“How could one possibly support the Labour Party and be a Christian?”
And that’s a fair enough question, as one can ask the same question about the American Republicans and Democrats. What about Likud? The NDP? The Liberty Korea Party? The Nippon Ishin no Kai? The Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela? The Movimento Cinque Stelle?
Over 2000 years and we still haven’t even begun to understand that we shouldn’t put our trust in princes, especially when the princes are our own image. So one can walk into a most self-consciously liberal Anglican parish that obsesses over all the latest activist lingo adorned with national flags over the nave, perhaps even in the sanctuary. If you’re unfortunate enough, you might even see the national flag held aloft in a procession. We American Anglicans are great patriots–after all, the first seven presidents of our republic were Episcopalian! We are so stately that our cathedral of Washington D.C. is mostly known by that most arrogant and pretentious name of the “National Cathedral”. What purchase do the names of the chiefs of the apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul, have next to the glorious political, economic, and military hegemony of the United States? Little, if anything, apparently. St. Basil the Great sold the sacred vessels and gave away his own family inheritance to feed the poor during the great famine. The “National Cathedral” tweets self-righteous indignation and sells the house of God to wealthy and prestigious dignitaries for their amusement. What’s the difference?
And so we have national anthems printed in our hymn books next to our most beautiful sacrifices of praise without any distinction made. That these things are old and have been a part of our churches for decades upon centuries does little to change that in principle it is little more than the expression of a national apostasy. What a dubious privilege that I can enjoy the pleasures of hearing O Canada! be sung in front of our holy altars! Heaven knows what “true patriot love” and the “True North” has anything to do with repentance and charity, let alone the Cross and, well, Christ.
Will the Church have even begun to repent when the Eschaton arrives like a thief in the night? Doubtful, but at least we Christians can find solace in the idea that we will have each other for eternal company in hell.