Religion and politics do not mix, they say. However, there was a time when Christianity—specifically, Anglicanism—was at the very heart of what it meant to be a Tory. It is arguably the case that multiculturalism, and our ongoing expropriation as a nation, could never have taken root in our country without the collapse of belief in religion, especially organised religion, which in the form of the Church of England is or was essentially the English nation at prayer. Even so, many members of our nation, cannot bring themselves to regret the passing of what they see as superstition and self-righteousness. I would like to explain to them why atheists, agnostics and Christians should support the restoration of our national faith and the traditions that surround it to their rightful position at the heart of English—and British—culture. Religion and politics must mix if there is to be a political defence of our culture.
I am afraid that the age of pre-critical belief has gone. It is appropriate therefore for me from the outset to tell the stark truth about our religion without any pretence of the real faith that our ancestors would once have exhibited. I feel curiously disloyal in saying so, but the Christian religion itself rests on a tissue of falsehoods. The Bible is not an inspired unerring book. I would be outraged if a clergyman said so from the pulpit, but, between you and me, Jesus was not the son of God, and certainly did not rise from the dead on the third day. I first realised this as a child when leafing through the very first chapter of the New Testament, Matthew 1, which claims that Jesus’ ancestry can be split into three sections of 14 generations apiece. But any child can ascertain that 40, not 42, generations are enumerated. Similarly, Matthew 2 quotes an Old Testament prophecy to the effect that Bethlehem is “not the least among the princes of Juda”, whereas the actual prophecy, in Micah 5, describes the town in diametrically opposite terms as “little among the thousands of Judah”. No one can claim today to have the uncritical belief of our ancestors, and yet to take part in theological disputes within the Church of England, one has to pose as a “believer”. One example is the false debate around homosexuality, where liberals have devised novel interpretations of Bible passages that contradict their political views. It would be more honest for them to state that they do not believe in the Christian religion than to try to read their modern political views into the ancient texts.
The 19th century elaboration of scientific theories disproving the creationist claims of the book of Genesis pulled the rug from under the feet of religious belief. A. N. Wilson’s book, God’s Funeral, gives a highly readable account of the 19th century debate around religion; I sympathise most with John Ruskin, who hoped that the sentiment of religion could be preserved without its real kernel of faith. The funny thing is that, long after Darwinian theories had become universal knowledge, religiosity remained a feature of English culture. Right up until 1960, the majority of English children went to Sunday school. The more recent abandonment of the Christian church reflects no great movement within society from the bottom up, rejecting our traditional culture. It is the ecclesiastical establishment itself that found itself cringing in embarrassment at traditional belief. Classical Anglicanism, rooted in the history of this country, lost its legitimacy in the eyes of our haughty bishops, who have cast round for sources of legitimacy less tied to our national history and culture. The King James Bible—our church’s greatest contribution to the English-speaking world—has had to go. Apparently, recently discovered manuscripts in the Sinai desert have shown a series of minor discrepancies with the Textus Receptus that the Authorised Version was based on: why this is relevant, when none of us believes in the inspiration of the Bible, escapes me. Our Book of Common Prayer has had to be updated, with church services moving towards the informality said to be common in the primitive church, the new source of “authenticity”.
Why does it matter if the church hierarchy wants to reform the worship and doctrine of the Church of England? Surely, if it is admitted that religion is based on false factual premises, it matters not a whit if things are updated? However, the Christian religion is a fundamental part of our culture. But just as Bagehot warned in the case of the monarchy, not to let daylight in on magic, so the health of our spiritual culture depends on our preserving the spell woven by the liturgy, the music, the architecture, the dress and the style of worship that was passed down to us by our ancestors. From the time of the Deists of the early 1700s doubts were expressed about the veracity of the Bible story, but, as John Ruskin showed above, our ecclesiastical heritage continued to be valued. Ordinary people were aware of the scientific arguments that surrounded the creation story, but continued nonetheless to draw comfort from their church, until the reformers destroyed the church that they knew. So fully has daylight been allowed in on the former magic of the church, that would-be worshippers are more likely to find in their church a female “priest” promoting homosexuality, justifying criminality and calling for more tolerance of Islamic extremism, than an opportunity for solemn worship that could call the nation to morality and repentance.
