Judas Iscariot, failed apostle, is no saint. But if he isn’t a patron saint, perhaps he may be patron exemplar, not only of apostasy, but of the politicisation of spirituality. He may be a patron exemplar of all those who baulk at following Jesus down the path of spiritual change, and prefer the political route.
Why did Judas do what he did? The metaphysical answer that St John provides is that Satan found his way into him – he was subject to a hostile takeover bid. The theological answer is that he was looking for a political solution to the Jewish Nation problem, which Jesus frustrated him over by not delivering on.
But the hijacking of Christian ethics for different political purposes, the Judas-shift, has continued down the centuries, and never more successfully that today.
Woke politics is the classic example of the Judas-shift applied to Christian values. All three of the Diversity/Inclusion/Equality shibboleths have their roots in the Christian ethical vision.
All three have been the subject of a hostile takeover and have been used to mug the unsuspecting slightly morally gullible public in order to produce a political utopia as a more accessible alternative to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Diversity as a spiritual value is wholly different from its political application. It reflects the abundant variety of God’s creation. It describes the exquisite complementarity of men and women, the gifts of the Spirit in the Church, the endless redemptive ingenuity of God in the face of human failure and pain. Uniformity is dull and unimaginative, but diversity is the fingerprint of the generous and creative.
But it also can be used to bait the hook for the unsuspecting ethically under-informed.
In political terms diversity insinuates a creative generosity but is used instead as a restrictive weapon against particular targets- whiteness, straightness, Church-ness, conservative-ness, masculinity, experience, competence.
The political lexicon follows Orwellian rules of promising one thing, but delivering something very different. Spiritual diversity reflects the generosity of creation. Political diversity represents the exclusion of Christian ethics and culture and its replacement with alternatives.
Inclusivity, is spiritual terms, represents the promise that the loneliness of being excluded, cast out, alienated and rejected, can be overcome. The coming of Jesus is the greatest act of inclusion. It makes possible the reconciliation of an unholy people to their holy God by an act of supreme sacrifice. The price is repentance and trust, but inclusion into the healing forgiveness of God’s love is the promise of the Gospel. It traces the contours of a smile on the face of an evangelistic Church.
But political inclusion is the darkest of tools. Political inclusion is achieved by banning discrimination. This pseudo-universalist ethic paralyses one of the most important theological tasks humanity have been given: “the discrimination of good from evil”, which means the capacity to discern truth from false and authentic from bogus.
The banning of discrimination in our social discourse, outlawing one of the most important exercises we ever undertake, turns us into gullible Patsies for whatever ethical second-hand car salesman comes our way.
Inclusion is of course a clumsy trick that is intended to include everyone but of the representatives of Christendom in the West.
Equality as a spiritual concept describes the equal value of each member of the human race in the eyes and heart of God the Father. But it ends there. To each he gives different gifts and different responsibilities. To the more gifted, he gives more responsibility and more accountability. The parable of the talents reminds us that equality of vocation is replaced by a personal accountability.
But political equality is another deeply dangerous tool of social manipulation. The forced equality of outcomes that define the utopianism of the political Left lead increasingly to authoritarian government that imposes its will on the population to produce artificial, inefficient and incompetent outcomes. It leads to “tall poppy syndrome” in which the outstanding are culled and the rest of society reduced to the lowest common denominator.
Political equality is the driver that leads to totalitarianism, and the extinguishing of the uniqueness of each individual.
The great con trick of our age is the way in which progressive utopianism has taken the exquisite ethics of the spirituality of Christianity, and by politicising them and hollowing out their meanings, has exchanged their power to effect inner transformation with a social pressure to create a culture inimical to Christian faith, vision and value.
It is long past time since the Church should have woken to woke-ness, and spotting this great act of verbal and ethical mugging, should reclaim the words from their politicisation, and contest their usage.
If we can tell the difference between Judas, patron exemplar of the politicisation of the Gospel, and St Peter, the rock on which the Church was founded, we should be able to make the distinction between words and ideas that serve Jesus as he intended and those that don’t.