‘Church of the Latter Day Woke’ is more worrying than believers like Kate Forbes – Kenny MacAskill

Faith in politics has been the subject of heated debate and even condemnation from some.

But I’d rather someone entered politics through conviction and had a value system they strived to live by than simply viewed it as a career. Modern politics has been debased by too much of the latter, and not enough of the former.

Obviously though, if someone tries to impose a narrow and sectarian view, then I’d oppose it as much here as I would in Afghanistan or Iran. But if there’s an acceptance of a liberal society, even if that’s not the beliefs or even preferred option of the individual, then so what? Likewise, as long as it doesn’t become judgmental or moralising, then I’m fine with it; each to their own.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What matters to me is whether it’s genuine or a front. I’ve great admiration for many of my friends who have deep religious convictions of whatever faith, sometimes even envy. But I’m contemptuous of the false.

Religious faith can inspire conviction politicians (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)Religious faith can inspire conviction politicians (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
Religious faith can inspire conviction politicians (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Those like George W Bush who say their prayers whilst unleashing unmitigated horror upon millions. Barack Obama was said to sign off his ever-lengthening list for drone strikes, a death warrant by any other name, thinking all was fine as it was done according to Augustinian principles. I doubt that blessed saint ever envisaged that his Christian principles would be so corrupted.

When I hear some of the rhetoric spouted by Jacob Rees-Mogg, I wonder how he can claim to be of the same faith as that wonderfully articulated by Pope Francis. Of course, the latter’s Pontiff, not a politician, but his comments on social justice and clamour for peace are based on Christian belief and the scriptures. Just what script Rees-Mogg, a charlatan politician who portrays himself as a devout Catholic despite worshipping mammon and ignoring compassion, is reading from beats me.

As for the social conservatism espoused by many I’m relaxed. With grandparents from the Western Isles, I know the Free Church’s position, having endured what seemed like never-ending purgatory on a Sunday. But their views on same-sex marriage are reflected by newer friends from other lands. An African Pastor I know, and am hugely fond of, has attitudes on same-sex marriage that make Kate Forbes seem liberal. Many in the Islamic community who I am friends with are likewise, and it doesn’t diminish my respect for them.

But what of those carrying out the contemporary inquisition and denouncing heretics in our secular society? They come across as false, judgmental and totally illiberal. I wasn’t privy to the machinations of the SNP whip’s office back in 2014 when same-sex marriage was passed. But Alex Neil’s position seems more accurate than Humza Yousaf’s. A few MSPs had issues and dispensation was given to be absent. But Yousaf’s meeting with the Pakistani Consul smacks of a diplomatic manoeuvre, not the courage of convictions.

Now we have a society in which supposedly ‘social progressives’ who worship at the ‘Church of the Latter Day Woke’ demand total adherence to the one true faith. No deviation permitted, or denunciation as ‘Terfs’ and transphobes will follow, with excommunication and banishment to a living hell. That’s entirely illiberal and socially regressive.

Give me politicians with conviction over career any day.

Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.