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LibDems find conscience in Westminster

A few times over the past couple of weeks I have mentioned the Westminster Declaration of Christian Conscience. Based on a similar manifesto first created in the United States (the Manhattan Declaration), the declaration seeks to offer an ecumenical statement of orthodox Christian belief, re-affirming particularly those issues that often bring orthodox Christians (and Muslims, and Jews, and Hindus, and Sikhs, and many of no faith at all) into conflict with the metro-liberalism of the contemporary political and cultural ‘progressives’.

Of course, it would be facile to argue that anyone who refused to sign the pledge must therefore be a non-Christian, and there is always something a little crude in that which seeks to distil faith in the Redeemer into the affirmation of a few moral laws that happen to be under attack in contemporary society. Even so, the document is interesting enough, particularly in its robust and unflinching assessment of certain contemporary flashpoints. To offer a few examples (with my emphasis added in bold),

As UK citizens we affirm our Christian commitment both to exercise social responsibility in working for the common good and also to be subject to all governing authorities and obey them except when they require us to act unjustly.

Well, that’s quite some statement, not least because it suggests that there can be divergence between the law and that which is morally just – a direct challenge not only to the legitimacy of the law, but also to the authority of those who create and implement it.

We pledge to support marriage – the lifelong covenantal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife. We believe it is divinely ordained, the only context for sexual intercourse, and the most important unit for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all. We call on government to honour, promote and protect marriage and we refuse to submit to any edict forcing us to equate any other form of sexual partnership with marriage.

An obvious conflict then with the Education Bill that Ed Balls tried to get through the House, a Bill which David Cameron supports, as he has affimed numerous times, and an inititiatve which the LibDems are enthusiastic about.

We will not be intimidated by any cultural or political power into silence or acquiescence and we will reject measures that seek to over-rule our Christian consciences or to restrict our freedoms to express Christian beliefs, or to worship and obey God.

Well, that’s a call to a ruckus if ever there was one.

Even so, where’s the problem, one might ask, if a bunch of loons get together and assert some stone-age morality amongst one another? It’s not as if they’ll ever make a difference after all, as they won’t get anywhere near power, and they’re an extreme and reactionary minority anyway (this statement, along with liberal and carefree use of the word ‘bigot’, is a favourite defensive thrust of the social liberal).

Well, that’s where it gets intriguing. Because the most interesting part of this website is the extent to which it has become politically engaged, providing information as to which candidates do or do not support the Declaration, and giving contact details of said candidates with the encouragement (and a draft letter) that people contact their local MP and ask them to support the Declaration. One can then search the database, and see where one’s local MP (or constituency PPCs) stand in relation to the Declaration. And it’s on having a quick head count of those who had come out and actually signed the Declaration that some interesting numbers emerge. As a quick tally, I had the numbers as;

Conservative – 58

Liberal Democrats – 62

Labour – 17

Others (inc. UKIP, SNP etc.) – 60

And it’s that LibDem tally I found most surprising – that the party which preens itself as the apotheosis of secular humanism, of metropolitan ‘progressivism’, the party of Doctor Death and Nick ‘I’m an atheist’ Clegg; that such a party should have so many PPCs willing to pop their head above the parapet and sign a Declaration that, it would seem, is not only at odds with the direction and orthodoxies of their party, but which commits them to disobey certain of its key policies – well, it’s hardly what one might expect. Of course, the political landscape being largely homogenous in its social liberalism, this apparent commitment to defy the party line is essentially true of all those who choose to sign the Declaration – even so, one might be forgiven for having expected that the LibDem total would be closer the Labour tally than outstripping the Conservative one.

Obviously this is not in any sense rigorous scientific analysis, and the numbers are fairly small beer really, and besides the candidates could all be no hopers for all I know, saying whatever they think expedient. Even so, it’s an interesting find; it gives the smallest hint that perhaps Cameron isn’t the only one whose slavish devotion to the diktats of the ‘progressive’ liberati is at odds with a fairly significant chunk of the rank-and-file of his own party.

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