests of what I infer as political correctness; and judge as spinelessness, the above words were left out when the sermon was delivered.

    What happened? Did a committee suggest that it was a trifle bold? That the passage might stir old memories?

    May we wonder at what the ABC will do if – apart from Wycliffe – those other sturdy followers of God come up for review.

    The likes of Tyndale, Latimer and Ridley. Our own Cranmer – Huss and Jerome, the Smithfield Martyrs – will they too be expunged from history?

    • And men like Thomas More and John Fisher and the 40 English martyrs? We can become all tribal and hurl claim and counter-claim about.
      Perhaps its a time to focus on what now unites us in Christ rather than remind ourselves of divisions from the past.

      • IanCad

        Forget the past Jack, and you’ll have to re-live it.

        • Stay in the past and one will not have a future, IanCad.

          • Inspector General

            You’ve come out with some glib rot before and now you are embracing modernism. Bah!

          • That from a person who denies the Triune God and the Divinity of Christ. So what’s “modernism” from the perspective of a heretic, Inspector?

          • Inspector General

            You modernism would be a weak answer to what is required. Revisionism.

          • Ah, you are a ‘revisionist’ then who is against the ‘errors’ of 2000 years of orthodox Christianity. Somewhat similar to Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim who put his followers right. Can we expect you to found a new faith system too?

          • Inspector General

            Found a new faith system? Certainly not! Nothing wrong with the RCC way, after a bit of tinkering with the essentials. Think of it as a new appreciation of what is, rather like the earth going around the sun, although there was plenty of kicking and screaming by such as yourself when that was announced…

  • magnolia

    Just weights and measures are a key theme in the Bible, but mostly overlooked now. When Parliament debated money creation there were some super contributions from both sides of the House, all anxious about the ethical implications. But those who chose to attend the debate were very very few, and it was conceded that most MPs knew next to nothing about the matter, hence the low attendance. And yet it is of vital importance.

    As for those in the church who understand what happens? Probably quite a lot lower, though I suspect Justin Welby understands.

    http://www.usdebtclock.org

    for those who like this kind of thing. It’s actually rather pretty though at $18.4 Trillion and counting it is also pretty dire, even if they own a lot of their own debt that is some kicking the can down the road, and then further and further down the road. And we are not much better, if at all.

    Yes, we need honest people with principles in finance, as otherwise the ground is clear for the dishonest or the underprincipled people, and they don’t half make a mess of it- for everyone.

    • Anton

      Well said! Fiat currency is the nationalisation of money as well as violating the fairness tha tlies behind behind Mosaic weights and measures regulations.

  • Dreadnaught

    I may carry a bit more weight if they mentioned the Elephant in the Room and said Islam wants to wipe-out Christianity. Muslims will not rest until they dominate Christians anywhere, as they have done all through the Middle East since 5th Century.

    • Anton

      7th century!

      • Dreadnaught

        Pedant! 🙂

    • David

      Quite !
      Islam wishes to dominate everything that is not Islam and everybody that is not Muslim. It is not only a faith but a total system of control with economic, military, legal, social and religious components. Islam, in Arabic, means submission to Allah.

      • IanCad

        And thus; to his agents. Meekness doesn’t count for much in the Caliphate.

      • Nature abhors a vacuum.

        • Dreadnaught

          You should know all about that then – you live in one.

          • A physical impossibility, Dreadnaught. However, Jack does own a vacuum cleaner.

          • Dreadnaught

            As you write for a third person it is indeed possible for that nonentity entity to exist in a vacuum.

          • I’m quite happy to write in the first person singular too from time to time.

      • Dreadnaught

        Its not so much a faith as a bloody confidence trick and the Pollies have fallen for it.

  • Why are so many comments directed at Islam and the threat it poses? Christianity and Christian virtues are being choked in this nation, not because of Islam but because we are rejecting God’s word.. Do we really think the Holy Spirit is weakened by the growth of this faith system?

