Political discourse took an interesting swerve over Easter. The Conservatives put out a meme poster on Good Friday that caught my attention.
Previously, there have been British political parties that have tried to co-opt Christianity for their cause. This is one such example:
This poster campaign was some time ago now. The BNP has disappeared, outflanked by UKIP, the Brexit Party and the Conservative Party, which seems to have moved to the right with each passing election.
If overtly aligning with religion is a known tactic of the far right, then what does it say about a government when it starts aligning with religion?
In a way, this intersection of politics and religion feels almost inevitable after the power demonstrated in harnessing the white evangelical vote by the Republican Party in America. (75% of white evangelicals voted for Trump last year; the theological label is practically synonomous with Republicanism now.) The recent Conservative electoral success has been driven by following the right wing American playbook and the government are doubling down on it. So it's only natural that they would eventually come and try to claim religion.
But not to be outdone, Labour leader Keir Starmer decided to do a publicity piece for Easter by visiting a church.
As can be imagined, this visit did not play well with Keir's support base. Here's an example.
It's surprising that Keir didn't know there could be controversy attached to this visit. Both Theresa May and Boris Johnson were criticised for visiting Jesus House, for exactly the same reason.I'd put Keir's mis-step down to religious illiteracy. I get the sense that some politicians see "religion" as some kind of old fashioned benign relict of days past, acting as a stable force for good in society. But not all religion is like that.