domingo, 3 de junho de 2007

Johann Hari: «The tricky question of Gordon Brown's God»

«And now, congregation, let us turn to the tricky question of Gordon Brown's God.
But we cannot grasp what drives our soon-to-be Prime Minister without talking about his religion. Even more so than Tony Blair, Christianity is at the centre of his world-view. In a largely irreligious country, this is an anomaly - and a big deal. So what kind of God does Brown believe in, and how will this shape his Britain?
The best hint can be found in Brown's little-noticed endorsement in 2005 of a book called God's Politics: Why the American Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get it by the theologian Jim Wallis. The author damns the right for focusing "on sexual and cultural issues while ignoring the weightier matters of justice." So the book is an attack on Falwellian poison - but also on what it calls "secular fundamentalism." Secularists, Wallis writes, "mistakenly dismiss spirituality as irrelevant to social change." Wallis believes religion should be a presence perpetually motivating people to pursue "justice" for the poor.
Brown is, he claims, "listening to the message of the Biblical prophets" when he brilliantly slashes Africa's debts, doubles aid, and increases tax credits for poor kids here at home. (He is presumably defying it when he permits the super-rich to continue jaunting about all-but-untaxed). Wallis's favourite Biblical tradition is the Jubilee Year, where periodically the debts of the poor were cancelled, slaves were set free, and land was redistributed more fairly.
There is another political bog that Brown's faith may suck him into: the expansion of faith schools. The Government is now promoting the division of Britain's kids into religious and ethnic educational enclaves, where they will not mix. This is a recipe for racial division and hatred, but Brown's bias towards faith as a positive force will almost certainly stop him secularising our schools.
So Gordon Brown's God is cantankerous and ambiguous. At His best, He likes to help the poor and hates hereditary privilege. At His worst, He likes dividing His flock into schools where He will be worshiped fulsomely in His many different guises. This God is alternately encouraging and disturbing - but we cannot understand our next Prime Minister without Him.»
(Johann Hari; ler na íntegra.)

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