19_january_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 979

Monday 19 January 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

You have challenged the Pope who, in response to the violence in France said, “If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. You cannot provoke, you cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

Your response was,  “I think in a free society, there is a right to cause offence about someone’s religion. I’m a Christian; if someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don’t have a right to wreak vengeance on them. We have to accept that newspapers, magazines, can publish things that are offensive to some, as long as it’s within the law. That is what we should defend.”

Incredibly, this is the second time this week that I find myself in agreement with you. Did I not I would not be writing letters, this being number 979, but doing everything in my power to rid the world of you and your party by any means available. It is not easy to hold to peaceful protest given the violence you and your government have inflicted on this nation and most especially on the poorest and most vulnerable. Even the knowledge that another five years of you will see unimaginable suffering inflicted on those least able to defend themselves does not provoke me to violence, not least because of the violence that would be ordered and inflicted in return by you. Unlike you, I count myself a civilised man adding my voice against you and your war on the poor.

You claim to be a Christian and yet I see nothing in what you say and do that shows any evidence of that. Jesus was asked,  “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” To which he responded,”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The entirety of the Christian faith hangs on those words, such that faith without deeds is dead and by deeds is meant acts of love, acting on the greatest commandments. No one of the Christian faith can ignore those words and indeed, why would they want to? In fact, I cannot imagine the mind of anyone, atheists and agnostics included, who would not embrace loving their neighbour as they love their own self. Faith aside, I think it is self evident that the only sane way to live as moral creatures is through loving kindness.

The poorest and most vulnerable are dying in this country as a result of government policy and with 60% of Osbornes planned spending cuts yet to come the death toll will be even more dreadful than it is, whilst the super rich will just get richer. People dismiss the disparity between rich and poor as the ‘politics of envy’, I have experienced and witnessed very little of that, what I feel and witness is anger and indignation at the politics and policies of excess. Poverty is violence but so is excessive wealth and it is government policy that is driving the growing inequality in the UK. So whilst I agree that violence is not the answer, I see no evidence that you believe that.