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By Jason Michael
At a time when the eyes of the world are on Britain, at a time when those in charge should be doing everything in their power to look as though they are in control, Theresa May gets into a tizzy about an Easter egg hunt. How did it ever get this bad?
Prime Minister Theresa May is a vicar’s daughter and we all know – in the Church of England – that more than qualifies one to preach sermons on the importance of Easter while off selling weapons to one of the world’s greatest human rights violators. Where can we begin to get our heads around the furore that has broken around the National Trust dropping the word “Easter” from its egg hunt poster – especially when it turns out it is the biggest word on the poster? The Prime Minister’s outrage has about as much to do with a poster campaign as chocolate eggs have to do with Easter.
No one remembers the scene in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ where, after being flogged down to rashers by a Roman, Jesus hurriedly opened up his Cadbury egg and stole a cheeky nibble before the end of Lent. No one remembers this bit in the film because it wasn’t in the film. It isn’t even in the book. Admittedly, eggs are a nice touch for an Easter tradition – chocolate eggs even more so – but they have squat to do with the life, death, and resurrection of a man in Palestine two thousand years ago. But when someone trolls the Archbishop of York, convincing him someone has pinched Easter from the egg hunt, England is up in arms.
I am one of those Christians who still says his prayer and reads his Bible. Every year I remember the Passion through Holy Week and light the wee bonfire at the Easter vigil. These things are important to me. So too is chocolate, mind you. But nothing of this has anything to do with Christianity or with a National Trust Easter egg hunt. It is all to do with Brexit – yes, Brexit – and what Theresa May is helping Britain to become. Little England’s idea of self-determination is all wrapped up in its fantasies of reclaiming its British identity and British values; coded xenophobia for reasserting white British supremacy over and against Europe and the immigrants they hate so much.
None of this is any different from the carry on we see in the fly-over states of the US with people getting upset over seasonal Starbucks cup designs and nativity scenes being removed from public spaces. It has nothing to do with religion whatsoever. This is a theatre of the great white culture war. Jesus has been appropriated in all of this is a symbol – a nationalistic and cultural symbol of white privilege and power, the very things the white majority in Brexit Britain and Tea Party America believe to be under threat from not-so-white outsiders.
The news flash here is that Jesus of Nazareth is more likely to have resembled Osama bin Laden than he was Theresa May’s old man. Okay, he never wore a bullet belt, carried an assault rifle, and gave orders to have people and things blown up. But, then, neither did he have a daughter who grew up to profess her Christian faith while on an arms industry junket to Saudi Arabia – a country that imprisons, tortures, and executes Christians, funds people like Osama bin Laden, and uses British munitions to murder innocent civilians in neighbouring Yemen.https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/849507242839822337
Theresa May’s Christianity is paper thin. So thin and hypocritical, in fact, it makes the baby Jesus cry. She headed up the department that sent vans around London boroughs sided with billboards telling illegal immigrants to go home. What Christian can see another human being – made in the image and likeness of God – as “illegal?” Theresa May knows more than most how this populist rhetoric appeals to the new British values lobby – people who haven’t darkened the door of a church their entire lives – and how symbols like Easter can be used to great effect against victim communities.
Since religion has been brought into this, and since my own Christianity has been brought into this, I’ll say this of Theresa: There is much in the tradition of my faith I have rejected. I don’t believe the Bible is a scientific manual of how the world was created, and the whole “God is love (1 John 4:8)” thing led me to ditch ideas like hell and purgatory a long time ago. But the more I come to understand people like Theresa May, her Brexiteers, and the thugs they inspire, the more I truly wish I had the faith to believe in a place like hell – a molten, fiery abyss to where the hand of eternal justice will consign those who visit real suffering and misery upon the heads of the innocent.
Theresa May outraged at the word ‘Easter’ being dropped from eggs!