Monday, May 28, 2007

Will Gordon Brown ‘do God’?

The Independent is probing into the Christian worldview of Prime Minister Brown, asserting that his Scottish Presbyterianism is far more faithful to scriptural priorities than the Anglo-Catholicism of Mr Blair, and that he will be a father to the orphans, and a helper to the widows. Mr Brown is the son of a Church of Scotland minister, and he recalls ‘a constant stream of people passing through our front door. As a child growing up in a minister's family, you get to see all the hardships that are going on around you at first hand. All of them had been hit hard.’ These memories seared into his conscience, Mr Brown’s Christian Socialism will return to its 19th-century focus on the poor, and the emancipation of oppressed people everywhere.

Throughout the Old Testament, the cause of the widow, the orphan, and the poor is particularly enjoined upon Israel as befitting a redeemed people who are entrusted with the character and standards of their Redeemer. The theme is carried into the New Testament, particularly in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus himself said: ‘I will not leave you as orphans’, and the Holy Spirit, has been given and has taken up his abode in the Christian that he might be an effective ambassador of Him who ‘hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation’.

It is this ministry to which Mr Brown intends to dedicate himself. He will reject the sexual and cultural obsessions of the ‘religious right’, and dedicate himself to ‘weightier matters of justice’. He has no truck with secularism, and believes that spirituality is profoundly relevant to social change – ‘religion should be a presence perpetually motivating people to pursue "justice" for the poor’. He will articulate ‘moral truth’, because he is ‘listening to the message of the biblical prophets when he brilliantly slashes Africa's debts, doubles aid, and increases tax credits for poor kids here at home’. His support for the Jubilee Campaign to cancel Third World debt was noteworthy, as is the observation that he has not voted on a single one of the 18 pro-gay measures brought by the current government. He also supports faith schools, and (unlike Mr Blair) has not been ashamed to talk of God or his Christian faith.

All of this looks sounds very promising indeed. Yet one must look beyond the superficial spin of The Independent, and listen to those who know the man well. The one Christian Socialist for whom Cranmer has irrepressible admiration is the Member for Birkenhead, Frank Field, who said: ‘Allowing Gordon Brown into No 10 would be like letting Mrs Rochester out of the attic. He has no empathy with people. Tony Blair walks and talks like a Prime Minister and Gordon Brown doesn't, that's all there is to it.’ And Lord Turnbull talked of his ‘Stalinist ruthlessness’ and his ‘cynical view of mankind’.

If he is really ‘listening to the biblical prophets’, Cranmer would like to know the scriptural foundations for beggaring the country with tax and spend, for recklessly selling the nation’s gold reserves, for sustaining evil dictators in Africa and elsewhere, for hiring a million pen-pushers in non-jobs, for stifling business with reams of red tape, or for increasing the tax burden on the poorest of society. For a man supposedly in touch with the prophets, Mr Brown has a track record of being wrong on so many levels that the prophetic voices from whom he is alleged to hear must be false.

And Cranmer happens to think that there are already too many false prophets in the world, and prays therefore that Prime Minister Brown will be in office just long enough for him to reveal his true nature, but short enough to restrain his pathological propensity to inflict further damage upon the governance of the United Kingdom.


Blogger Liberal Republican said...

excellent post.

I do feel that Brown will "do God" in his premiership. It could be a political move to take the traditional Christian support away from the Tories, but I feel that religion is going to pay a huge part in the next election.

Another reason for Brown to "keep the faith" is his foreign policy. He is extremely pro-Israel. More than Blair.

28 May 2007 at 11:10  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Christian Socialism is a contradiction in terms as the Archbishop of Canterbury has discovered when Scripture is sacrified to Socialism

28 May 2007 at 11:48  
Anonymous Athanasius said...

I'd rather wrong-headed politics built on a solid Christian foundation than wrong-headed politics built on a shaky liberal humanist foundation described as Christian. Given that we are to have no other choice, GB certainly feels like the better man.

28 May 2007 at 12:16  
Anonymous Alexandrian said...

"a shaky liberal humanist foundation described as Christian".

That sounds pretty much like the religion of most of the Church of Scotland, which Mr Brown happens to be a member of.

28 May 2007 at 13:43  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Cranmer has little to fear as Cameron will wipe the floor with Brown. I am reminded of the days of Kinnock and Thatcher, except that everything is 'New' now. There is no contest.

