Our politicians are more devout than ever – so it’s time we started taking their faith seriously
by Nick Spencer, Telegraph:
We don’t do God. Everyone knows that. Even though Alistair Campbell’s oft-quoted aphorism was never intended to be some secular edict from on high – he was actually just closing down an interview with Tony Blair rather than making a statement of principle – it has become one. Plural, secular, Western politics is, or should be, a God-free zone.
It isn’t. Indeed, one of the most striking trends of the last generation or so is how many Christian politicians have risen to the top of the political tree. Take the UK: in the 35 years after the Second World War, the country only really had one personally devout Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan. In the next 35, it had three, or four, or even five: Thatcher, Blair, Theresa May, possibly Brown, maybe even Cameron.
Australian politics has been dominated by believing Prime Ministers for twenty years – Howard, Rudd, Abbott – and Germany has been led by a devout Protestant for the last ten. America, always a disconcertingly pious polity, noticed a step-change from the early 1980s with Reagan and his successors name-checking God considerably more frequently than their immediate predecessors. And even France, that bastion of secularism, saw quasi-Catholic Nicolas Sarkozy question the nation’s laïcité, and now risks electing the really-Catholic François Fillon (or did until his campaign imploded). Pious Presidents and PMs are everywhere.
Read also: Melanie McDonagh: If you want to save the CofE, then get stuck in (and go to church), Spectator
The C of E is a still, small voice of calm for all – Times (£), Michael Gove MP