Diwali, dechristianisation, and the nation

Dec 3, 2022 by

by Joe Boot, Christian Concern:

It has been a chaotic and unsettling year in the United Kingdom socially and politically. Several Chancellors and Prime Ministers have slunk in quick succession along the iconic Downing Street pavement in the wake of the COVID lockdown debacle and its ensuing self-inflicted economic crisis, the magic money tree losing its leaves and inflation running riot. The end result – following a circular firing squad in the Tory Party crushing a genuinely conservative policy platform against the will of the members for possibly a generation – was the emergence of the first Hindu Prime Minister in British history, the smart, welfare-state orthodox and well-spoken Mr. Sunak.

Within a month of this historic development, the Office of National Statistics published some of its latest census results, showing that for the first time in our history, less than half of the population of the UK identifies as Christian.[1] Two standout changes in these figures were the rapid growth in those identifying as no-religion (which does not mean they have no worldview), and those identifying as pagan. Additionally, the ongoing growth of the Muslim population in Britain’s three largest cities is not unexpected, and has its own implications for societal and political life.

Despite the new Prime Minister publicly celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali at 10 Downing Street at the end of October, Christian leaders (including evangelicals) have been quick to point out that there is ‘nothing to see here.’ Those same leaders will no doubt say much the same about the latest ONS census results and some will applaud the dechristianization of British culture as though it were somehow better for the nation that nominal or ‘cultural Christian identification’ were disappearing. Better a celebration of heathen demon-gods at Downing Street than enduring a professing Christian Prime Minister whose personality we don’t like or whose economic policy seems too radical for corporate orthodoxy in the city of London.

Mr. Sunak himself is no doubt a capable, likeable, and pleasant man with a reputation for greater moral integrity than his previous boss, Boris Johnson. His essentially ‘orthodox’ social democratic thinking positions him as a centrist in the mainstream of contemporary British politics, and his surprising support for Brexit at the voting booth demonstrates he has a genuine concern for British national sovereignty, for which I applaud him. Sunak is certainly no political danger to the current establishment and will doubtless serve with dignity and diligence for his tenure. I for one am delighted British Indians have been emerging as leaders on the conservative side of British politics. Their contribution at a senior level is both welcome and overdue, and more often than not comes with more conservative instincts than the average white Briton in our major cities today – the Barrister Suella Braverman’s rapid rise to Home Secretary being a good illustration.

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