Liberal Democrat Tim Farron has warned that Great Britain is descending into “groupthink, pack mentality and depressing conformity” that makes it next to impossible for Christians to succeed in politics.
In a take-no-prisoners lecture Tuesday evening for the Theos think tank, Farron—who quit his post as party leader in July, saying it was impossible to be an evangelical Christian and head of the party—said that the modern Zeitgeist sees committed Christianity as “dangerous,” “offensive” and a “threat to Liberalism.”
“If you actively hold a faith that is more than an expression of cultural identity, a faith that forms the centre of your world view, you are deemed to be far worse than eccentric,” Farron declared. “You are dangerous. You are offensive.”
Farron eventually resigned from his position after he was hounded about his faith during the 2017 general election campaign, especially regarding whether he thought homosexual sex was sinful. He managed to dodge the issue several times by noting that his personal opinion didn’t affect his public role while reminding people that his voting record generally favored LGBT interests.
In the end, Farron was branded a “bigot” by the media for his biblical sexual morality and his refusal to endorse gay sex.
The pressure eventually got to him at which point he resigned. In his resignation statement, Farron declared: “To be a political leader and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible to me.”
“I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in,” Farron said. “In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.”
In his lecture Tuesday, Farron quoted John Stuart Mill as saying that the greatest threat to liberalism is “tyranny of opinion,” which roughly equates to today’s oppressive political correctness that seeks to impose a homogeneous way of thinking and speaking.
“Today social media fuels groupthink, pack mentality and depressing conformity – not to mention a disgraceful lack of civility and decency,” Farron lamented. “The tyrants of opinion have their secret police behind millions of keyboards.”
The particular breed of modern groupthink, Farron contended, is especially hostile to Christianity, which challenges its core beliefs and assumptions. Genuine Christianity, he said, “has always has been countercultural. It will always go against the norms of the day,” which makes it unbearable for the guardians of secular orthodoxy. Christians will have to battle against “inevitable disdain.”
“Christians have more reason than most to be alarmed. Christians also have a history which gives us a clue as to where this may be going,” Farron warned.
While modern secular culture considers the absence of faith to be the “neutral position,” he said, holding a faith is considered tolerably eccentric as long as it is merely cultural.
“But if your faith actually affects your world view in any way that puts it at odds with the mainstream, then your faith is considered to be malign and intolerable,” he said.
Speaking of his own history, Farron said that he was basically forced out of politics by the thought police who insisted on focusing on his personal religious beliefs rather than his political positions.
“I realised that my lot would be either to compromise my faith and say easy things to fit with current secular thinking; or else to continue to be the party’s main spokesperson but incapable of getting the message across because of all these questions,” he said.
“So I knew that stepping down was the only thing to do,” he added. “I was right to do it. I don’t regret it.”
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