James O'Brien tweet Rees-Mogg

Who made James O’Brien pope of religious identity?

Radio presenter James O’Brien doesn’t like Jacob Rees-Mogg. You only have to listen to a few minutes of his LBC interview with the MP to sense the contempt, bitterness and petulant self-righteousness which laces every indignant consonant he spits toward the politician: Rees-Mogg lacks a soul; he is not rational; he is destined by God for an eternity in purgatory, if not hellfire and damnation. He is, in short, no Christian.

That’s what O’Brien tweeted to Rees-Mogg yesterday in response to his Easter greeting: ‘Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia.’

It isn’t clear when James O’Brien became pope, or who crowned him such. He projects himself to the world as the most rationally enlightened of rational enlightened liberals, able to cut through political moral hypocrisy and pierce spiritual superficiality like a fang through the jugular: his instinct is to devalue and humiliate; to crush with brute verbal force under the pretext of journalistic integrity; to badger and bully his victim – usually Tory, invariably Brexiteer – because this is what God decrees for those who are less intelligent, less virtuous, less capable of high moral consciousness than the Pope of LBC.

Would James O’Brien tell Sadiq Khan ‘You ain’t no Muslim, bruv’; or Sayeeda Warsi ‘You ain’t no Muslim, sis’? Would he tell Luciana Berger ‘You ain’t no Jew, sis’; or Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi ‘You ain’t no Sikh, bruv’? Or is it only the Christian soul he evaluates and pontificates upon? Is it only the Tory Brexiteer he judges by their desires, inclinations and choices? Who else does he dispatch to hell? Which other creatures of God does he consider unworthy of divine blessing?

Jacob Rees-Mogg may not be everyone’s favourite type of Christian, but that he believes in the Lordship of Christ and the forgiveness of sins is in no doubt. “I’m a Catholic, and I take the teaching of the Catholic Church seriously,”he told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid a few years ago, as he defended his faith and moral orthodoxy and the sacrament of marriage. “I am very happy to be challenged on my views, and to be a loyal son of the Catholic Church, a loyal Conservative, and a loyal subject of Her Majesty,” he added, making explicit every ontology – with Brexit – which James O’Brien despises.

‘You ain’t no Christian, bruv.’

And so Pope O’Brien’s infallible law is pronounced ex cathedra. He is the sustainer of the cosmic moral order; the judge of all universal, natural and human rights; the defender of human dignity, and the sole depository of spiritual truth concerning salvation. There is no liberty, no autonomy, and no righteous action, motive or pursuit except that which he determines and permits. He must trample underfoot every prejudice, tradition, universal assent and authority to which he demurs. Nothing may be admitted save on the testimony of his own reason and experience. Those who stand in the public space and proclaim against this persuasive force of reason and secular holiness are heretics, and their destiny is forgone.

‘You ain’t no Christian, bruv’ is the utterance of just another of the illiberal liberals who seek to crush all dissent and censor every utterance of Christian orthodoxy from the public sphere. It is designed to silence dissonance: there is simply no debate to be had if it might incite hate or hurt feelings or transgress the teleological certainty of ever closer union. The only views which are worthy to be broadcast are those which don’t offend against the happiness, benevolence and pieties of the zeitgeist: Christian orthodoxy must be eradicated; the recalcitrant Christian conscience expunged.

James O’Brien, you ain’t no liberal, bruv.