Theresa May has left herself wide open to criticisms of hypocrisy after this year’s (2017) Easter message. The Prime Minister said ‘Easter is a moment to reflect’. TEXT HERE
In that case let us just reflect how her actions and those of Her Majesty’s Government measure up to what she said. We can go further and measure the actions of Her Majesty’s Government against the principles of the Christian faith itself.
Firstly, let’s just applaud a Prime Minister who talks openly about faith, and her own faith. The days when Alastair Campbell said of Tony Blair’s administration ‘We don’t do God’ seem to be over.
Of course, I’ll sit up and notice when the first British politician says ‘our thoughts and prayers’ are with the victims of a disaster, rather than just ‘our thoughts.’ Nevertheless, the mere issuing of an Easter message declares the UK to be a Christian nation. Which indeed constitutionally we are.
Opportunities and challenges of Brexit
I recognise there are areas in which Theresa May’s Christian faith as expressed in the Easter message appears to be lived out in action. The enthusiasm with which she is leading the United Kingdom out of the European Union’s Revived Roman Empire is commendable. We must pray she sees it through. And she is being positive about it. That is fine. Mrs May also wants to keep the United Kingdom together. There is nothing wrong in that.
In case I am thought to be nationalist and ‘right-wing’, let’s just emphasise workers’ rights. The Bible is clear that workers need fair dealing from employers. Parliament will need to untangle Britiah law from EU regulatons. In so doing ministers must ensure employment rights in an independent Britain are not eroded.
The vulnerable in the heart of God
The Christian faith is clear about the place the most vulnerable have in the heart of God. Christ singled out the poor, the homeless, the destitute, the sick and the hungry. He emphasised the duty of Christian people to nourish and protect them. Should that be individuals, or the state stepping in?
At a practical level, the targets culture of the 1980s built on the expansion of the role of local authorities in the 1960s to the point where people now are paid to care, so anyone calling for more money from the state in response to any deficiencies in provision for Christ’s identified groups can make out a good argument.
The insttution of the family used to be a bulwark against too much power ending up in the hands of the state, but gay ‘rights’ and gay ‘marriage’, coupled with no-fault divorce on demand and a bit of laissez-faire condom-promoting sex education have put paid to that.
There are none more vulnerable today than the unborn. The womb is the most dangerous place to be in Great Britain today. Mrs May only voted for the age limit on abortion to come down to twenty weeks last time around. The House of Commons diagreed. It stayed at 24 weeks. But we now know from modern imaging that a baby’s heart is beating three weeks after conception. Neuroscience shows babies can feel pain certainly at 16 weeks and react to a stimulus as 8 weeks. So elective abortion is living on borrowed time.
But to be fair, Mrs May did not raise the matter of the vulnerable, or the importance of the family in her Easter message. She stuck to Easter-time, Brexit, shared values, the importance of Christian witness, sacrifice, the role of Christianity, religious tolerance, freedom of speech and the persecuted church.
So what of my three identified areas of hypocrisy.
Easter message: Freedom of Speech
Firstly, to Mrs May’s confidence ‘about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country’. That was coupled in her Easter message with a stated determination to ‘treasure the strong tradition that we have in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech’. Furthermore, Mrs May pledged to ‘continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ’.
Only last week, Sarah Kuteh was in front of an Employment Tribunal in Ashford, Kent. Sarah has been a nurse for 15 years. Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust sacked her last August (2016) for ‘gross misconduct’. What was her terrible offence? She discussed her faith with patients.
Now those in the National Secular Society would contend that sick people should be insulated from faith. That is precisely how NHS Trusts are acting. That is their clear policy.
‘Comfort and guidance’
But in her Easter message Mrs May implied this was not happening. She gave the clear impression she disagreed with such a policy. She spoke of Christians ‘providing comfort and guidance to many in our country at some of the most difficult moments in their lives’.
So why has she not already told her Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to issue a directive to NHS Trusts to encourage Christian doctors and nurses to actively share their faith with patients and provide that ‘comfort and guidance’? Why, on her watch, are NHS managers sacking Christian staff?
For that matter, Christian open-air preachers are being hauled before the courts. Why has Amber Rudd, her Home Secretary, not sent a directive to police forces and public prosecutors to tell them to lay off Christian preachers and allow them to ‘speak about their faith’?
Someone who says one thing and does another is a hypocrite.
Embrace the World!
