An open Christmas card to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
How I despise your supposed moral superiority
I hope this card finds you well.
Who in their right mind would be a secularist? The terrible mood swings: up down, up down like a whore’s drawers. Just when we’re making progress and I think I can rely on you, you pull a trick like this. Why I oughtta.
Dave. Let’s be frank. You have no time for religion yourself and you know what a deadly force/farce it is. Even Rev. Blair and the ham-fisted, iron-fisted Rev. Broon, that pesky son-of-a-manse, managed to keep their trap shut about this while they were in Number 10. Why can’t you do the same?
You had a fine education and that’s nothing to be ashamed about. Have you ever read the Bible, though? What about the nasty bits? They’re the best bits! It’s a great book if you want to read about murder, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, infanticide and genocide, but not so great if you want to calibrate a moral compass. You’re better off making moral decisions on the flip of a coin.
You say we are a Christian country. That’s only because you arbitrarily choose to go that far back. Why stop there? Why not call us a smallpox country, or a witch-burning country, or a caveman country, or a dinosaur country, or a bacteria country? Or a Labour country?
When I was a few days old some geezer who dressed up as Rasputin (for a job!) dunked me in water while others sang songs, lit candles and wafted incense around. The purpose of this ritual was to protect me from a devil that didn’t and still doesn’t exist. So much for being able to rely on God for protection.
It was a sweet gesture but it was also a complete waste of the priest’s time and mine. At the end of that exercise he generously pronounced me a Christian but now that I am allowed to make my own decisions I no longer classify myself as such. To quote Tyler Durden from Fight Club, “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.”
I consider myself lucky – no, enormously privileged – to live in a country where I can choose a religion or no religion. What does it actually mean to say we are a Christian country?
I work hard, I pay a bucketload of taxes, I remove wisteria from my garden myself (and unlike you, I don’t expect the taxpayer to pick up the bill), I change my baby’s nappies (the one the other day was really bad: the shit had gone all up his back), and I also do charity and volunteer work. (Don’t you dare say, ‘Big Society’, by the way, grrrr.)
Following on from the comments of (the Christian) Lord Justice Laws, should I be concerned that our constitution might be on its way to a theocracy that will leave me – as something less than a full citizen – out in the cold? I’m worried, Dave. Perhaps I should start praying and be humble enough to ask God to change His divine Plan to guarantee my protection?
Your thinking is muddled, because no sooner have you said we are a Christian country than you are acknowledging it’s not wrong to have another faith or no faith. (Thank you, by the way; very gracious of you.) So why even say we are a Christian country?
What happened to all that blue-sky thinking outside of the box? You have shown you possess balls with your positions on the rules of succession, and I’m sure you would have taken some flak for that. I know you have a tightrope to walk, keeping hard-line Tories, clergymen and other misfits happy whilst also making sense. You threw your party a massive hunk of meat in Brussels recently and now you’re getting carried away, doing God. You’re reverting to type, dear boy. Rather than do God I’d prefer you did drugs, like you used to: it’s much less harmful for everyone.
Plus, I bet Cleggy is really angry with you. Again. But that’s like hearing your doormat is angry with you: it doesn’t actually matter.
I have absolutely no problem with celebrating the rich literature of the Bible and its place in history. But to suggest it has an elevated moral status, even that it just provides a “helpful prod in the right direction”? Come on, Dave! You even acknowledge that faith is neither a “necessary nor sufficient condition for morality”. In fact, it’s often plainly immoral. Here’s a fun website for you, Sam and the kids to look at over Christmas.
When was the last time you opened your Bible before making a moral decision, Dave? When you and Sam are fretting over a key moral decision do you ever say to her, “One moment, darling, I’m sure I have read something in Leviticus about this.” ? As Evan Harris and the NSS’s Gerard Philips have remarked, the way to make a moral decision without religion is to use one’s brain.
Did I tell you about the time I used a page from a Gideon’s Bible as a makeshift Rizla to smoke a spliff? It was the perfect size. I swear it got me higher than usual. I don’t have any evidence for that but that’s quite fitting in the context of a discussion about scripture. What’s your moral position on cannabis, Dave? If God made it, it can’t be that bad, can it? Sorry to put you on the spot like this. If you want, I’ll wait a moment so that you can consult your Bible.
Don’t bottle it now, Dave. Deep down you know that religion – or at least the infusion of religion into law and politics – makes for a deadly cocktail, both in terms of lives and political careers. Religions are old enough, aggressive enough, bloodthirsty enough and power-hungry enough to stand on their own feet. They don’t need to be propped up by the state (though they love to be). They mustn’t be propped up by the state. Think of it as a principle of the free market.
Sadly, though, as you rolled over last week to have your wrinkle-free Bullingdon belly lovingly caressed by the bishops, it became painfully transparent to me – and others who can breathe and talk at the same time – that some governments need to be propped up by religion.
Have a nice Christmas, Dave. Love to the family. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions (wisteria, cannabis, secularism, whatever).
P.S. I’m also sending this via the online Number 10 system.