Can an orthodox Christian ever again become the leader of a British political Party?
The question, I suppose, was first raised by the resignation of Tim Farron as leader of the Liberal Democrats. But the issue has come to the fore again with recent statements by Jacob Rees-Mogg about his opposition to abortion and same sex marriage.
Rees-Mogg is thought of by many as a rising star of the Conservative party. He is educated, eloquent and witty. His views, even when unpopular, are rational, well presented and forceful. The Speaker has described him as’ incorrigible’. He has effortlessly bested David Dimbleby and Andrew Neil in television debate. His scornful condemnation of George Osborne’s proposed ’emergency’ Brexit budget was worthy of Pitt the Younger or of Benjamin Israeli.
What is wrong with him, then? It is, quite simply, his religion.
He is an orthodox Catholic who seeks to behave accordingly. He ‘does religion’, not in the Cameron mode (‘like Magic FM in the Chilterns, it comes and goes’); but faithfully and with conviction.
Political correctness has, I think, rendered it impossible that such a man could be Prime Minister or a senior minister – or indeed (though he would never want it) even Archbishop of Canterbury