    The Archbishop of Canterbury is correct. The re-evangelisation of Britain needs Christians in every corner and sector of our country.

    May God Bless this initiative.

    • Inspector General

      No harm using the universal fear and loathing of Islam to achieve what needs to be done. Would have thought you might realise that…

      • Spreading love of Christ by fear of Islam? Come off it ….

        • Inspector General

          Not at all. Did Christ not spread his news with the promise of eternal life for the soul. So it’s either carrot or stick then…

          • You will not win souls for Christ by bad mouthing Islam or, for that matter, homosexuals. Fear and loathing of other people are not methods of the Holy Spirit.

          • Inspector General

            Let’s just say God knows his creation better than you ever will…

          • Yes, indeed, and He has revealed to us how He wants us to engage with others.

    • Coniston

      Anglicans may perhaps learn from the RC’s ‘New Evangelisation’
      programme, in which a 2-year part-time diploma for lay people is being run (from
      Buckfast Abbey I believe). I know some
      people who are taking part. I think the
      aim is to make lay people more articulate in talking about the Christian faith
      by studying philosophy, theology, the Bible, etc. Otherwise many sincere and devout Christians
      can find it difficult to talk about and discuss Christianity with well (or
      highly) educated non-believers. Could
      there be an Anglican version of this?

      • Inspector General

        Well yes. They can just follow this site. All the answers are here, almost…

      • Dreadnaught

        They all get pissed up on the fortified wine the make there – then they believe they are the only ones talking sense.

        • Coniston

          I think you are confusing them with some of the inhabitants of Glasgow.

          • Dreadnaught

            What makes you think they’re not from Glasgow?

    • chiefofsinners

      Fully agree, Jack.

      “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” John 17:14-18

      Worship is right and proper, fellowship is good and learning of God is the highest use of our intellect, but we have all eternity to do those things. The focus of our short days on earth must be to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

      • Jack was once driven from London to Scotland by a series of AA Relay drivers. He will always remember his conversation with one chap – between Coventry and Carlisle – who was a Christian and not afraid to share or discuss this in a very easy, conversational manner. This was 20 years ago. Would he feel able and free to do so today?

        • chiefofsinners

          No.
          But replace the word ‘Christian’ for almost any other faith, ideology or ‘lifestyle choice’ and the answer would be yes, with the full protection of the law.

          • sarky

            Gonna be controversial here. I have lots of family who are christians and also quite a few friends and acquaintances. I can’t remember any of them once speaking to me about their faith, ever!!!! How about you all stop blaming everyone else for your lack of evangelism and take a deep look at yourselves. Prehaps its not the perceived hostile crowd that’s the problem but your own insecurities and embarrassment in your faith.

          • chiefofsinners

            Thank you. Much needed kick up the pants.

  • dannybhoy

    “The Community is open to young Christians from around the world, from
    every part of the church, and with every kind of professional background
    or ambition. Whether they are already, or plan to be, working in
    banking, education, politics or the media, or they sense a call to serve
    the church, the programme offers the same opportunity: to experience a
    monastic lifestyle focused on Jesus Christ, and to do that while
    actively serving in the world.”

    Not sure about the monastic lifestyle; I think a community lifestyle would be more balanced. I certainly think that committed young professional Christians working in and supporting each other in various fields of human endeavour is a way forward.
    The Catholics have already done this I think?
    YWAM and similar community based evangelical groups can offer the support, fellowship and necessary training.

  • Hi

    Surely there are loads of Christians in politics already , e.g. the liberal democrat leader from the lake district (can’t remember his name) isn’t he a proud evangelical, guitar rock n roll, happy clappy Holy Trinity Brompton type of Christian? David Cameron is a also a devout Anglican as is UKIP’s Nigel Farage. Not sure about “Jez” Corbyn, but the deputy Tom Watson is apparently also Anglican.

