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God joins the Tories’ list of institutions in need of reform

The Easter Sunday denunciations of the government’s plan to deport illegal asylum seekers to Rwanda that rained down on ministers from the highest pulpits in the land have raised concerns among Conservatives that God may be a bit too dominated by liberal metropolitan elite attitudes.

There is particular concern that God has developed a bit of a silo mentality, which comes from surrounding himself with disciples and others who all share a similar ­ideological background. “His people all tend to sing from the same hymn sheet,” said one critic.

One leading Conservative has argued that people are getting tired of God’s liberal do-gooders, while senior Tories fear that they are losing the culture war for control of the Church and want to see a rebalancing so that the Almighty more broadly reflects the nation as a whole. 

The latest row erupted after sources close to God let it be known that he took a dim view of the Rwanda plan. His official spokesman, the Archbishop of Canterbury, briefed that it could not “stand the judgment of God”. God’s senior strategists are even now drawing up contingency plans for 10 new plagues including frogs, boils, peers and human rights lawyers.

The message provoked an immediate backlash. The Daily Telegraph commissioned an opinion piece headlined “Is God a Commie?”, while the Mail asked “Why does God hate Britain?” One Talk Radio host lamented the rise of religious correctness and blasted the Holy One for listing his pronouns at the bottom of emails. 

Critics have also complained that the intervention was a distraction from the core Easter message. “Anyone who looked at the campaign grid for this weekend knows that the key theme was the resurrection. Now they’ve blown that out of the water with all this talk about Rwanda. Where is the message discipline?” Tories also say the Church has lost sight of the conservative Christian message, which stresses the importance of defeating people smugglers and holding down the Ukip vote. 

The intervention has enraged senior Tories, who are now looking at whether God could be privatised or at least seriously disestablished. Others advocate less drastic steps, though many say God must at least set up a northern campus, probably somewhere in Tees Valley, away from the liberal university towns. Another idea would see the creation of a new regulator, OfLord, to ensure more balance in the Almighty’s political pronouncements and a greater political diversity in ordinations. 

Tory leaders feel that the Almighty is a venerable and much-loved institution who has now fallen victim to the kind of progressive ideology that has afflicted other important cultural bodies. “The next thing we know, God will be decolonising the Bible and running trigger warnings before the crucifixion,” quipped one minister.

Other Tories blame rogue briefings by liberal archbishops and elitist disciples who are out of touch with the Lord’s followers. “We’ve been worried about them ever since the Sermon on the Mount,” said one. “Frankly, we are not convinced the meek are the best custodians of real estate.” Tories have also noted that heaven operates some fairly strict border controls, although none of the rejects is sent to Rwanda.

Yet some progressives fear that God’s strategists have walked straight into a Tory trap. “The Lord has shown that he is just another liberal Remainer who no longer speaks to red wall churchgoers,” said one minister. The criticism has stung God’s inner circle. One spokesman stressed that the Lord remained studiously neutral on the Brexit issue, though he acknowledged that God had been hoping for some form of customs union.

But God has now been added to the government’s list of institutions in need of reform. One minister declared: “We’ll slot him in after the civil service and the Human Rights Act, sometime between the National Trust, the university sector and the BBC. Liberal God is drinking in the last chance saloon.”

Follow Robert on Twitter @robertshrimsley and email him at robert.shrimsley@ft.com

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