Culture Jesus Christ Politics

The Top Ten Christmas Politicians Messages

I thought I would have a wee look at some Christmas messages from political leaders and then decided to rank them in order of merit…I’m sure there were better and worse – but here is my list!  Note – these are not listed in order of political persuasion or personal character.  I am trying just to comment on the actual messages.

10.  First Minister – Nicola Sturgeon

This one is no surprise.   Sturgeon knows nothing about Christianity and studiously  avoids any mention of Christ.  Not one word.  Nor does she mention Christians or Christianity – instead coming out with the usual platitudes about thanking the NHS, those in public service etc (you can take it as a given that every politician does this).   In this ‘festive period’ we are all to be nice to one another.  Sturgeon’s words are always carefully scripted – whether deliberate or not I think the fact that she mentioned Muslims at Ed and Jews at Channukah, but not Christians at Christmas, speaks volumes.

9. Prime Minister – Scott Morrison

This one was a real surprise.  The Prime Minster of Australia is an evangelical Christian but managed to deliver a whole Christmas message without once mentioning Christ. He mentioned floods, fires and drought.  It was good he mentioned personally the families of the firefighters who have died.  But the ‘lets be thankful for Australia being the best country in the world, made great by Australians’ was a little too triumphaistic and Trumpesque for my liking.  This was a missed opportunity.   At Christmas we need to look beyond ourselves and our nation.   Christmas is not about how great we are.  As any Christian should know.

8. Premier Justin Trudeau

At least the Canadian Premier managed to mention Christ.  Although when he speaks of the ‘message of Christ’ it is clear that he has no idea what that message is.  It’s a whole lot more than ‘let’s help one another’.   But at least Truedeau wasn’t blacked up for this one!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pm-christmas-message-2019-1.5407493

7. Jeremy Corbyn 

For me – although I think he would have been a dreadful Prime Minister – Jezza comes across well.  He’s like the kindly grandfather sitting at the Christmas tree.  Again he mentions Jesus and his message of love, hope and peace  And again I am left wondering what that actually means other than a collection of cliched truisms?  Who after all is going to be against love, hope and peace?  The question is how do they come?  And what do they have to do with the rest of Jesus’s message – about hypocrisy, hell and heaven?  The need for the cross?  The impossibility of human beings to save themselves?  We are told that ‘communities come from solidarity and the generosity that comes from that’.  How has that worked out in history?  Community ultimately comes from Christ.   Corbyn could not resist using Christmas and Christ for his own political ends ‘for the many, not the few’.   The irony is how unradical that is.  Christ came for all – not just ‘the many’ nor just ‘the few’ – but for all.

6.  President Trump

This was President Trump on good form – I love it when he addresses the nation with his immigrant wife!  He sounded wooden but that was because he was carefully sticking to his prepared script.  His speechwriters know their market – so they provided the appropriate buzz words for the American audience.   It’s a ‘sacred time of year’…’peace among nations’ and ‘joy to the world’.  ‘our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’.  I pray that the ‘our’ will one day be for real.

5. President Putin

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53704

Av60vrlxZDLMyniynYolwa4F7jkQ5quIThis was a fascinating one.  Putin recognised the role of the Orthodox church and its importance in Russian society.  But he too had little to say about Christ.  Maybe he should read some Tolstoy?!

4. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/12/25/warm-xmas-greetings-from-leaders

This one was also a surprise.    The Prime Minister of Malaysia, together with other politicians not only mentioned Christmas, but quoted the Bible and argued for Muslims to live in harmony with Christians.  It will be good when there is complete freedom of religion (including freedom to change religion) within Malaysia – but I found these messages encouraging for our Christian brothers and sisters in Malaysia.

3. The Queen

This one was a surprise to me as well.  If I was a betting man I would have expected this to be the no.1.  The question usually has an excellent Christmas message which does focus on Christ.  But this year was disappointing. Although I did enjoy the historical reminisces.

I suspect her scriptwriters were busy playing PC bingo.  Neil Armstrong walking on the moon was  ‘a small step for mankind and indeed womankind’.  There was a wee nod to the teenagers of Extinction Rebellion.  But it was her summary of the message of Jesus which was the most disappointing.

“But in time, through his teaching and by his example, Jesus Christ would show the world how small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.”

This is moralistic therapeutic Deism at its most banal.  Christ’s birth was not one small step for mankind/womankind/humankind – it was a giant leap.  The incarnation is God coming to earth – not just the birth of someone who would show us how to be nice and give us a message telling us to be nice!  It is the birth of the one born to die – for us.

It was moving to hear the Queen speak of both her great grandmother (Queen Victoria) and her great grandchildren.   It reminded me of the continuity that she has brought to the nation for decades.  But when she goes – as she soon will- I dread to think what will happen when The Family take over!

2. Prime Minister Boris Johnson

 

This was a pleasant surprise to me.  Warm, well presented and recognises both the reason for the season and the importance of remembering those Christians who are persecuted for their faith. Like all UK politicians, he remembered (as he should) those who are working in the NHS over Christmas.  Given that this included my daughter working on Christmas day as a nurse in London – I agreed!    But it was the lack of politics, the recognition of Christ and Christians (without him pretending to be one) which struck a cord with me.

1.President Akufo Addo 

https://www.pulse.com.gh/news/local/watch-president-akufo-addos-christmas-message-to-ghanaians/19bbctx

Screenshot 2019-12-27 06.38.18Apart from being a wee bit too long I loved this.  President Addo of Ghana began with Christ and cited the prophecy of Isaiah before going on to reflect on the blessings God has given his country (not Ghana is great because of Ghanaians)  I loved the fact that he talked about ‘the modest successes’ of our country before going on to speak about some of the corruption and problems they are trying to deal with.  I once received a letter from the Ghanian ambassador thanking me for standing up for the previous President when he was treated appallingly by some in the Scottish parliament.  He told me that they were seeking to build a country based upon the Word of God.  That is evident.

