Thought for the week, 11th March; Religion and Politics

Tony Blair, now a practicing Roman Catholic, was always very coy about expressing his religious views whilst still in politics; possibly Kate Forbes, one of the contenders for the leadership of the Scottish National Party may be wishing she had taken his lead. She is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, a church which keeps strictly to what it considers as Biblical teaching on social issues. She made it known that she supported its line and promptly found herself pilloried by those who only a few hours before had supported her, even though she made it clear that these were personal views and she would not use her position to impose them on others. Interestingly, as I write this, she seems back in contention for the job of leader, with significant backing from ordinary party members. 

My theology, from the liberal wing of the Church of England, is not that of the Free Church; I disagree with some of the views of Ms Forbes. However, I do worry that some of the reaction against her is a symptom of a culture that treats faith as at best a private eccentricity, to be kept hidden and incompatible with modern society. It is beyond me how a politician who has religious faith cannot draw on that faith to shape their political views, be they right or left wing. I do hope that we have not reached the point where those who hold political office cannot talk openly about their religious views and how these influence their core beliefs. If that is the case, I fear the country will be the poorer and I worry about the policies that will result.