A writer for Christian Today
has a column
in the Independent
attempting to dissociate Conservative values from Christian ones, which are held to include compassion for the poor, a welcoming attitude to strangers and peace at any price. The article concentrates on the words of Jesus, which in practice have been assiduously ignored since the days of the Tarsus Inquisitor. They have been ignored for the very good reason that outside the culture of first-century Palestine they appear mostly irrelevant and frequently demented; but an attempt to depict Christianity's various squabbling sects as compassionate, hospitable and peaceful would evidently have been an act of chutzpah
To take the points in order: Jesus was not compassionate towards the poor. He thought poverty a blessed state, and viewed the people afflicted by it as a sort of convenient cess-pit where his followers could dump their evil worldly goods in preparation for the expected arrival of the Yahweh dictatorship. When he saw a poor widow giving away her last coins in the synagogue, Jesus reacted with approval that the poor should make themselves poorer at the behest of the privileged - priests in this case, but the doctrine is quite flexible enough to be modified for the convenience of bankers and other modern paragons. Jesus' final pronouncement on the subject, at the Last Supper, was that the poor would always be wth us and were in any case less important than himself.
Jesus was not nice about foreigners. The parable of the good Samaritan is a calculated insult to Pharisees and Levites, not a paean to the wonders of multiculturalism. It is the equivalent of telling some purple-faced squire in the Farage Falange that his own most cherished values are best embodied in the French. Jesus drew a very clear distinction between the faithful (viz
. the minority of Jews who joined his cult) and the heathen, whose alien praying practices were always good for a snigger. When asked for help by a non-Jewish woman, he responded with a bad joke about throwing good food to the dogs, relenting only when she flattered him by implying that when it came to miraculous powers he had plenty and to spare.
Jesus was not a peacemaker; his famous pronouncement in the Beatitudes was pure rhetorical hypocrisy, like the Conservatives claiming to be a workers' party. Off-Mount, Jesus claimed not to bring peace but a sword, and that he had come to set even family members against one another, and on that point I would not venture to gainsay him. Jesus, like his flood-sending Father, did not want peace but obedience. He constantly gloated about the fate of those who would not, or could not, hear his message: a fate which he gladly proclaimed would equal that of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bullingdon Club's continual kicking of likely non-Conservative voters looks rather civilised by comparison.
In short, there seems little for the Saviour to disapprove of in Bullingdon Britain; and of course, in the Regency paradise that is the Conservative Party's spiritual homeland, the Church was even more pampered and petted than it is now. And what is the present deplorable situation in Cumbria, if not the result of taking no thought for the morrow?