As ever, learned lawyer-cum-blogger Frank Cranmer offers stimulating opinion on the General Election and Christians in Law and Religion UK and in Archbishop Cranmer. NB: see correction from Frank in comments below.
For your enlightenment, here are opening/closing remarks to three of his latest blogs, to which I’ve added a few emphases.
Images are courtesy of his blog. Please click them for links to the full articles.:
1. A British Bill of Rights is wholly contingent upon Britain leaving the EU
Noteworthy how the Human Rights Act is now coming into focus in view of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta (see previous post). His Grace Cranmer opens:
‘(Yesterday’s) Queen’s Speech is the first to be delivered on behalf of a majority Conservative government since 1996, when John Major was Prime Minister and ‘Europe’ was tearing his party asunder…..
[Closes:] ‘A British ‘Bill of Rights’ is supposed to embrace British values. These would include the foundational principle of the Common Law, which is antithetical to the EU Napoleonic model of law, Corpus Juris. It has been found by experience that Common Law is the bulwark against state tyranny and the best guarantor of our liberties.
‘So, as the Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor summon their commission of consultation, could they ensure that it includes those voices which may define what British values are or ought to be included in a British ‘Bill of Rights’? And, having done that, might they explain how this new British ‘Bill of Rights’ might justify Anglican Establishment in an age of moral relativism and religious equality? And, having done that, could they please clarify how the Bill might be consistent with the Prime Minister’s stated preference for remaining a full and participating member of the political institutions of the European Union?’
2. The Christian Deception about Conservatives and Human Rights
Reference to foundational Magna Carta and its subsequent importance in English history is implicit. Cranmer opens:
‘There is a lie permeating the Christian social-media detachment that the Conservative quest to repeal New Labour’s Human Rights Act amounts to an assault upon fundamental human rights; that somehow Tories are inherently opposed to limitations on the state and to the basic protections and assurances of justice and liberty which have been set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights – the ‘Human Rights Charter’ – which the UK helped to draft in the aftermath of World War II. No doubt the Church of England (or, rather, certain anti-Conservative bishops and clergy) will be vocal in their opposition to repeal, insisting (erroneously, not to say misleadingly) that the Government’s intention to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a British ‘Bill of Rights’ constitutes an immoral political degradation, if not a grave social evil.
‘Michael Gove is the new Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. The role is not quite as it was when Sir Thomas More kept the Great Seal with “like place, pre-eminence, jurisdiction, execution of laws, and all other customs, commodities, and advantages”. But like More, Gove is a lay churchman of great intellect and integrity with a profound understanding of theology, ecclesiology, social philosophy and jurisprudence…
[Closes:] ‘And those Christians who spread the lie that to oppose Labour’s Human Rights Act is to oppose the very notion of human rights need to consider the temporal repercussions of perpetuating grave injustice, as well as the eternal consequences of spreading such disinformation. Michael Gove may not be a man for all seasons, but he is the Queen’s good servant, if not God’s first.’
3. Tim Farron ‘clarifies’ his Christian convictions in pursuit of LibDem leadership
Cranmer opens (emphases added):
‘There is no doubt that Christian representation in Parliament came out well in this General Election. A handful of prominent Christians including Simon Hughes, Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy lost their seats, but this was more than compensated for by an influx of new Christians across the political spectrum. Ed Miliband failed to become this country’s first atheist Prime Minister and David Cameron is back in power with a Cabinet full of Christian ministers.
‘Now that we are moving into the traditional phase of post-election leadership contests, there is a very real chance that for both Labour and the LibDems their new leaders could well end up being Christians, too….
[Closes:] ‘The LibDems have traditionally had a sizeable Christian presence in Parliament, but also have a strong and vocal LGBT and pro-abortion contingent. Any leader of a party needs to hold the views of its members in tension, but Farron’s desire to reach the top would appear to be leading him to pander to certain groups. In his essay, he writes: “To be a Christian is to submit to ultimate truth, fairness and goodness – some of which will jar with our current state of socialisation.” Sometimes that means sticking up for certain values even if it makes you unpopular and draws criticism. For a Christian, submission to God should always come before submission to man.
‘There is a belief among many Christians that party politics and faith can never really mix. To have a party leader with a sound grasp of the gospel and who is fully committed to his or her faith – to the point of demonstrating it in the voting choices they make – would go a long way to disproving this view. Tim Farron has that chance and he carries the hopes of many Christians and non-Christians both within and outside of the Liberal Democrats. This could be an opportunity for him to forge ahead with a leadership built on personal integrity and strong moral conviction. He has many fine qualities that will serve him well should he win, but, as it stands – certainly on recent evidence – the indication is that when it comes to political ambition and Christian conviction, there is only one winner.’
It’s said that, when in power in the previous coalition, the LibDems pushed for same-sex marriage. So their loss of almost all MPs is poignant.
I trust this will enable us to gain a handle on what’s happening, especially in regard to the continuing need to pray for our leaders as Apostle Paul urged in 1Timothy 2:1-2.