Secondly, the Prime Minister spoke in her Easter message of Christian values ‘of compassion, community, citizenship’. We are going to ‘embrace the world’. She might remember the Bible saying something about guiding our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:79). Or perhaps castigating those whose ways are ‘destruction and misery’, those with no fear of God who do not know ‘the way of peace’ (Rom 3:16-18 cf Isa 59:7-8).
Yet our famously Christian PM re-appointed as Secretary of State for Defence a man lacking both the fear of God and the way of peace. In particular, Sir Michael Fallon insults, rather than embraces, that part of the world known as the Russian Federation.
His latest display of petulance was to send out a destroyer to shadow a couple of corvettes, named Soobrazitelny and Boiky, as they steamed through the English Channel from their Baltic port en route to the Mediterranean.
Fallon said: ‘HMS Sutherland is carefully marking these Russian ships as they pass close to UK waters. The Royal Navy maintains a vigilant watch and is always ready to keep Britain safe.’
No doubt it does and it is. But what was he suggesting? That Soobrazitelny was preparing to shell Dover, or Boiky to land an invasion force of marines on Bognor beach? Does he think we are all stupid?
Department for Provocation
A Christian administration would not pretend there are threats where none exist. Its ministers would not think the Ministry of Defence is really the Department for Provocation. They would not be talking up threats from another Christian nation to sell armaments. They would not make bellicose noises every time the ships of that nation pass through the busiest shipping lane in the world (which happens to be near our shores). There was no indication the French or Belgians burned diesel oil putting to sea. The Channel is international water.
In February, Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Defence described the Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov as a ‘ship of shame skulking through the Channel’. It was simply on its way home after helping the Syrian army liberate Aleppo. The defeat of the UK’s favoured and financed jihadists had irritated UK politicians. But why not be magnaminous? Why expose a petulant display of aggression and military impotence which diminished Her Majesty? It drew unwelcome attention to the fact that the UK does not even have an operational aircraft carrier.
To invoke the message of Easter while beating the drum of war is rank hypocrisy.
Thirdly, mention of Aleppo draws our attention to yet another hypocritcal section of Mrs May’s Easter message.
The Prime Minister said: ‘And we must do more to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to practice their beliefs openly and in peace and safety.’
But the UK continues to support, politically and financially, Syrian Sunni Muslim jihadists whose reason for being is to murder or expel ‘people of all religions’ – except their own.
Speaking of alleged Christian freedom in the UK, Mrs May went on: ‘We must be mindful of Christians and religious minorities around the world who do not enjoy these same freedoms, but who practise their religion in secret and often in fear’.
So why not support Assad?
We should expect ‘being mindful’ to include some measure of support. So why in Syria does the UK not do everything it can to bolster the administraton of President Assad? After all, he has a track record of protecting ‘Christians and religious minorities’?
Instead, she is carrying on the policy of her predecessor of destabilising Syria. That nation had done nothing to us, yet we cheered with the Devil, who loves to destroy, as it was reduced to rubble. If Theresa May really believes ‘we must do more’ to stand up for Christians worldwide, she should order a complete turn-around on Syria, on the Foreign Office’s attitude to Russia, and on aggression against Christians worldwide.
Because right now, when Her Majesty’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, tells the Russians they are on the ‘wrong side of history’ by their alliance with Shia Iran and Syria, he himself is precisely wrong. It is the British Government’s support of Sunni Muslim jihadism and our alliance with Saudi Wahhabism which is on the wrong side.
Practising Christianity in fear
Going further, Mrs May should be speaking to the Government of Malaysia, to that of Egypt and to the rulers of Saudi Arabia demanding freedom for Christians. In fact, she has only just come back from Saudi Arabia. Did she demand freedom for those ‘who practise their religion in secret and often in fear’? There are many secret Christians in Saudi Arabia, some in high places. Where is any evidence of Mrs May ‘doing more’ for them?
Come to that, when was Pakistan’s High Commissioner last summoned to a talking-to from the Foreign Secretary over his country’s failure to protect Christians from spurious blasphemy charges?
Mrs May is playing mere lip-service to persecuted Christians. She is doing nothing to help them. Homosexuals are more welcome in the UK than refugee Christians. Tragically, for her, trade deals and selling arms are more important. That is yet more hypocrisy.
Three major areas raised by Mrs May in her Easter message from her Christian faith. Three glaring examples of hypocrisy. How Her Majesty’s Government needs our prayer.