If you love the EU so much…
Yesterday, this blog took to task the motley crew of Christian bishops and other assorted British faith leaders who signed their names to an insufferably glib and ignorant letter imploring the British people to vote to remain in the European Union in the 23 June referendum.
But the Archbishop Cranmer blog has now gone one better, and published a satirical spoof article reporting that the bishops had actually called for Pope Francis to commit the Vatican State to joining the EU – the joke being that the bishops would never dream of insisting that the Vatican surrender sovereignty to Brussels but are perfectly happy to demand that Britain does the same.
From Archbishop Cranmer:
Religious leaders from the UK’s main faith communities – including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams – have joined forces to urge Pope Francis to commit the Vatican State to joining the EU, saying membership is vital to preserving peace, fighting poverty and tackling the migration crisis.
In a letter in the Observer, 37 leading figures from across the faiths say that they hope the Pope will reflect on whether joining the international institutions charged with delivering these goals might contribute to a fairer, cleaner and safer world.
The letter is obviously not endorsed by any Roman Catholic leaders, but is signed by Anglican archbishops and bishops, Church of Scotland academics, reverend professors, deans, distinguished rabbis and imams, ecumenical coordinators, baronesses and peers, leaders of Sikh and Hindu faith communities, and Global Leader Steve Chalke MBE.
The ‘Stronger In’ campaign have today dispatched comedian Eddie Izzard to tour the Vatican State in an attempt to get the Curia to pray for Pope Francis, that he might incline his ear toward justice, peace and righteousness, and commit the Vatican to immediate EU accession negotiations. “It makes sense,” said Mr Izzard, “to have the Pope of Rome subscribe to the Treaty of Rome.” He added: “We know the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic leaders and laity support membership of the EU because of the opportunities it presents to work, to study and to travel to Lourdes. I share their positive view of Europe, and I think Pope Francis ought to, too.”
And who can argue with this faultless logic? If we accept the Remainers’ fatuous assertion that Britain must remain in the European Union because only by being subordinate to a supranational government based in Brussels can we work pragmatically with out neighbours to solve problems which transcend national borders, then why should this not apply equally to the Vatican?
In fact, why should it not apply especially to the Vatican, being both an extraordinarily rich state and a hugely influential one, often bypassing other national governments to lay a claim on the hearts, minds and souls of people in countries all over the world? Given the Vatican State’s unique advantages in this regard, surely (according to Remainer logic) it is practically criminal for the Pope to stubbornly hold out, clinging to anachronistic national pride and refusing to be subsumed into the greater European whole.
And yet nobody makes this argument. The Vatican is left to go about its business as a sovereign state unmolested – quite rightly. But the fact that the European Union’s Christian cheerleaders would rather not afford Britain similar freedom is yet more proof of the inconsistency and subjective nature of their case.
As this blog recently remarked:
Britain is and will always remain part of a “bigger whole” whether we remain in the European Union or not. The European Union is a political construct, and a very recent and unproven one at that. It is not interchangeable with the continent of Europe, and it has no democratic legitimacy when it arrogantly claims to speak and act on behalf of the many diverse European peoples. There is a positive case for Brexit based on leaving euro-parochialism behind and engaging more fully in the world, and pro-EU Christians participating in the debate should at least acknowledge this fact rather than arguing against the two-dimensional cartoon Ukipper they hold in their minds.
But this is the very low standard of debate we have sadly come to see from those who claim to represent the Christian perspective. At its core, their argument amounts to little more than “the EU is about friendship and peace and cooperation, and Jesus was in favour of all those things, so what’s not to like?”
[..] Seriously – boil down most of the [Christian pro-EU arguments] and they amount to little more than that. You’ll hear endless variations on the theme that because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, somehow it naturally follows that we should be united under the same supranational political umbrella – though curiously the Church of England never wastes its time clamouring for Asian countries to merge together, or for Canada, Mexico and the United States to institute a shared parliament.
So, about that rigorous, intellectual, Christian case for the European Union – where is it?
We are still waiting.
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