Religion contains a series of cultural images or motifs that have moved the nation down through the centuries and have moulded our cultural values. To this extent it is irrelevant whether the facts of the Bible are true or not. Pondering the message of the Bible, we have been made into Englishmen. The motifs of the Bible story form part of our culture: the Nativity, the Crucifixion, the parables, the attitude of Christ to children, to the poor, to sinners, all form part of our culture. These motifs do not only form part of our culture; they are the root of our culture. Muscular Christian virtues were inculcated in the British elite through the public education system by educationalists such as Thomas Arnold, and we were once able to boast of high public standards among civil servants and imperial administrators; this has all gone by-the-by in the post-Christian period that has now produced a highly politicised civil service and judiciary. However, even today, Englishmen, particularly in small town and countryside areas, are noted for kindly and considerate behaviour to neighbours and others. Our inherited values have stood us in good stead for many centuries, and to read the Gospels, to sing our wonderful hymns and to contemplate our ecclesiastical architecture can only be upbuilding. Finally, no appreciation of Western Civilisation over 2000 years is possible without an understanding of Christianity. Milton’s Paradise Lost becomes an odd work, only comprehensible as the creation of a 17th century poet mired in superstition, as the images he paints leave us cold today. We might enjoy listening to some of the settings of the Mass by classical composers, but without any connection to our past, the question will always be on our lips, “why did all these composers choose to compose music for this particular text?”
“Why take ye thought for raiment?”, Christ asked. But, you will never hear this in the Church of England today. “Why are you anxious about clothing?” is the dumbed-down version preferred by the T-shirt-wearing social workers who pose as members of the clergy. The hymns of Charles Wesley, expressing complex theological concepts to the accompaniment of a church organ, have been replaced by pop songs and the strumming of a guitar. As for the Cathedrals that are our heritage, we can view them only after payment of a tourist fee, impertinently demanded by the moneychangers that occupy the Temple today. Worse than all these enormities, is the current passion of the Anglican church leaders for the Islamicisation of Great Britain, a cause that seems likely to render superfluous the church itself. Our traditional interpretation of Christianity—it is irrelevant to me whether it conflicts with the Christianity of the primitive church or not—was a martial, warlike one, symbolised by St George, and best represented by Richard the Lionheart and his participation in the Crusades. Now it is constantly inferred that somehow the Crusades were ill-conceived, or even downright evil, whereas the Islamic conquest and conversion of the Middle East and North Africa by the sword are given Canterbury’s silent seal of approval. And yet the irony is that the very crusading zeal of multiculturalism and our attempts to remake countries overseas in our image reflect, however distorted, the martial interpretation of Christianity we inherited from our forbears.
The enthusiastic adoption of heretical causes by the Church of England has robbed English men and women of the sanctuary they have the right to expect of their local church. Whatever happened to this nation, the Church should always be there, providing comfort to the people of this nation—“feed my lambs”, as Christ said to St Peter. If we were conquered by an invading force, all would not be lost, as we would be right to expect our Church to be there, providing consolation. If our nation were stricken by a famine, as in days of old, it would be the duty of the Church to declare days of penitence and beseech God for his mercy, and to organise relief through the parishes. No calamity could be too severe to nullify the role of the Church in our society, ministering to the powerful and the powerless alike.
Yet, we have lived to see the Church withdraw its support from our nation. Multiculturalism and mass immigration are now championed by the Church, which cares not a jot about the impact of these developments on its own flock. Those who are victims of growing lawlessness cannot look to the Church for love and support; the Church leaders are too busy condemning any attempt to bring ethnic criminals to book to give a damn about the victims. The sacred words, the sacred hymns, are now gone, bread replaced by a stone. And yet in every mosque, every Hindu temple, up and down the land, the ethnic minorities can attend their services, safe in the knowledge that their own religious leaders will not try to palm off on them politically inspired innovations in place of their religious traditions. No Muslim imam will preach homosexuality and abortion in the mosque; no mosque will attempt to update the traditional Arabic prayers; no Hindu temple will fail to support the Indian community, through thick and thin. These newcomers are cocooned in communities whose leaders value their cultures and traditions. The contrast provided by our Church, which has turned its back on our people, could not be greater.
In these circumstances, I do not believe the Church of England can reform itself from within. The physical and financial resources of our Church are being abused by people who have wormed their way into an organisation whose traditional values they have never espoused. The reformation of the Church, therefore, must become a political issue. The General Synod must be closed down; the heretical bishops, the openly immoral priests and the female “priests” must be defrocked; the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, together with an authorised collection of solemn and patriotic hymns, must be reimposed on the church. The loss of so many heretical clergymen would leave many a parish without a minister, but any male member of the congregation can lead a service of Choral Matins, a traditional service that has regrettably faded away in the modern Church. The pretence of a religious faith to oppose these changes should be greeted with contempt. We may not believe in the literal truth of the Bible, but English patriots do believe in the holiness of the culture that Christianity created in this country; we need to restore that and start providing succour to our people in every parish once again.