    • CliveM

      I have never heard of Nigel Farage (or Dave Cameron) being described as a devout Anglican!!!!!!

      • Hi

        I’m being a tease….

        • CliveM

          Oh dear, now I’m embarressed!

          • Hi

            Well I was going to ask rhetorically “more Christians like the DUP ?” But thought better of it.

          • dannybhoy

            A wise decision…

          • Hi

            Today’s politics is witnessing a revolution against the plastic Pollyanna types and veering towards those whom people for having gut belief is important , e.g. in the UK-

            From the right Nigel Farage
            From the left Jeremy Corbyn

            It’s the same in America with Trump for the right and Sanders for the left . People seem fed up of political dynasties and establishment type figures who’d be happy in whichever party wins …

            Like this old quote :

            “I had rather have a plain russet-coated captain that knows what he fights for and loves what he knows, than that which you call a ‘gentleman’ and is nothing else”

          • dannybhoy

            It’s interesting isn’t it that a chap with a rather strange hairstyle should come out swinging, and as much as the political elite hate him the American public like him.

            Like Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn comes across as real and unafraid to upset the status quo. People have had enough of the smooth and bland brand of politician.They want something real.

    • dannybhoy

      Hannah
      There is sometimes a big difference between the label and the product!
      Remember when were discussing Judaism and Buddhism, and that a Jew remains a Jew even if they’re a practising Buddhist or even an atheist?
      It isn’t like that for us Christians. Jesus made it quite clear that “by their fruits shall ye know them.”
      In other words, the contents should do what it says on the tin..
      Being a member of the Anglican Church (or any church for that matter), doesn’t mean you actually believe the faith or follow it..

      How are you btw? (had a quick look at your blog on Friday..!)

      • Hi

        I’m fine. Guess it’s more of the type of Christian, rather than whether one self describes as such ?

        • dannybhoy

          Absolutely. Hannahle.
          So as we both know “Christian Europe” treated the Jews very badly culminating in the Holocaust. And of course it’s no comfort to Jewish people when I say that “they weren’t acting in accordance with the teachings of Yeshua..”
          But they weren’t.

  • len

    What we need is more Christians not only prepared to ‘rock the boat’ but to get out of the boat and preach the Gospel to a dying world.
    Those who profess Christian values but deny those selfsame values by their actions are worse than useless to the faith….

  • Most Christians have never even considered getting involved in Politics! Some Churches even forbid involvement in it! –

    I have written a Draft Thesis on it here… https://www.scribd.com/doc/265797374/THE-CHRISTIAN-AND-POLITICS-Can-and-Should-Christians-be-Involved-in-Politics-and-Voting?secret_password=GT5EWaT5qpPOJYZEPfyW

  • Dennis Lessenis

    The problem with the assertion that there should be more Christians in various walks of life – and that if there were, then society would be ‘better’ is that such a notion is: 1) simplistic, just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean they possess any abilities, skills or worldview that makes them ‘better’ for any job or role – and (more importantly) 2) the fact many Christians believe Christians are inherently ‘better’ people reveals that at the heart of much religious belief there is a goodly dollop of narcissism, self-love and self-magnification!

    It is curious that if we compare two Western societies where we see extremes of religious/Christian belief and non-belief and atheism – that is, the USA, with the highest levels of Christian belief and practice of any Western nation and Denmark, the Western nation with some of the lowest levels of Christian/religious belief and practice – we see social trends that rather belie the back-handed self-praise and self-love of Mr Gillan and his assertion Christians ‘do it better’.

    USA:

    CHURCH ATTENDANCE: Approx. 40% – although higher in Bible Belt states.

    Belief in God: 90%

    Atheist: 6% approx.

    MURDER RATE: 4.7 people per 100,000 (higher in many Bible Belt States – http://www.geocurrents.info/place/north-america/the-geography-of-the-death-penalty-in-the-united-states; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Belt )

    PRISON POPULATION: 727 people per 100,000 – in fact the USA has 27% of the total number of prisoners in the world (so much for the ‘Land of the Free’) – despite the entire US population only making up 4.45% of the world’s population.