Open Letter to President Mahama of Ghana

Conclusion:

It’s a mixed bag of political messages.  But all the politicians need to move beyond the cliche and the political soundbite and come to recognise the King of kings.  In the old words of the 1650 version of Psalm 72.

“His name forever shall endure, 

Last like the sun it shall, 

Men shall be blessed in him, 

And blessed all nations shall him call”

Christmas – Where is Jesus?

13 comments

  1. I know Australians better than you do, David. You’ve misread the scene. Any “messages” to do with Jesus belong in the churches, not in Prime Ministerial speeches to the nation.

    1. The argument is not about who knows Australians better! I’m not sure that anyone has the right to lump all Australians together. I know you want to ban Christianity from the public sphere, but some of us are more tolerant…..My point was simple – Christmas is about Christ. I would expect any Christlan leader to at least acknowledge that.

  2. Re Mahathir Mohamed’s Christmas message it is worth noting that Christians are free to practice their religion as long as they do not attempt to proselytize Sunni Muslims. Shia Muslims, however, are forbidden to practice their version of Islam , to build mosques or to preach to any Malaysians.

    Atheism is officially frowned upon as Malaysia’s “National Philosophy” ( Rukun Negara) puts ‘Belief in God’ at the top of its ‘ Five Principles ‘. – almost a Masonic attitude to Belief.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rukun_Negara#English_version

  3. I rarely agree with the Scottish Parliament but I think they were right to stand up to the President of Ghana and his record of gay rights. If Hitler or Stalin had visited the Scottish Parliament you would have been happy for the Scottish Parliament to say nothing about anti-Semitism or genocide in those countries? Too often Biblical Christians look the other way when it comes to persecution of people we disagree with. Is the sin of homosexuality an excuse for persecution? This time I am a wee bit disappointed in you David!

    1. Did you read the articles I wrote on Ghana? What is the record of Ghana on gay ‘rights’ that you object to? Why did some in the Scottish parliament turn their backs on him, but warmly welcome the Chinese leader – whose record on human rights is far worse. Racism? Money? It’s the virtue signalling hypocrisy I can’t stand….

  4. Christianity has become too politicised, Christian leaders seem obsessed with what politicians are telling us about the Gospel but should we rely on politicians to tell us this? It is even worse in the USA where many who claim to be Biblical Christians have sold their souls to politics. Christianty should inform politics but politics should not inform Christianity! I am not sure whether I agree with Christian Today or not but I know a lot of Republican Christians are angry about it.

  5. Hi
    Can u please tell your readers what and why certain commenters are banned or moderated.
    As you know, WP is a large platform with many voices, and many opinions, some better than others, some better than yours, and yours worse than others.

    It would be helpful so serious minded people would not waste their time and allow you to live in your bubble of isolation and narrow mindedness. Your recent comments regarding a ‘stationary earth’ are proof of your bias and unwillingness to engage- and to assign such thoughtful people as being somehow no better than atheists in mental acumen.

    This speaks more to your intolerance than to the perhaps myopic views of others. Personally, I learn more about myself when /I engage the repulsive views of others. Maybe I think a 66,000 mph orbiting earth is a repulsive view. Should I then send you to the dungeon of WP ban??? Or would it better for people to ask WHY do you believe such things.

    So then, do pray tell why people should not waste their time on your blog.

    1. I would suggest you don’t waste your time. The policy is quite simple. I would have been happy just to let unmoderated comments but sadly such is the way of sin, that this means that some people take over and dominate internet discussions. They love the sound of their own voice and cannot understand why others don’t accept their genius. They probably have sad lifes and need to vent somewhere. So my policy is simple – all comments which contribute to the discussion are welcome – those who wish to mock, abuse or just dominate can do so on their own blog not mine. I have given you and a couple of other trolls far too much space. If you have something intelligent and worthwhile to say (even or especially if it disagrees with me) it will be posted. Otherwise you can go and vent on your own blog. The kind of banal and nasty self-important post you have just posted will not normally be allowed.

  6. Hello Pastor David

    Sigh. I came across this the other day. It is a Christmas sermon from a few years ago by an Australian female Anglican priest based in America. She is a liberal Christian and a follower of a few of the usual suspects: Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

    She states, quite adamantly, at the beginning of her sermon that Luke’s infancy narrative is myth, not history.

    Please listen – at least to the opening few minutes – if you have the time to spare, Pastor:

    https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/stbartssermons/BElliott_1_1_17.mp3

    How do we present facts to argue against this, Pastor David?

    Thanks.

  7. Pr David

    I have heard previously the argument that the woman priest, Beverley Elliott, gives in the sermon Jean links.

    What are the facts? Do the majority of mainstream theologians now believe the Christmas story in Luke is a “mythical prelude” to the Gospel, as Beverley Elliott declares in her sermon or is it history? Did angels really appear to shepherds, etc, or is it true myth?

    The rest of the sermon by Beverley Elliott is… unusual… too. She appears to claim Jesus saves us in every way – except from our sin. I am not sure how he saves us “ecologically” as Elliott declares unless she just means by teaching us tio be less selfish and materialistic, we use fewer resources.

    Can you please clear up whether the Christmas story is “true myth” or historical fact though, Pastor? I need the peace of mind.

    God bless.

      1. Thanks so much. It was people like Raymond Brown (I couldn’t remember his name before) who speed seeds of doubt in my mind. Why do all these liberals like Brown and Beverley Elliott state their opinions and doubts so confidently as facts and undermine the faith of the rest of us? 🙁

        Thanks so much for your help, Pr Robertson. I really appreciate it.

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