Opinion

LONDON, December 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Currently, religion is the latest media buzz in Britain since Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech on Friday commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the Bible. But while calling for a general return to what he called “traditional Christian moral values,” Cameron and his government has demonstrated that the political class, media and public at large would be hard pressed to define any of those words.

It is not news that religious belief is declining in Britain. Last week the annual National Public Attitudes Survey revealed that of the only 50 per cent of British who still claim to belong to any religion, 56 per cent said they never attend religious services and only 14 per cent attend weekly. 

In his speech, Cameron numbered himself in these statistics, calling himself a “committed, though vaguely practising, Christian” of the Church of England, who will “stand up for the values and principles” of Christianity, just as soon as he figures out what they are.

Image

He admitted to being “full of doubts and, like many, constantly grappling with the difficult questions when it comes to some of the big theological issues.”

Nevertheless, in his speech, the religious content of which worried Westminster so much it received almost no advance publicity, Cameron made brave noises about returning the country to its Christian moral foundations. He said that Britain has recently been “unwilling” to “distinguish right from wrong,” but warned, “moral neutrality is not going to cut it any more.”

“We are a Christian country,” he said, “And we should not be afraid to say so.”

Join a Facebook page to end abortion here

But John Smeaton, the director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, called the Prime Minister on his contradictions, commenting bluntly, “It is hypocritical for Mr. Cameron to promote traditional morality when his government is bank-rolling abortion, contraception and homosexuality at home and abroad.”

The annual Social Attitudes Survey report said, “The most religious were more likely than others to be anti-abortion, support traditional gender roles and to believe premarital sex is wrong. So, changes in religiosity are likely to accompany and contribute to changes in attitudes to a range of issues.” Moreover, the survey confirmed what many have already observed, that religious belief is a habit of the elderly, with 65 per cent of the 18–24 age group calling themselves non-religious.

It isn’t too much of a stretch to guess that the religious believers are also the most likely to be economically self-reliant, to refuse to participate in government “benefits” schemes, to be politically conservative, to enjoy traditional English pastimes and generally to be the ones clinging desperately to the country’s 1000 year old moral, spiritual, social, political and cultural heritage.

It is reasonable to assume that it is only this tiny, shrinking and aging minority that remembers what words like “traditional” and “Christian” and “morality” mean.

Cameron’s Bible speech was a repeat of a theme; he said much the same thing in response to this summer’s notorious English Riots. After this summer’s bizarre spectacle of thousands of cheerfully smiling young people looting and burning businesses and homes in four of the country’s largest cities, Cameron said the solution was a return to “traditional morality”.

Two weeks after he gave this speech in the House of Commons, Cameron’s coalition government announced it would be launching a “consultation” on implementing “gay marriage,” a pet project of the Conservative Party.

The Prime Minister, and the entire ruling class, seems to understand, vaguely, that something is deeply wrong, that Britain suffers from some disconnection with the past and with a foundational set of moral and social ideas. But the irony is that they themselves are the victims of this disconnected and morally impoverished, post-Christian culture. David Cameron, together with the people who inhabit his world, seem, literally, not to know what he is talking about.

Like most Britons raised on the statist ideas spread by the government-controlled broadcast media, David Cameron simply assumes that government is supposed to dictate and run every aspect of people’s lives for them. Recently, Cameron floated the bizarre scheme of “happiness courses” for Britain’s increasingly sad and anxious people. The idea was that happiness is a skill, like any other, that can be taught through structured exercises. 1.5 million pounds were spent asking people to fill out surveys telling the government how they felt about their daily activities. The last intrusion of the state into the personal lives of the people.

While greater numbers than ever before of British subjects – that Tony Blair officially changed to “citizens” – are receiving some kind of public “benefits,” the very concepts of economic self-reliance, and allegiance to family, Church, friends and the local community – instead of government – have nearly died out in Britain.

Meanwhile, the social institutions that used to form the underpinnings of British life, and cultural self-understanding are being systematically abolished, dismantled and eroded, ridiculed and ignored. The Monarchy, the Church, the local community, the neighbourhood, the family have lost most of their historic position in people’s daily lives, all replaced or radically re-defined. The state is now the sole remaining arbiter of national identity, culture and morals. Even of how to be “happy”.

In the old, pre-welfare state Britain, much of the culture was defined by its proud 1000 + years of a political philosophy of personal liberty. A man was free to be as miserable as he liked. Since the early Middle Ages, the British have been, and in large part still are, a deeply private people, attached to their families and their homes, their trades, their villages and towns, the local, the personal and the familiar. Innumerable writers have observed that what makes them happy is being left alone, free to run their own affairs.

Someone needs to tell David Cameron that it is government interference, an overweening, busybody and aggressively secular state, defining morality, tradition and even what it means to be “happy,” that is making Britain miserable, poor, and immoral.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.

0 Comments

    Loading...