10 September 2009

Religion...you think it's a fair fight and then you realise...

..That there's a perfectly reasonable reason why most of our PMs have been religious (or rather, Christian)

You see, this article in the Tablet assesses the religious motivations of all our post-war leaders - they even do us unbelievers the service of not including Churchill, who was a sceptic but nominally a Christian (as pretty much everyone born before the 1980s is)

Nice of them you think, sparing us the debate over Churchill's religious beliefs (particularly when you get those annoying 'Hitler and Stalin were atheist' lines)

They are taking a line that historians may well gloss over religious motivation of the most recent leaders, as few have dared to embrace religion in public, and that would be a bad thing apparently - well fortunately their case falls pretty flat when they get on to Major, who admitted in his memoirs that the church he never belonged to 'appealed' to him - whoop de doo - I'll leave it up to the future historians to assess how worthy that musing is for tying into his various policy decisions

Nope, this is really a thinly-veiled attempt to highlight that religion still is very, very, (hurumph) important in British life and that our leaders have been supportive of morality despite the social trend towards secularism

If anything Major is indicative of most Brits - baptised for no reason but tradition and raised secular, a few thoughts about something he had little experience of hardly qualifies him as a religious mind

Blair of course is the shining light - we all know he was religious, and somehow I don't think anyone will be glossing over that aspect of him (so again you wonder, why the worry?), although you might argue that catholic-convert Blair is hardly normal and one man does not indicate a trend, and with Major cut out it's looking like a pretty weak case

But what-ho - all I really felt I needed to say was that all you need to do is look at when our youngest Prime Minister was born - 1953, to see that current social trends have sod all to do with a man who was an adult by 1971 - as always, politics is a good thirty years behind 'society'

Give it twenty to thirty years and we get someone my age, born in the 80s and educated in the 90s and then you might see the shift - I think you'll be unlikely to find someone who was brought up remotely religious - most baby-boomers abandoned the religion of their parents, subsequently the rest of us didn't even get any forced down our throats and don't even have that piece of the brain that is a little child being brainwashed, in our heads

Cameron is of course, an official, worshipping Anglican - for what it's worth...

..The Camerons just so happened to have been going to the church allied to the CofE primary school where their little daughter was enrolled last year, for a mere three years - make of that what you will, Peter Hennessey


  1. Blair had to be religious to keep up with Bush and his conversations with God, (who told him to go and bomb the shit out of Iraq), and then he had to become a Catholic, not only to keep his dragon of a wife happy, but also to be able to tell himself that he would be absolved of all his sins!

  2. something like this:

    Tony: I'm responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people in an illegal war - I feel so guilty

    Cherie: Join the church and god will forgive you if you say you're sorry

    Tony: Really? He'll forgive anything

    Cherie: If you're sorry

    Tony: Hmm... maybe I should give Gordon the country after all, He'll definitely forgive me, right?

    Cherie: ummm...of course, dear - now, how big is this yacht?