Boris Johnson and the Hypocrisy of British Evangelicals (not really)

Boris Johnson and the Hypocrisy of British Evangelicals (not really) December 19, 2019

With all the scorn directed at U.S. evangelicals over their vote and support for Donald Trump, many of American evangelicalism’s biggest critics have ignored the recent UK general election’s result — namely, a return of a Prime Minister who is unsure of how many children he has fathered:

If Boris Johnson becomes the UK’s new prime minister on December 12, he will re-enter No. 10 Downing Street with an extraordinary fact missing from his biography: the number of children he has.

Officially, Johnson has four children with his ex-wife Marina Wheeler. Their names are Lara Lettice Johnson, Cassia Peaches Johnson, Theodore Apollo Johnson, and Milo Arthur Johnson. They are aged 20 to 26.

It is also a matter of public record that he fathered a fifth child, a daughter named Stephanie, in 2009 during an affair with Helen Macintyre, an art adviser.

And, as The Independent put it today, “he is also believed to have fathered another child outside of his marriage.”

That would make six children, of which only four have been officially acknowledged by Johnson. But possibly only five in total, if the rumours are false.

That may not make Johnson worse in the morals department than Trump, but it hardly speaks well of British Protestants who turned out to vote for MPs who would make Johnson the Prime Minister. Never mind what this says about the Head of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth (whom I love thanks to Peter Morgan), asking Johnson to form her government. If American evangelicals are the height of hypocrisy in their support for Trump, isn’t Johnson just a wee bit embarrassing for British Christians who voted conservative?

Here are a few examples of British evangelicals on how to think about the recent election. From the CEO of the Evangelical Alliance:

“I am hopeful for the future of the United Kingdom as we head into 2020”, said the CEO of the United Kingdom Evangelical Alliance, Gavin Calver. “Not because one party has won and another has lost, but because we believe in a God who is powerful”. “The last few years have exposed deep divisions in our society, and this election campaign has exacerbated these rather than healing them. The task before us all, politicians and public alike, is to work together in our communities and across our nations”.

The “passion for unity”, Calver said, “is one vital way the church can serve the nation in the months and years ahead”. “Psalm 133 says: ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity’, as the church we must model this, as we come together across ages, races and classes, when men and women stand and work together as one”. If Christians “show that issues of Brexit and public services, of taxation and spending do not divide our churches, we can be a witness to reconciliation for our communities”.

Why no outrage about Johnson’s immorality?

This from a former minister in Scotland’s Free Church (now a pastor in Australia):

All of the parties promise what they know they can’t deliver. The Tories promise Brexit and a fresh start – it won’t be that easy. They have a leader who has ducked the hard questions as easily as he has ducked his moral responsibilities. Labour promises to save the NHS and spend £1 trillion on goodies which only the top 5% of taxpayers will pay for. They have a leader who is described by his own health secretary as a danger to national security and whose encouragement of anti-Semitism is to say the least disturbing. The Liberals have had a disastrous campaign with one of the most illiberal attacks on the UK and a leader who cannot even define what a woman is! The SNP have also had a poor campaign – making the mistake of campaigning on Brexit. Their leader has run a presidential campaign for the UK – even though she cannot be elected and her aim is to break up the UK! All promise Nirvana. All will fail to deliver.

There is an indirect reference to Johnson’s wayward sexual life, but no warning about the peril to Christians’ souls if they vote conservative.

So why are British Protestant less worried about voters’ hypocrisy than their American counterparts? It couldn’t have anything to do with how well the charge of hypocrisy matches the op-eds in the nation’s leading media, could it?

Postscript: I found nothing from Michael Gerson, John Fea, Peter Wehner, or Russell Moore on Johnson, UK evangelicals, and the General Election.


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