    Teenage Pregnancy: 39 per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 – this is an average – Bible states usually higher, liberal states considerably lower (see: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/reproductive-health/teen-pregnancy/trends.html )

    Divorce Rate: 3.6 per 1,000 (although considerably higher in many Bible Belt States)

    Relative child poverty Unicef Ranking – 34th among Western nations (next to Romania)

    DENMARK:

    CHURCH ATTENDANCE: Approx. 3%

    Belief in God: 28%

    Atheist: 27%

    MURDER RATE: 0.8 people per 100,000 – or one sixth that of the USA

    PRISON POPULATION: 73 people per 100,000 – approx. one tenth that of the USA

    Teenage Pregnancy: 6 per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 – or one sixth that of the USA.

    Divorce Rate: 2.6 per 1,000

    Relative child poverty Unicef Ranking – 7th among Western nations – the top nations, with the exception of Cyprus, tend to be liberal, secular democracies that have the lowest rates of child poverty and the best outcomes for children and the family in the Western world.

    Indeed although the USA has high levels of religious belief – and conservative Christian belief – it is the very states where that belief is highest – and permeates into the political and public service fabric of those states, that we see the worse rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, social inequality, violent crime, murder, ill-health, lower life expectancy, etc. etc. It would seem if you want a society where marriages tend to survive, children are well looked after, divorce rates, and teen age pregnancy rates are low – ‘Christians in politics, media, education…’ etc. doesn’t come up with the goods!

    Bible belt America even leads the USA when it comes to internet porn downloading – many of the Bible Belt states are in the top ten of US states that sees the most internet porn searching and downloading – oddly enough it tends to be your wishy-washy liberal states that score the lowest (but that is the case when it comes to divorce, teen pregnancy, violent crime, etc., etc. (http://gizmodo.com/heres-all-the-dirty-details-on-americas-thriving-porn-1208587525). Here in Europe, Poland – a nation with 54% weekly church attendance and where social and political conservatism thrives, ranks as the European nation with the highest levels internet pornography downloading (http://postober.com/general/top-10-countries-that-watch-the-most-porn/# ). Curiously, ALL the top ten nations for internet pornography downloading are religiously conservative societies – Pakistan scoring the highest. Mind you ‘Thou Shalt Not Get Found Out…’ and ‘Thou Shalt Do as I say and not as I do…’ have always been the hottest commandments of many of our religious friends.

    The problem with folks like Gillan is that they tend to see the society we have today – which is far, far more equal, caring, fair and just than ANY Christian society that has ever existed – and claim the fruits of class struggle, Enlightenment values and the state welfare are the fruits of Christianity. It is really just a backhanded means of self-praise – ‘Christians are ‘better’ – is really just saying ‘I am better’ – it is just a subtle means of veiling narcissism in piety. I believe it is this inherent self-interest and self-love and self-praise, which is a major reason why it is that overtly Christian societies tend to score so poorly when it comes to levels of social wholesomeness – there is an over interest in the ‘Self’ – ironically, religious societies tend to be the most selfish societies. I am sure Gillan and his likeminded friends will at this point throw their hands up in horror and say this in untrue – Christians are selfless souls, thinking about the welfare of others over their own – however they are praising themselves – and thus prove my point very well! – Christians (and religious people, per se) tend to have rather grandiose, self-flattering views of their own importance and relevance.

