Passiontide - the call to trust in Christ alone
In December 2011 Prime Minister Cameron endorsed the relevance of Christian faith in the public forum. Christianity was very important and helped other faiths to feel safe, he said. He encouraged Christians not to be shy about their faith and speak up. He recognised the core significance of Christianity to our social foundations.
He then went on to use state power, with no democratic mandate, to redefine marriage. He did not support exemptions for Christians in public service who could not endorse or ratify ‘gay marriage’, and so opened up a line of fire onto such Christians, who have been losing their jobs as a result.
Michael Gove similarly has declared himself a Christian who believes in the immense contribution of Christians in society, in charitable work, education and care, while supporting the removal of magistrates who say that children being adopted are best placed with a mum and dad, rather than homosexual couples. Both politicians have, no doubt sincerely rather than cynically, announced support for Christian faith, while at the same time dropping metaphorical governmental bombs on it with the new state secularist ideology.
Neither seems to realise that sexual morality is woven into the Gospel, and is not a detachable extra for the state to remove as it fancies. Education, Mr Gove’s earlier remit, has likewise been handed over to the secularist, anti-Christian ideologues. To take one example, the old section 28 has been inverted so that any scepticism about the benefits of homoerotic sex must be kept quiet in today’s classroom, it is utterly taboo.
The new head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, David Isaac, has been appointed because he was chairman of Stonewall and succeeded in overturning section 28, according to Nicky Morgan the Minister of Education. Will his appointment serve to make the inquisition against ordinary Christians ever greater? Yet the government talks of appreciating the faith!
Christians cannot look to politicians for the kind of help afforded to ‘minority faiths’ in law, policy, and the judiciary. As Good Friday and Easter approach in the Church calendar, we are taken to the cross and to crucifixion. Jesus died at the hands of politicians, religious rulers, soldiers and compromisers with truth. While it seems quite amazing, it is now true that our faith is allergic to governments and most politicians who are happy to push the Gospel into the closet, even to criminalise it, as several court cases and industrial tribunals show.
This Passiontide we are starkly reminded that our faith is in the crucified Christ alone, the true Word of God that unmasks all falsity and hypocrisy. As the state is now determined to push the Gospel away in favour of other ideologies and idolatries, Christians will perhaps get closer to the faith of the early church, to Christ alone as their Lord, and increasingly finding the government, education system, and judiciary, hostile rather than appreciative.