The allegations about our Prime Minister that have been presented in a national paper are the type that we can all express horror and revulsion at. Let’s just check the facts, though.
1. This might not have actually happened
A shocking suggestion, I know, when many of us have seen it in print. It’s a claim, a rumour, an allegation. Call it what you will. But it’s juicy, so we often prefer to assume that it did happen because then our expressions of moral outrage seem more justified. The person who’s written the book isn’t one of those who apparently saw it. For some reason, the ‘witnesses’ are not coming out and telling their story, which is something worth bearing in mind. But when we hear something that we’d like to believe, it’s a bit more appealing.
I read last week that one thing that helps recovery from an appendectomy is to drink lots of hot tea. Having just had my appendix out, and being a lover of tea, that’s the kind of advice I like, and I followed it to the letter. Is it true? Goodness only knows, but I wanted to believe it, so I did. What should we do in the light of such allegations about our Prime Minister? Let’s face it, this ‘story’ is an absolute goldmine when it comes to those of us who love a good pun. But when I take a moment to think about it, I reckon that this bandwagon is one I should be allowing to roll on by, rather than hitching myself a lift on. I think when something that’s ‘funny’ relies on a casual crushing of another person, it’s not so funny. We might like to justify it by pointing out the height of the pedestal on which our victim resides. But I don’t think that really cuts it.
If it turns out that it actually did happen, then David Cameron needs to address it. Yes, those in authority must be called to account. How will we respond to him? Will it be with compassion? And what’s changed, anyway? Didn’t we already know David Cameron is a sinner? The fact that I don’t have a verified list of his sins isn’t that relevant, is it?
2. We have all sinned
As Jesus addressed the crowd who were baying for the adulteress’ blood, Jesus comes out with the now-well-known: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Not, “with littler sins”. Not “with sin we’ve not yet heard about”. Not “with sin not covered by the 10 Commandments”. Just “without sin”.
I find myself pondering this. Imagine for the sake of argument that the allegations made in this new book are true. And now imagine that David Cameron has been brought before a crowd of us having committed this particular sin. And Jesus is among the crowd, and he comes out with that “without sin” phrase, and turns to David Cameron and says: “go and sin no more”. What then? What if David Cameron takes the chance and turns away from what he’s done? What if that was his choice all those years ago? Who are we to condemn him? Is Jesus’ sacrifice somehow not enough? At what point do we allow him to be considered ‘changed’.
There was a moving piece in the Daily Mail today that spoke of David Cameron’s son, Ivan. Of course, that bit of the story has been somewhat lost in the heady excitement of rather more carnal aspects of the book. The devotion and compassion that David Cameron showed is lost in a haze of mud-slinging. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not daft enough to suggest that there’s a simple balancing act to be done here – do something gross as a young person, but make sure you make up for it with good deeds later in life. No, but will we consider that people might change? Will we look for the fingerprints of God in someone’s life, or merely delight in finding the entangling tentacles of sin?
I can confidently assert, regardless of the truth or otherwise of these allegations about our PM, that it’s something I’ve never done myself. I can truthfully say that I never did anything inappropriate with a pig. I am without that sin. But without sin? No. So perhaps I should leave the stones where they are.