The Queen Is To Invite Donald Trump To Britain. Time For The Christian Virtue Of The 'