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The political tyranny of cultural atheism

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Cultural apologist and church leader Dr Joe Boot decries the political game-playing that further threatens the protection of God’s gift of life.

While Rod Stewart faces a furore from anti-fur campaigners concerning his wardrobe, the Scottish National Party apparently wants to save more of the foxes that run through English towns and countryside, their ‘revenge votes’ recently forcing Prime Minister David Cameron to back down on loosening restrictions on fox hunting. And yet, at the same time, the palpable indifference regarding the value of human life in our culture is staggering and deeply disturbing. We hear much today about the importance of inculcating ‘British values’ in society, but for many disillusioned Britons looking on, the value that seems most often on display amongst the cultural elite is unprincipled self-interest, expressed in callous political posturing amidst lust for power.  

Fox hunting has been a traditional sport for many in rural England for generations, but the SNP now seem to want to make the proposed killing of people a matter of “political sport” – human life treated as little more than a football to be used to political advantage. Their threat of an “ambush” on the Government in the House of Commons in September regarding the assisted suicide bill, as part of what The Times has called “a war of attrition”, takes political power over principle to new heights. Power-hungry Nicola Sturgeon seems ready to use what is a matter of life and death to thousands of people in Britain as of no more consequence than a few dead foxes, if it serves the purposes of the SNP.

We already know that Labour MP Rob Marris, and other parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, believe that British values should include the social promotion of euthanizing the old and infirm and sponsoring the lawless, yet state-sanctioned murder of people who say they want to die. A culture of death has already been invading Britain like a virus. Thus, whilst human life in our land is becoming all too cheap, the hunt for “power for power’s sake” is disguised in the rhetoric of fairness, compassion and social justice. But who really believes this facile lie anymore? In a culture that thinks human life can be traded for more devolved power, British values are clearly not what they once were and, as such, are not worth defending.

In a social order that abandons God and His word, political leaders will increasingly become like the foxes they want to save – devious predators looking for an advantage. In Luke 13:31-32, Christ specifically likened one of the political leaders of his day to a fox, for King Herod was seeking Jesus’ life in the interest of preserving and consolidating his position of authority. When truth and right are sacrificed on the altar of power, life becomes dispensable and merely instrumental to other political ends. This deplorable state of affairs is the product of political atheism, where a culture seeks to ground social and political life in something other than God and His moral law (a faith and law which gave birth to Britain and its historic virtues). When this happens, people’s beliefs, ideas and habits of heart are radically altered, and they get the kind of leaders they deserve.

Rejecting the living God and thereby playing God themselves, societal leaders will relocate meaning, law and justice into the state itself, with sovereign power becoming an emergent property of the body politic. Once political leaders see themselves as free from the authority of a transcendent moral law, power is all that is left. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the English parliament was omnipotent and, citing Delolme, said, “It is a fundamental principle with the English lawyers, that parliament can do everything except making a woman a man, or a man a woman.” It is ironic that two hundred years later, Western powers are increasingly claiming that states can do even that!  In short, when transcendent law and power is rejected, it is transferred to the immanent realm – to the state – with political leaders freed to act with impunity in the interests of position and unbridled power – all in the name of the people. 

Whatever the merits of greater devolution for Scotland, all Christians and people of moral conscience in Britain, on both sides of Hadrian’s Wall, must speak, pray and work to ensure that this highland fox is not permitted to use the most vulnerable in our society as pawns in her cunning political hunt for greater power.

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