The importance of the Christian presence in government: Should Tim Farron have stayed?
Andrew Hamilton-Thomas looks into the pressures that Christian political leaders may face, the importance of their presence in government and why not compromising is always the best approach.
It has been a hell of a few weeks here in the UK, from the recent general election, which saw a hung parliament, to the Grenfell Tower tragedy that we’re still very much in the early stages of reeling from- and as it would happen, they both involve politics.
The relationship between faith and politics is an interesting one as they both go hand in hand. In fact some would argue that faith and politics is effectively the same thing because both are used to manage people in society. Despite this, maintaining a Christian faith in a western government seems to be an ever-increasingly difficult thing to do despite most of the laws and legal systems of western societies being based on the Law of Moses.
In the midst of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Tim Farron MP, announced his resignation as the leader of the Liberal Democrats citing that it had become impossible for him to maintain his Christian faith as a politician. Before and during the Lib Dems election campaign, he had been repeatedly asked whether or not he believed that homosexuality is a sin (BBC, Telegraph).
And this is what gets me. Whenever a person in the public eye proclaims their Christian faith, they seem to get almost immediately asked as to whether or not they believe homosexuality is a sin. Why? Those who ask the question already know the answer because the bible’s teachings on homosexuality aren’t written in riddles but are plain for all to see. Otherwise there would have been no demand to publish a Queen James Bible, which omits all verses deemed offensive to homosexuals.
Consequently, after evading the question for two years, he finally conceded by saying he did not believe being gay sex is a sin, and proceeded to highlight the lobbying that the Liberal Democrats had done for gay rights under his leadership.
This is where Farron may have let himself down, which cryptically evidenced in the reasons he gave for his resignation. It was clearly obvious to both sides that he believed homosexuality is sinful; otherwise he wouldn’t have dodged the question when he was originally asked it two years ago. When Farron eventually denied that homosexuality is sinful when pressed, he effectively did what Pontius Pilate did to Christ when the latter gave him over to be crucified despite knowing He was innocent. I believe that Farron knew the Bible teaches homosexuality to be sinful, but similar to Pilate, and despite knowing the truth he chose to comprise his convictions for the sake of his political career.
This is why it is important to have ‘clear’ Christian voices in government because as Acts 8:26-40 and 13:6-12 of the same chapter tell us, there are high ranking politicians in government who are eager to hear the word of God. It still would have been ideal if Farron would have stayed because not only did the Lib Dems gains seats despite some in his party deeming his performance as lack-lustre, but more importantly, believers in his role are better positioned politically, and more likely to influence government policy in line with scripture.
Nevertheless, Farron made the right decision in resigning because he had started to compromise his faith for the sake of his political career, and this is why it is so important to pray for our leaders (1 Tim 2:2) whether they are in Christ or not. So that they make the right decisions as led by the Spirit of God in their personal lives as well as in office (1 Sam 30:8).
These things happening in a western society founded on Christianity shouldn’t surprise us, because Christ said that the spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:3) is already here, and anyone that declares they’re a Christian, is declaring war on Satan’s kingdom. This is evidenced in the false allegations made against Farron in an effort to oust him from the party (Independent).
The hypocrisy of the LGBT political approach is that everyone must be tolerant of their way of life, but if you’re a high office politician professing to be a Christian, you are not allowed to have an opinion in line with scripture, and must conform to their way of thinking. Otherwise, they will intend to make an example of you by ending your political career thus making you persona non grata. But as Acts 5:29 says, we ought to obey God rather than men, and as my Pastor preached last Sunday, “sometimes doing the will of God means bypassing other people’s opinions”.
Andrew Hamilton-Thomas is a social commentator, aspiring political journalist and co-presenter for a weekly Christian radio show - The Genesis Show