Poor Gordon Brown doesn't stand a chance. Not only do people want a change, but the wet blanket that he is, cannot possibly compete with Cameron's charisma. And for all the arguments Cranmer may wish to make about squandering tax, pen-pushers, African dictators and the like, frankly, the ordinary man will not be voting one way or the other because of this. As your man Frank Field said, Brown does not walk and talk like a PM, and therefore he will never be one, voted in by the people. New Labour is finished.

Make way for the New Conservatives. May they learn from their predecessor's mistakes.


Oh, and thank you Your Grace for the honour of being listed in your Top Referrers. I am chuffed!

28 May 2007 at 13:48  
Anonymous billy said...

Snuffleupagus said...
Cranmer has little to fear as Cameron will wipe the floor with Brown. I am reminded of the days of Kinnock and Thatcher, except that everything is 'New' now. There is no contest.
1:48 PM

I think that it is too early to say that.
People like me are going to take some convincing by Cameron that he is going to be of any value to those who work for a living, and able to help those who genuinely need it.
His Etonian predecessors were unable to do it.

28 May 2007 at 16:46  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Well I am glad Billy that you are going to give Cameron something to work for. Let's meet back here, when the time comes. And I'll be big enough to hold back from telling you 'I told you so'...

28 May 2007 at 18:10  
Blogger A S Grey said...

When contrasted to Brown, Cameron stands well on top.

However, do not forget: of course Cameron will seem pleasing. He will do and say whatever he believes the people want to hear, and has done well so far.

Yet I feel that we have finally seen Cameron's real views over the issue of grammar schools. It only needs more time before we see more of his real views that actually aren't as wonderful as they seem, and hence we shall realise that he isn't as wonderful as he seems, either.

(By the way, I speak as a Conservative).

28 May 2007 at 23:57  
Anonymous Observer said...

When contrasted to Brown, Cameron stands well on top.

I am not so sure. Brown knows office...Cameron has never held office like most of his acolytes.

As the waters get choppier we may see a "Safety First" campaign by Brown against the flaky and shallow Cameron and his school cronies.

I fear Brown could get a large majority if Cameron continues to antagonise his voter base and they sit on their hands as at Bromley

29 May 2007 at 06:57  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr A S Grey,

Welcome to His Grace's august blog of intelligent and erudite comment.

You appear to have a certain air of cynicism, which may well prove to be justified, and His Grace might even share. But in the interim, let us please understand that all party leaders are elected to power promising the earth, and all leave office never having delivered it. To search for 'wonder' in them will lead to certain disappointment, and only the Lord is Wonderful in any case.

29 May 2007 at 12:07  
Blogger Jomo said...

2 thoughts

Surly Christianity and socialism are incompatible.

Wasn't the young man asked to sell his goods and give the money to the poor. Brown's need to give other people's money to the poor does not seem to appear in the gospel.

29 May 2007 at 14:18  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Surely Christianity and socialism are incompatible. .

Why do you think Modern Socialism emerged from The Enlightenment as an alternative claim to Absolutism once Monarchy had been destroyed in France ?

Have you never considered that Socialism is updated Monarchical Absolutism......after all there is no need to protect "The People" from themselves....and so the power of men over other men gets a new justification.

All Politics is about Power and Lord Acton had his did John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.....human institutions are prone to corruption because Men are Sinners

29 May 2007 at 14:23  
Anonymous simon chapman said...

This is a very interesting post - covering one of the many important areas of the Brown persona that he has successfully kept under wraps thus far.

31 May 2007 at 16:41  
Anonymous Alfred of Wessex said...

Didn't stop him living in sin with Sarah Macauley in No 11 Downing Street.

My mother-in-law, the widow of a Welsh Baptist Minister, went so far as to say that No 11 would need to have demons cast out of every room of that property.

Mind you, in my opinion, it is No 10 that will need exorcising once Mr Blair and his New-Age rebirthing partner have left.

Nonetheless, the Lord did forgive David for his adultery with Bathsheba, although the child concieved as a result of that immoral union died as a divine punishment.

So there is hope for him yet.

1 June 2007 at 18:53  
Blogger A S Grey said...

Thank you, your Grace.

I agree very much, especially with the latter clause of your final sentence.

1 June 2007 at 23:53  

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