So, it transpires that David Cameron has been going on about how much he loves Christianity (or what he thinks of as Christianity) and saying ill-thought-out, embarrassing things. From what I can gather online he’s claiming that Jesus invented the Big Society and David Cameron is, er, trying to follow in his footsteps.
It doesn’t take a lot to dismantle the first claim. Care for the widow, the stranger, the orphan, the poor runs through the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus wasn’t big on social justice because of being Christian: he was big on social justice because he was a good Jew, knew his scripture, and was dismayed and frustrated by the rank hypocrisy of the religious elite of his day.
As for trying to follow in the footsteps of Christ: they lead to the pain and humiliation of death the Cross. Cameron allegedly mentioned the persecution of Christians, and presumably he is aware of the crucifixion. Jesus gave up everything so that we might know the love of God. So it isn’t surprising that people are excoriating the Prime Minister for his words: based on the evidence we see, Cameron seems more interested in power and riches for himself and his friends than in caring for people as beloved children of God.
But I can’t bring myself to call him unChristian. No matter how mistaken he is in his attempted to follow Christ, it is an attempt to follow Christ, and I don’t have a better measure of what makes someone Christian. And the gift of God’s salvation through Christ is for all who recognise Jesus as Lord, not just for people who do so in a way that I agree with. I can’t disown him, no matter how much I would like to. I can and will say that I think he is mistaken, gravely wrong, doing huge amounts of serious damage. I believe people are dying because of his errors and those of his party. But he remains my brother in Christ.
I can pray for him. I hope he would extend the same courtesy to me.