Thursday, 7 September 2017
Religion and politics don't mix
Photo: By Chris McAndrew
Growing up in the seventies I was told there were two things one shouldn't talk about in the pub. Religion & politics. Everyone did though from time to time. In fact it's human nature to discuss both spiritual and political matters whether under the influence or not.
Back in those days the Church of England was referred to as the "Tory Party at prayer" doubt whether that would cross anybody's minds these days given the attitude of the church to government policies. In fact outside of Northern Ireland and perhaps bits of Scotland religion has played a very small role in politics. Only the rise of Islamist terrorism has been the exception to the rule.
Yet today two politicians are in trouble because of religion. Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jeremy Corbyn.
In an interview with Piers Morgan young Rees-Mogg gave his somewhat forthright and unpopular views on abortion and gay marriage. He opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape which has caused a storm. Whilst I find his viewpoint abhorrent and personally will always fight for a womans right to choose, the furore does seem rather artificial.
The reason being that anyone interested in politics would already know that the Mogg has these views and holds them because of his very fundamentalist Catholic outlook. In fact he has the same views as the Pope.
Most Tory MP's do not agree with him either so it's a bit of a non-story over-all and when the summer is over will be forgotten until someone drags it up again. He's not alone in holding such views, but fortunately is very much in a minority.
Most of young Jacob's views are somewhat, what's the word? Reactionary. However he remains one of the few interesting politicians around even if it is for the wrong reasons.
Then there's Corbyn. Oh boy has he put his foot in it again. For some reason best known only to himself he took it upon himself to take part in Holy Communion something he apparently was not entitled to do. I'm surprised that comrade Corbyn was taking part in a religious festival at all or at least wasn't just respectfully sitting at the back.
According to the faithful he wasn't entitled to take communion and some Catholics have taken offence. Why he didn't take advice is anyone's guess but then it's just what we have all come to expect from old Steptoe.
All this happens at a time when a recent survey shows that those who are not religious are now in the majority in the UK. Good news for an atheist and secularist like me. However there's a long way to go and all these incidents just remind me of why the Church and the State must always be kept separate.