08/12/2016 03:04 GMT | Updated 07/12/2017 05:12 GMT

Theresa May's Christianity - Another Way Of Dividing The Country


Theresa May and her government seem to have a knack of dividing the country, rather than leading it - most notably on Brexit - but now the Prime Minister is having a go at dividing us on religious grounds.

Mrs May has said her belief in a Christian god means she has faith in her gut instincts. The Prime Minister has also sought to encourage Christians to speak up about their religious beliefs in the work place.

Some are seeing the latter as a licence for Christians to proselytise - to convert others to Christianity.

Implicit in this is message is the belief that the Church of England and Christianity are, and have always been, the one and only religion for this Country and that it defines who we are and we cannot manage to be good without it.

There are also elements of picking a fight over whether we can still recognise and promote Christmas in modern Britain - ironic since Christmas seems to begin in late October these days.

So, all in all, the Prime Minister has put her religion front and centre.

But is the Church of England relevant and worthy of what seems to be a assumed monopoly on moral leadership in this country in the 21st Century?

I am no expert but there is no doubt that the UK has a long history of Christianity - a religion (by definition) imported from the Middle East sometime between the 1st and 5th Centuries AD.

Protestant Christianity appears to have been more firmly established by the needs of the misogynist King, Henry VIII so that he could marry who he liked in defiance of Rome.

People in this country certainly seemed to have been 'more religious' in the past - not too surprising I suppose when your beliefs (or lack of them) could get you killed.

The Prime Minister is the political leader of a very diverse country - where less than one million citizens regularly attend Church of England services - that's around one in sixty people. Many more are cultural Christians no doubt - whilst others have different beliefs or non at all.

The other fifty nine citizens might be left wondering why she needs to promote the Church of England and Christianity when the state church already has Bishops in the House of Lords as of right and able to influence the laws we make - the only religion able to do this.

Of course Christians, and those of other religions, do an awful lot of good things for other people - but so do some of those without any religious beliefs.

I do wonder wether religious folks do good works in the hope that they will benefit from it later on - in a some sort of after-life?

The Church of England in itself is not necessarily that good. This is an organisation that has failed to act on child abuse by its own people in the past and their social policies and attitudes are sometimes regressive and illiberal.

For instance the Church of England's official position on homosexuality is that it is something people need forgiving for practicing. The C of E policy is that 'genital homosexual acts' - fall short of an ideal and are to be met with 'calls to repentance'.

A rather patronising - if not cruel - attitude to gay people who just want to get on with their lives and contribute just like everyone else. Who are Bishops to judge other citizens in this way?

Fortunately the Church is not in sole charge of the Country - otherwise we might have a far more repressive society.

Of course none of this is surprising since the Church's ethos is based on the Bible - a book written by ordinary men centuries ago whose societies were far less tolerant of diversity and difference.

The more brutal and unforgiving messages from the Old Testament include, for instance, Leviticus 20 where 'the Lord' is quoted as encouraging the death penalty for those that 'curse their parents' or for a man who has sexual relations with another man.

Of course modern Christians tend to disown this half the Bible because of the brutality of it is increasingly hard to explain away - or they claim it is merely a metaphor for something or other.

Theresa May - may not actually intend to divide the country - alternatively it could be a cynical ploy to gain votes and further her political objectives.

But divide she does. She seems blind to the concerns of nearly half the country who voted remain in the EU referendum and now seems very keen to promote one religion over all others.

Whatever it is - it is not leadership of a country - because promoting one religion over all others has a long history of dividing people not bringing them together.