James O'Brien's Pin-Sharp Point On Religion In Politics
28 November 2016, 10:56
Theresa May said her religious belief will guide her through Brexit. James O'Brien asks: would be reported the same if Sadiq Khan said Allah was guiding him in making decisions?
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Ms May revealed her faith in God makes her convinced she is “doing the right thing” as Prime Minister.
But James said that chills him to the bone - and people would see that very differently if you replace with word God with the word Allah.
Speaking on his LBC show, James said: "You may have seen at the weekend the Prime Minister talking about her religious faith being an influence upon her Brexit negotiations.
"That chills me to the core when politicians come out and cite some form of divine legitimacy for their political decisions. It's like George W. Bush saying that God told him to invade Iraq.
"If you understand where I'm coming from on this but you don't like anything that feels like criticism of Christianity, two things for you. I went to church yesterday so don't worry about that.
"But secondly, what if Sadiq Khan came out and said "I've decided to hire a night tsar because Allah told me to" or "I've been having some some deep meaningful conversations with my God and as a result of that my policies on this, this, this and this are going to be X, Y and Z".
"By all means use religion as a personal motivation, but not a political motivation.
"That's what I mean by consistency. If you wanted to give me a slap for suggesting that Theresa May probably shouldn't bring God into conversations about Brexit, then you also have to be in favour of and cheerleading if someone of a different faith - and I'll pick a Muslim Mayor off the top of my head - said that he uses his faith in order to make his political decisions.
"You can't like one and not like the other. Religion either has a role in public life or it doesn't."