Leavers are xenophobic, insular, narrow-minded, self-regarding, racist, confused, brainless, extremist, hateful, economically-illiterate, un-Christian little-Englanders and swivel-eyed conspiracy theorists.
Remainers are sneering, aloof, arrogant, vicious, supercilious, evil, unhinged, hypocritical, ageist, lying, duplicitous, cavalier, collaborators, traitors and bullies.
It ought to be possible to disagree and debate without denigrating one’s opponent. The problem is, it’s so deliciously fulfilling. To crush the self-righteous ego with invective and terminate pomposity with vilification is to triumph, and politics is about winning the argument and dancing a jig over the vanquished corpse. Abuse is fun: backbiting is an art and malice brings great contentment.
It’s a pity when Church leaders cast aspersions and judge motives, but they are only human. Yet it ought to occur to them that they cannot simultaneously preach peace and foster reconciliation when they themselves sow discontent and division by alienating sections of Christ’s community with dogmatic assertions of worldly wisdom and scornful apprehensions of philosophical difference. When theological truth becomes an absolute expression of social goodness, the spiritual becomes political. By all means, assert your positive law and apply your principles of natural law, but don’t confuse your partisan moral decisions with divine law. And don’t, for God’s sake, turn the appeal for freedom into the battle-cry of murderers.
‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus‘ (Gal 3:28). Neither is there a Leaver nor Remainer, for they are all one in Christ Jesus, too.
The exercise of political authority is usually the search for optimal compromise, but in a Manichaean referendum there is only one victorious truth, and it is devoid of moderating mercy and relative justice. We are required to submit to the ruling authorities: it is morally obligatory to obey. But not uncritically. And certainly not by suppressing our thoughts and feelings about those who rule. Fallen man hurls insults. But so did the Son of God: hypocrites, blind guides, fools, whited sepulchres, dead men’s bones, full of all uncleanness, serpents, ye generation of vipers…
There is a time and a place for a harsh word of ‘Bible truth’ judgment. But it is not for fallen man trying to win a political campaign before the Cross of Christ. It’s just that it feels so good.