    Alas our Christian friends like to bask in the reflected glory of others. They like to tell us we have Christians to thank for social reform. Yet they fail to ask why the reforms of the late Georgian/early Victorian era were necessary in a society that was already Christian (and far, far more Christian than it is today – and had been Christian for 1,000 years and Protestant for 200 years at the time of the Great Reforms of the 1830s). Christianity itself had been around for 1,800 years at the time. Moreover we don’t see any Christian reform movements (except Quakers and Non-Trinitarian Unitarians) before the French Revolution (1789) – an event which taught the upper and middle-classes, that you ignore the poor at your peril. Or condemnation of slavery until AFTER the American War of Independence (1775–1783) (except Quakers and Non-Trinitarian Unitarians – Wilberforce built on the work of Unitarians) – the British only got snooty about slavery once it presented a means of hurting the American economy! Clearly Christianity was influenced by the Enlightenment and Rational Positivism – not vice versa. This demonstrates that Christianity is no guarantee of outcomes, nor does it have a monopoly on social good. Indeed looking at European history and contemporary societies where Christianity/religion still dominates today, we see that a religious society is often a far more divided society, with a far greater raft of social problems than Western, secular liberal societies.

    So would an increase in Christians in politics, media and education make for a ‘better’ society? There is scant evidence for this – there are some Christian folk who are inspirational and selfless – but in truth this is more a trait of their personalities, rather than ‘Christian’ belief and practice. Some Christians are saints – as are some atheists: some Christians are sh*ts – as are some atheists, ‘belief’ itself doesn’t make a person a better person – it is just part of the self-flattering nature of religion that tells our religious friends that it does!

    Alas – as we have seen with Christian organisations like the Christian Institute, The Christian Legal Centre (aka Ambulance Chasers for Jesus), Anglican Mainstream, etc., etc. – they seem to have an unhealthy interest in matters genital – and upholding the Christian tradition of always thinking the worst of other people – which of course is just a backhanded way of thinking better of oneself! One of the greatest ironies of our modern society is that it far better fulfils biblical morality (See: Exodus 22:22 , Deut 10:18, 14:29, 24:17, 24:19 etc., Isaiah 1:17, 1:23, 10:2, Jeremiah 22:3, Ezekiel 22:7, Zechariah7:10, Malachi 3:5, etc.) than at any time when the churches were full and the Bible well known. The poor are fed, the disabled and the sick are cared for, the rights of the poor, the foreigner and the marginalised are far, far better upheld today than they were a century or so ago when far many more people went to church – and much more so than 150 years ago, when church attendance was at its highest (50%) in the modern era in the UK. – And please, please, run off and do the research before contradicting this statement. It is an unfortunate habit of our religious friends that they tend to confuse wishful thinking and self-glory, with historical facts – such is the self-deluding power of religion and the narcissism it engenders. Our religious friends are not always the most truthful of souls – to maintain religious belief you have to lie to yourself every day, so it is hardly surprising the ability of the faithful to speak truthfully about this or that social issue is compromised by the self-affirming and self-flattering habits of our religious brethren. They view the world through the prism of self-affirmation and self-praise – honesty, truthfulness and self-perspicacity would mar the self-flattering image they have of themselves and their abilities and place in the world.

    No, I think Gillan’s assertion that ‘WE NEED MORE CHRISTIANS IN POLITICS – AND BANKING, EDUCATION, MEDIA…’ is just a subtle exegesis in self-praise and self-love… ever the malady of the religiously devout, who believe they love God, when they often just love the sound of their own voice. Moreover, what they REALLY want, is to be in charge – and as history attests, when Christians are in charge, society becomes more divided, Free Speech goes out of the window and an elite seek to fulfil their self-interests via politics and economic power veiled in piety (cf. the USA or Southern Nigeria, etc.). Let’s face it, if Christianity was so wonderful as a means of social and political governance, why are the churches emptying and why have Western nations chosen a democratic system of government – and where we see this system of government working well we see the lowest rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, violent crime, murder, social inequality, better outcomes for children and families in Western societies. It is the conservatively religious societies that score the worst!

    If you want a wholesome, caring society, where the family flourishes, children have the best outcomes in life, the rights of the poor are upheld, etc. etc., ditch religion!! The evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of this fact!