wo letters in The Daily Telegraph responded to points the Editor made about lessons Tories must learn from the Presidential election (Comment, Nov 6). Bush won because he appealed to voters who care about traditional family values.
Edward Leigh MP, said that Bush was the candidate who clearly supported Christian values. Here, people once voted Conservative because they supported family values, but these voters are being lost because of libertarian Tory policies, the belief that election success depends on embracing political correctness. Such ultra-liberal values are a million miles away from the everyday beliefs of ordinary people. Bush was relentlessly criticised for his stand on moral issues that became a political masterstroke. He kept his nerve, ignored the liberal media élite and listened to ordinary people.
Charles Moore suggested, that life is "quite tough" for people who try to behave properly: because they have ordinary, maybe old-fashioned, ideas of morality and try to live by them. Professor and Mrs Mackintosh’s letter claimed that people are tired of being labelled homophobic, xenophobic, intolerant, misogynists and middle-class because they believe in family values, marriage between a man and a woman, the rights of the unborn, civility in schools, and freedom of speech. A government needs to appeal to what could be a silent majority in this country, who are interested in the quality of life for their families, morality and stability, rather than in ‘political correctness, money or foreign policy’.
In 376 Basil describes how the Arians within the Church were persecuting them. ‘This is the thirteenth year since the heretical war arose against us, during which more afflictions have come on the Churches than are remembered since Christ’s Gospel was preached … the people have left their houses of prayer and assemble in the desert … To this they submit because they will have no part in the Arian leaven (Ep. 342) … only one offence is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers’ traditions. For this cause the pious are driven from their countries and transported into the deserts. The iniquitous have no reverence ... for a Gospel life (Ep. 243)’.
Behind Anglicanism’s obsession with political correctness, lurks an insidious Arianism, as the survey ‘Believe it or not!’ demonstrated and the poverty of theological education encourages. Anglican libertarians want to cut God down to our size, accommodate Him to their political correctness and imprison Him in the solitary confinement of the present. Arius stalks the Church again and with the same effects. Some ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ have ignored the Act of Synod, labelling those in the parishes opposed to the feminizing of Holy Order as intolerant and misogynist and in matters of human sexuality as homophobic. But such congregations are interested in the quality of church life and orthodoxy of belief, not political correctness, and will have no part in the heterodox leaven. Their unforgivable is sin ‘observing our father’s traditions’. Labelling people dehumanizes them, distancing them and making it easier to remove them. Even Oxford’s Regius Professor Marilyn finds her only defence against the opponents of political correctness is a descent to ‘tabloid theology’, the labelling of her opponents as misogynist. People in parishes without a priest, wishing to continue in an ‘accurate observance of their father’s traditions’, have been threatened with suspension and with the dishonest assertion that it will be more difficult to find a priest with such orthodoxy.
The lesson of the Tower of Babel where confusion results from sin and the lives of people and communities collapse and end in confusion, has not been learned. Godlessness brings God’s judgement when people become self-sufficient and receive the gifts of God as if they had created them, without thankfulness to the divine Creator and convinced they can improve them. It destroys dependence on God, ignoring any idea of the Grace of God. These are the seeds of confusion and collapse. This over-reaching to heaven brings fatal consequences when proud people imagine they can, of themselves, construct the perfect life and surpass all previous attempts.
This cult of the new that leads to a solitary confinement of everyone and everything in the present is at the heart of the new theology, encouraging us to make a ‘quick fix’ with the culture rather than converting it. It ignores God’s involvement in the past and his purposes for the future and results from an accommodation to the contemporary world’s diminished awareness of eternity and the significance of time, over-identifying with the spirit of the age rather than with the Holy Spirit of God. It brings innovation rather than renovation in failing to see history as the accumulated experience of past generations confronted by similar situations to ours. Like Babel our Anglican Communion is broken and fragmented because we are not united in the Spirit of God.
Arthur Middleton is a tutor at St Chad’s College, a writer and a retreat conductor