Michael Gove sugar-coats Jesus and preaches fake good news
by Gavin Ashenden, Cranmer:
One of the first rules for mental health is not to believe in conspiracy theories. So perhaps there is no connection between the letter that the Times published suggesting that a belief in the Resurrection was a prerequisite for calling oneself Christian, and Michael Gove’s subsequent article defending Anglicanism against those who “mock it as insipid”.
But the article nonetheless was unworthy of a clever man, an honourable public servant and a kind Christian.
It contained some poor arguments and poor analysis.
Why does it matter in particular if Michael Gove got things wrong?
We live in dangerous times. Democracy itself is under serious stress. There are growing assaults on freedom of speech and freedom of thought. The benign Christian undergirding of democracy is in some trouble. The Church in much of the West is in free fall. The Church of England in particular, burdened by falling numbers, old age and lack of money, is unlikely to survive in the form we know it, even a further decade.
On the one side we have a new kind of cultural fascism imposing a banal but dangerous form of egalitarianism on society – a kind of upgraded ‘Marxism 2.0’ – or, as we have learnt to call it ‘cultural Marxism’. And on the other side we have Islam, moving inexorably through Europe moulding cultural and political expectations as it beds in.
Many orthodox Christians share my view that only Christianity had the values, integrity and potency to defend our freedoms of action and thought in the face of both these threats. But if it is to do so it has to do so in its most vibrant form. Insipid is not enough. A diluted homeopathic version won’t be, and never has been, sufficient.