After the General Election witch hunt against Tim Farron, the media (including social media) are off again. This time the target firmly in their sights is back-bench Tory MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg. Asked on GMB for his views he answered clearly and unambiguously (which is more than can be said for the average politician) that he was against abortion under any circumstances and that he did not believe in same-sex marriage.
I want to make three points here:
1. In stating that he disagreed with same-sex marriage, Rees-Mogg, is advocating what the Bible teaches (although her talks in terms of the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching). This is important because our society seems to think I is just enough to declare its outrage at a person and their views if it does not fit with their preferences. Yet at some point, we have to decide where we are going to get our morality from. What makes a position on marriage right or wrong? Is it what the majority of people think? Is it what those who consider themselves the of wisdom and morality (TV commentators, people with twitter accounts, politicians, academics) decide? Is it guardians simply what I feel to be right? By the way, if the latter, then Rees-Mogg is quite entitled to feel in his hear that gay-marriage is wrong, so long as he doesn’t insist that others agree with him. Christians believe that we can know objectively what is right and wrong because there is a God who made us, loves us and knows what is best for us.
2. I suspect that Rees-Mogg is not the natural ally of most people in a typical urban congregation like ours. Here we are as members of a protestant church in an urban, working class, solidly Labour voting area. So, we don’t instinctively side with upper class, Catholic Tories, do we? Yet, whatever we think of Rees-Mogg as a person and whether or not we agree with his other views, here is someone who is being hounded and subjected to quite personal abuse because he has dared to speak up for what God’s Word says. Will we as believers speak up alongside him for truth? (NB this is a further outworking of our discussion and application of the question from Sunday’s sermon “What does it mean to touch the Lord’s anointed?”
3. Rees-Mogg’s position on abortion is consistent. If abortion is wrong because it means taking an innocent and helpless life and if you believe that intentionally taking innocent lives is wrong, then abortion is objectively wrong and so wrong in all circumstances. This does not mean that if you believe this, you are hardened or oblivious to the suffering and pain of others. Nor does it take away from our responsibility to think very carefully about how we care for rape victims and stand alongside those who have children with severe disabilities. Nor does it permit a harsh, judgemental attitude towards those who feel that they have no other option but to abort their unborn-child. Compassion, mercy, love, care, forgiveness should characterise our approach to this difficult subject. It simply means that if we believe in the sanctity of life then we have to rule out one proposed solution to suffering and evil because we believe that this is only adding to, not taking away from the suffering and evil.