Sunday, 18 December 2011

It isn't. It's just the lift.

I first found out that David Cameron had said that the UK was a Christian country because some non-Christian friends of mine were being angry and insulted. Given that he was arguing that a lack of Christian values was leading to the country's "moral collapse" this is fair enough, and my instinctive reaction (as so often on these occasions) was to feel bad that Christians all to often play the part of the oppressive majority. Though I have to disagree with the one who said that Jesus probably would have wanted to punch David Cameron as much as he did (WWJP wrist-bands anyone?!).

But then I thought about it. Mr. Cameron reckons that it is Christian values which make the UK what it is today, specifically values from the Bible. Of course it's difficult to say which values an entire nation does or doesn't hold, but in a democracy surely we ought to be able to get some sort of idea by looking at how the nation's elected leaders conduct themselves?

Obviously the commandment not to kill runs into problems in a nation which continues to prosecute wars around the world, and a judicial system which still by default asks people to swear an oath on a Bible contravenes all sorts of instructions from the Old Testament, though perhaps I'm nitpicking. And it would be a bit ridiculous to expect a modern capitalist nation to cancel all debts owed to it every seven years, right? But then, continuing to demand repayments of loans (made to Mubarak so that he could buy weapons from us) from the current Egyptian government (which came to power because they didn't like being persecuted through the same weapons) seems a bit rich. And can the message of the opening of Genesis, that the Bible considers humans the keepers of the garden God has built on earth, really have been received by a government which continues to underwrite loans used to promote unenvironmental development? Especially when this contravenes the same government's own promise not to, but lying's another matter.

But then, that's the Old Testament. It's not really Christian anyway. And Jesus isn't big on the whole commandment thing. The Sabbath was created to serve humans, not the other way round, and all that. Except, when telling a group of men who brought a woman to be stoned for adultery,
He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
(John 8:7, from the King James Version, the one Cameron was praising in his statement), I can't help thinking that it must count for a man who used to trash restaurants insisting that rioters receive disproportionately harsh sentences. And that one of Jesus' key commandments, to love our neighbours, as jarring horrendously with approaching the Eurozone in financial trouble as an opportunity to get things we want from them.

Ask 4,000 people what makes a Christian a Christian and you'll get 4,000 answers. Trying to do the same for something as abstract as a country is almost ridiculous, but if David Cameron thinks that the answer to the problems he perceives is to take your values and morals from the Bible, then maybe he should start taking these values to heart in the way he conducts policy.

Because from the way it is governed, this doesn't look like any kind of Christian country to me.

EDIT - I just found this. Wonderful.

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