While religion plays a huge part in many people's lives, they recognise that it's not appropriate to bring it up in certain aspects of life. It's a particularly tricky topic of conversation in today's climate as people are offended easily and it is the single greatest cause of war on our planet. One area it is completely counter-productive in is politics.
A prime example of this reared its ugly head last week in the shape of supposed leader-in-waiting of the Conservative party, and therefore possible Prime Minister, Jacob Rees-Mogg. My only real knowledge of Mr Rees-Mogg prior to this was his private school drawl and the dry acerbic wit he displays on BBC current affairs lol-fest Have I Got News For You.
He displayed something altogether more disturbing when he sat on the couch on Good Morning Britain however, declaring that he is against abortion in any circumstance and also opposed gay marriage. Like a lot of people, this took me aback and while I am in no doubt that it was the show's intention to generate publicity, his views remained the same and he has since doubled down on them.
For me however, this was something far more sinister. Jacob has been praised (correctly) in some circles for being honest enough to talk about what he knows are unpopular views as this is a free country and he is allowed to have such opinions. My problem is that they are based on religious teachings which are simply not relevant in today's society.
I am a deeply non-religious person, which is unsurprising given that the church I was brought up a part of has always said that homosexuality is a sin and therefore I, in turn, am a sinner. Altogether a confusing notion when we're told that God loves us all equally. The Christian far right bang on that 'God hates fags' etc. etc., using religion as the weapon with which to arm themselves. When a certain God is 'sanctioning' violence, hate and murder, which camp do you want to be in?
By saying that he vehemently disagrees with gay marriage and abortion, he's putting himself in the latter camp. While I'm sure he abhors hate crimes of any kind, is he not aiding and abetting them by agreeing with the very doctrine that drives them? Doctors are murdered in US for performing abortions, in the same way gay people are murdered for expressing their sexuality in public.
I find it unfathomable that someone who holds views, that directly work against the laws of the land he is governing, is allowed to be in such a position. Yes, he said that he wouldn't change the laws but Trump said a great many things before he took office on which he then reneged.
In the case of Trump, what use is there swearing on the bible when you take office and declaring that it was God that helped you get/placed you there when you don't even uphold the fundamental values of the religion you purport to uphold and in fact use them to persecute?
Neither of Rees-Mogg's 'deeply held' beliefs affect him personally, he's not gay and he's not a woman and yet it's ok to shame and totally disagree with their most personal of choices. The choice to marry or to make the extremely difficult decision to abort a child. How would Mr Rees Mogg's beliefs hold up if one of his six children turned out to be gay and wanted to marry their partner? Or the unthinkable happens and he insists one of his children bear the child of their rapist?
Theresa May is certainly hanging onto the PM job by a thread and is the daughter of a vicar but is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. Even if she wasn't before she is now because she has the ability to learn and speak to people who can change her mind. I'm no big fan of hers, but with Jacob Rees-Mogg in charge we would have a Prime Minister who fundamentally disagrees with the choices of so many of the people he governs due to his faith.
Religion should be kept as far away from politics as possible, you cannot hope to stand up for people when you are simultaneously putting a whole section of those people down, even if it's just by way of personal disapproval.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has turned back the clock and is completely unsuitable to remain an MP, let alone lead a modern country such as ours. By all means, have the religious freedom to believe what you wish, but when your views contradict the very laws of the land and undermine its people, you have no place in public office.