Dave ‘David’ Cameron is absolutely right. There’s nothing wrong with gay marriage. Who wants a dull union of a morose man and a grumpy woman? Marriage, to be successful, should be full of laughter, every day a joyous… Excuse me? This isn’t what he meant? Oh well, never mind, how silly of me.
I only mentioned Cameron’s utterly subversive stand on homosexual marriage because he has seen fit to make pronouncements on the Authorised Version and Christianity, a religion he admits he practises only ‘vaguely’. In case you don’t speak political, allow me to translate: it means not at all. In general, it’s not speeches but policies that offer a reliable clue to a politician’s beliefs or, as in Dave’s case, the absence thereof.
But one can sympathise with his predicament. The few but bolshie real Tories remaining in his party, and some even on his front bench, would dearly love to see his head on a platter (figuratively, for the time being). Those dinosaurs need to be mollified, but not at the risk of offending our partners, in the coalition (who are known for their hypersensitivity) or in Europe (Sarko doesn’t count) or, for that matter, any group of voters. Sitting on the fence isn’t an option: do it for too long and, apart from courting a possible rectal problem, you’ll have people saying you stand for nothing. No, it’s better to come out fighting, with either foot firmly planted on opposite sides.
Toss a bone to the bolshie Tories by saying marriage is the core unit of society, then another bone, with a bit more meat on it, to those like Dave’s estranged brother Nick, who’d like to see the concept of marriage broadened beyond any old Mum-and-Dad. Abortion? It’s best to stay off the subject altogether, except hinting obliquely that a woman has a right to choose in all sorts of areas, preferably unspecified. Then on to the Archdruid of Canterbury, to tell him to get his finger out of his cassock and appoint female bishops ASAP, thereby going Jesus one better.
And then deliver the big speech on Christian values. Again, one has to charter a safe course through a veritable mine field. You put your right foot in by saying a few things with which anyone would agree regardless of his religion, things like ‘responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love…’, but then you put your left foot out by hinting that you regard Christianity as but one of the world’s ‘four biggest religions’. Equality, right? ‘I am not in any way saying that to have another faith — or no faith — is somehow wrong.’ Yes, that’ll do. But in case the point didn’t come across, those ‘different faith communities… do so much to make our country stronger’. Especially if they vote the right way and refrain from blowing up public transportation, but Dave wouldn’t put things so crudely.
The mine field safely negotiated, let’s emphasise the main point about religion: it should be ‘at the heart of modern social action’. Let those who know something about Christianity, especially those who practise it more than ‘vaguely’, scream ignorant twaddle all they wish. Let them quote the one about Caesar and God till they’re blue in the face. Let them point out that ‘modern social action’ has been systematically destroying Christianity and, specifically, driving the King James Bible out of all but a handful of churches. There aren’t enough of them to make a dent at voting time. They’re just fanatics who aren’t with it. Being with it, unless you’re Richard Dawkins, means acknowledging grudgingly that Christianity has some social value, even if it’s an obsolete superstition. Now put on a finishing touch about ’emancipation of women’ (Get it, Archbishop? Emancipation all the way to bishops’ palaces, is the point), and Nick’s your brother, Rowan’s your friend.
Aren’t our politicians clever? Would you be able to put together a speech with so many intersecting messages, explicit and implicit? I know I wouldn’t.