When President Trump and Prime Minister May meet in the New Year, the forgotten Faith of the English-speaking democracies deserves to be on the agenda.
Neither of them should forget that Christian hymns were sung at the birth of the Special Relationship when Roosevelt and Churchill met on board ship in the Atlantic in August 1941.
One of them, Onward Christian Soldiers, chosen personally by Churchill for the famous Sunday service on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales, became popular during his late Victorian boyhood. It celebrates the spiritual victory that God Incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ, has achieved over the Satanic forces of evil through his sin-bearing death on the Cross:
‘Onward, Christians soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ the royal Master leads against the foe…At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory.’
This reflects the Apostle Paul’s description in the New Testament of God’s cosmic triumph through Christ’s atoning death: ‘And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it’ (Colossians 2v15 – AV).
But neither Churchill nor Roosevelt could possibly have predicted how 75 years later the Christian democracies they helped save would be treating the servants of the Royal Master; how since the 1960s, in the US, Britain, and Canada, and to some extent in Australia and New Zealand, the politically correct establishment has increasingly been playing Ugly Sister to Christianity’s Cinderella; and how the right of Christians to uphold their beliefs in civic life, particularly in the workplace, has been under growing threat from the social Marxists who have gained power in these societies – until the democratic revolt of 2016.
In the UK, New Labour equality legislation has just been used in the Ashers Bakery ‘gay cake’ court case as a mandate to coerce Christian business people into propagating slogans against their beliefs.
In the US, Christian bakers have been successfully sued for large sums for refusing to produce cakes for same-sex weddings. In Kentucky, the so-called American Civil Liberties Union is suing Christian marriage registrar Kim Davis in a bid to recover the costs of their legal action against her, which last year saw her jailed for five days for refusing to issue licences in her name to same-sex couples.
Ably assisted by his evangelical Christian Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, Mr Trump should champion the right of business owners to refuse orders in support of same-sex ‘marriage’, a practice that is contrary not just to Christianity but to other major world religions as well.
Why should any business person in a free society be compelled on pain of loss to their livelihood to support a cause or practice against their conscience? Surely such moral discrimination is an entirely different thing from refusing to serve a customer because of his or her individual physical or cultural characteristics?
Here, the Equality Act 2010 would be straightforward to amend, giving business owners the right to opt out of orders supporting causes and practices they dissent from on religious or political grounds (the Church of England as a recipient of marriage fee income is allowed to opt out of same-sex weddings) and the right not to disseminate religious or political ideas against their consciences. Would not such an amendment give Mrs May an opportunity to put clear blue water between her worldview and that of Harriet Harman?
Finally, should not Mr Trump and Mrs May remind one another what civic life can be like for women in countries where Christianity is driven underground?