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KATE FORBES

What have we come to? Kate Forbes is a Scottish politician, a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and a Christian, in Scottish terms a Wee Free, a member of the Free Church of Scotland. She put her name forward to stand as a candidate for the Leadership of her Party in the place of Nicola Sturgeon. But then she was asked what she believed about such issues as same-sex marriage and transgender people. She replied that as a Christian she did not believe in sex before or outside marriage (meaning marriage between a man and a woman), and that a trans woman was simply “a biological male who identifies as a woman”. A number of people in the SNP immediately withdrew their support for her candidature for the leadership. So, in the view of some at least, a Christian is disqualified from leading a political party.

Of course, something like the same thing happened to Tim Farron. He was elected as Leader of the Liberal Party in the UK in 2015. But after two years he resigned, saying that he had found it impossible to hold the post of Leader of his party and ‘remain faithful to the Bible’s teaching”. Not such a liberal party after all then!

It is not that these two people are trying to impose their moral views on either their parties or their country. Both had stated that they respected the democratic rights of those within their parties and in the country at large that differed from them. But no, that would not do. Their Christian beliefs, it seems, disqualified them from holding prominent positions in British politics.

What is this saying about the country we are becoming? It seems to say that you can hold any moral or religious views except those of a Christian. It is perfectly alright for a Muslim to be Mayor of London, provided that he endorses and indeed celebrates LGBT rights, the practices of which would lead to punishment and even death in an Islamic country. But you cannot be a Christian and lead a political party. You will be ‘cancelled’,

Perhaps we should not be surprised. Jesus never said that to be a faithful follower of his would make you popular: “all men will hate you because of me”. (Matthew 10.22.). But Jesus went on to say that “he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” In Europe we have grown up on a continent and in a country that was, until very recently, predominantly Christian, in theory if not always in practice. It was certainly no handicap to be a believing and practicing Christian. Today, for all sorts of reason, we seem to be reverting to a society which is hostile to the exclusive claims of Christ and his teaching. But perhaps we should even be glad. For Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5.11-12)

If, as seems likely, some sort of split soon occurs in the Church of England over these issues of sexuality, those of us who remain faithful to Biblical teaching, like Kate Forbes in Scotland, can expect all sorts of abuse and persecution for our stand – and certainly exclusion from high political office! The dividing line between living the life of Jesus and living the life of the world is only going to get clearer and deeper. Be prepared!

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