What are the Christian socially conservative values Richard Lucas (Letters, 19 April) worries aren’t currently “articulated in political debate”? As no examples are given, perhaps the reference is to lifestyle choices, such as same-sex marriage, which are anathema to some Christians. It wouldn’t be too unreasonable to infer they might welcome “the vacuum to be filled” with a US-style Tea Party.”
However, there is an alternative, given that “Christian core values” are not necessarily common only to fundamentalists and right-wing parties. People who are not “formal Christians” and don’t identify with any denomination may still live by the “core values” of the gospels.
Take, for example, the core Christian value “Love thy neighbour as thyself”. Now compare this with “from each according to their means to each according to their need”. Didn’t Christians in Latin America organise a radical political movement led by priests which “articulated core Christian values”? Seemingly, the altruistic motives that lead someone to Christianity may also be the motives that in this case led to Marxism.
Arguably, there are left-wing alternatives through which Christians can articulate their “core values” in contemporary politics, not only Marxist parties but notably the Christian Socialists.
Old Chapel Walk
Richard Lucas apparently thinks that only those who agree with the specific beliefs he describes are “Christians”. His linking of “Christianity” with social conservatism is hard to understand as both Jesus and Paul were radicals who sought to change social attitudes. It was the Pharisees who were “social conservatives”.
Paul argued with the disciples who believed that only Jews could be accepted into their group. William Wilberforce, John Newton, David Livingstone and Florence Nightingale were anything but social conservatives. Most people think that what matters is what one does, not what one believes.