By Jonathon Van Maren
If I had to recommend only a handful of commentators to follow, Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday would make the cut every time. Incisive, brilliant, and often surprising, his writing is a must for anyone who wants a Burkean conservative take on a wide range of issues. Consider this excerpt from his latest column, in which he explains why it is Christianity, rather than Islam, that is increasingly ostracized in modern society:
This is the creepy and totalitarian treatment of a Christian nurse, Sarah Kuteh, sacked from an NHS hospital for daring to suggest that a patient she was treating might like to go to church and (horror of horrors) ‘inappropriately gave a Bible to a patient’.
The good news is that Ms Kuteh, pictured, whose abilities as a nurse have never once been questioned, has now been allowed back to work by the political commissars who increasingly control our country. But the price of this is a humiliating process of self- criticism, of the sort once usual in communist states.
Typically, the whole thing is conducted in a hideous mangled form of English which makes a supermarket checkout robot sound like Shakespeare.
To regain the favour of the commissars, she has had to write a ‘reflective’ screed in which she ‘incorporated your obligations in relation to having clear professional boundaries and not expressing your personal beliefs in an inappropriate way’ and ‘set out the steps you have taken to address the deficiencies highlighted in your practice. You have addressed how you would act differently in the future.’ In other words, she has confessed her thought-crime and promised not to repeat it.
Well, that is modern Britain, a slimy, squelchy totalitarian state in which unemployment, rather than the gulag, is used to threaten people into conformism and force them to keep their deepest, beloved beliefs a personal secret while they are on state premises.
How absurd. Christianity is pretty much the origin of modern nursing. I am glad my beloved Aunt Ena, a nurse of extraordinary courage and devotion, and an exemplary Christian in thought, word and deed, did not live to see this era.
His book The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me To Faith is a must-read on the declining role of Christianity in Western society, as much as it is an autobiographical testament to faith’s increasing role in Hitchens’ own life. Earlier this summer I also finished The Broken Compass: How British Politics Lost Its Way, and I must say I had no idea just how many prominent political figures were once not only die-hard left-wingers, but actually Marxists or Trotskyists. That fact, which Hitchens lays out in great detail, also goes a long way toward explaining why Christianity is so despised by many of the political elites.
As always, Hitchens consistently proves himself an able advocate for and defender of the dwindling remnants of Christianity in Great Britain. Christians could not ask for a more potent pen.