Religion & Beliefs

Reminder Number 6,734,217 That Religion And Politics Don’t Mix

Last week in England David Cameron, the leader of the Tory party, made a comment about how he wants his daughter to go to a Church of England school. This is normal, because CoE schools are generally better than their … Read More

By / February 28, 2007
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Last week in England David Cameron, the leader of the Tory party, made a comment about how he wants his daughter to go to a Church of England school. This is normal, because CoE schools are generally better than their unaffiliated state counterparts. But to get into the schools you apparently have to convince someone that you’re sincere about your Church of England convictions, and when Cameron’s aides asserted that their boss goes to Church because he wants to and not purely to get his child into a good school, he got skewered by the Times, because actually believing is apparently way worse than pretending to believe so your kid can go to a good school. The anti-religious tirade that the Times unleashes, written by Michael Portillo, seems to be less concerned with Cameron’s religiosity than with Tony Blair’s, and frets, “I worry because men of power who take instruction from unseen forces are essentially fanatics.” Actually, you’re wrong, douchebag. But thanks for playing. Does one’s conscience count as an unseen force? How about data gathered secretly? I mean, I’m not Tony’s biggest fan these days, but I don’t think Tony’s problem is that, as Portillo puts it, “he takes on holiday 12th-century theological texts for poolside reading.” I think Tony’s problem is that he trusted Bush too much, and I think Bush’s problem is that he’s a douchebag and he has no idea how to do his job. Sure, his religious inclinations offend me, but not half as much as his really fucking poor leadership skills. It’s hard for me to imagine that Portillo would be so concerned about the instructions of “unseen forces” if said forces generally agreed with him. And when he reminds Cameron, that, “Under the brief reign of Bloody Mary 300 Protestants, including bishops, were burnt at the stake for refusing to accept Catholicism,” it’s clear that he’s lost the point completely. Since when does Cameron’s willingness to attend church make him as bloodthirsty as Mary Tudor? It’s Portillo who comes off as the fanatic. I’ll be the first person to say I want to keep religious fanaticism out of 10 Downing Street, but much as Blair can irritate me, I can’t legitimately call him a fanatic. For one thing, I don’t think he’s taking instruction from God or the Bible, I think he’s interested in it. He maybe blaming his poor choices on religion convictions now, but I don’t believe they were what motivated him to begin with. He doesn’t strike me as that pure-hearted. But I’m straying from my point, which was that it’s unconscionable for Portillo to say that Cameron’s church-going makes him untrustworthy. As I pointed out already in my post about Abraham Lincoln, dude was a big time believer, but he also thought the Bible was wrong about slavery and made it his business to change the way a whole country understood labor. It is possible to be moral and religious.