There isn’t much which is more damaging to believers than a Prime Minister claiming to be a Christian. It simply reinforces people’s perception that Christianity is about defending the status quo (or the rich). It also reinforces the false view that Christians are privileged in society.
Yesterday some brave soul asked Cameron: “What would your response to Jesus be on his instruction to us to sell all our possessions and give the proceeds to the poor?”
Reports suggest that the PM was thrown by the question and had a momentary mental block: “I have never had that question before.” he muttered.
Then his political spiel kicked in and he said: “I’m a Christian and I’m an active member of the Church of England, and like all Christians I think I sometimes struggle with some of the sayings and some of the instructions.
But what I think is so good about Jesus’s teachings is there are lots of things that he said that you can still apply very directly to daily life and to bringing up your children.
Simple things like do to others as you would be done by; love your neighbour as yourself, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount.
To me they’re still pretty fresh and good instructions… but the particular one that you mention, I find a little bit more difficult.”
You couldn’t come out with an answer like that unless you had the devil whispering dark advice in your ear.
Once again we have the old Government lie: ‘God is with us.’ (and the implication of that ‘He approves of all that we do’). Because that is the subtext of the exchange.
And if David Cameron actually does have some kind of relationship with Christ (which I think is debatable) – then he is behaving like a sycophant to Christ.
It is the subtext of the exchange which is the danger. Once again the Government needs the legitimacy that is provided from faith groups. And once again, through both word and action they claim that God is with them and that God is in all that they do, every law that they make, every oppressive statement against the poor. When there are hospital cut backs – God is with them. When minorities are marginalized – God is with them. When things get worse in the country and not better – God is with them and these measures are necessary for future freedom. When arms are traded God is with them. When the poor are oppressed – God is with them. And even if they choose to deny this is the truth – God is with them in that too.
Take a message from another struggling Christian who finds it hard to sell all his possessions Mr Cameron (and I hope that is where the similarities cease):
God is not with the Government. God is with the people.
What the country needs is a Christian revival, not a nominal Christian Prime Minister who is making things worse for both the Christian community and for the poor.