Now Theresa May is doing ‘the God thing’, just as Tony Blair used to: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-reveals-how-her-faith-in-god-makes-her-certain-she-is-doing-the-right-thing-a7442616.html. I don’t need to comment on the seeming hypocrisy of this, in view of her shared responsibility for the policy of ‘Austerity’, contributing to the deaths of nearly 600 ‘rough sleepers’ on the streets of London this past year; and her obsessive and draconian attitude towards immigrants and refugees both as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister – the ‘hostile environment’, ‘queue-jumping’, and all that. (‘Sorry Mary and Joseph; no room in the stable, either.’) Her dragging of Christianity into the picture in order to back up her Brexit policy does no favours to that religion, and is more likely, I would have thought, to turn people against it. It’s clear that May has little conception of the central message of the Christian Gospels – love, charity, poverty, ‘turn the other cheek’, and so on – despite having had a vicar as a father.
Incidentally, I’d love to know more about the Reverend Hubert Brasier and his teaching; but it’s difficult to find out much about him via Google. (There are conspiracy theories surrounding this: see https://bernardjporter.com/2018/08/21/sauce-for-the-gander/.) Not that the possible shortcomings of the father ought to be held against the daughter; but it would be interesting to know of the ethical environment in which she was brought up.
The main point about harnessing an ethical creed to a political policy, however, is that it can rarely tell us how right that policy may be. All it can do – hypocrisy aside – is to indicate a person’s motive in espousing it: whether he or she did it for reasons that were honourable to him or her. That’s a different thing entirely. Many of the greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by people who believed they were acting out of the best and most ‘genuine’ of motives. (This applies especially to my own field, of British imperial history.) What a faith in God can’t do is to give people judgment– make them certain they are ‘doing the right thing’, as Theresa May insists; and good judgment is far more important in politics than morality. That’s why we should always distrust our leaders when they claim they are doing things for good religious reasons; not only because they might not be (the hypocrites), but also because that’s scarcely relevant, and might actually be harmful, if it leads religious people astray. Look what happened to Blair.