I've got annoyed with the Times again, especially with their commentator Matthew Parris, who clearly hates God and has it in for Christians. Every time he writes on this subject he tries to put across to the public that faith equals foaming at the mouth fanaticism. Well, the Christians I know just aren't like that. Most of them seem fairly sane and committed to loving their neighbours, not blowing them up!
Tony Blair's recent speech on the role of faith in political life gave Mr Parris a field day for his prejudices, so I wrote in to the Editor. Of course I know they won't bother with my letter, so I'm posting it up here instead...
... not that I agree with Tony Blair about lots of things. Iraq for example. The problem here isn't that Tony Blair was too Christian but rather that he wasn't Christian enough. Love your neighbour, for example, means war must be a last resort, not a first resort, and as for the lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction...
But in spite of Mr Blair's example, Christianity has had a superb track record in changing the lot of mankind for the better. But now I'm going over my letter in advance. Why not just read it.
Sir, I don't recognise the Christianity so disgracefully caricatured by Matthew Parris in his comments on Saturday 5 April. Jesus commanded his followers to love their neighbours, to show compassion, to offer practical help, to forgive, to avoid judging others. If this is fanaticism, the world needs a lot more of it.
We don't always live up to our Master's teachings, but it is because we have too little Christianity, not too much. As Jonathan Swift wrote, we have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love, one another.
Christians have such a lot to offer in the public arena, as the lives of Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, William Wilberforce, William Gladstone, the Earl of Shaftesbury, General Booth, the founders of Oxfam, The Samaritans and many other agencies that improve the lives of countless people all demonstrate. Frankly, I don't think secularism has nearly such a good track record, probably because atheists don't have the same values and motivation. If Mr Parris, who clearly has his own fanaticism, ever got his wish to see Christianity stamped out of public life, it would be a very very sad blow against the wellbeing of the human race.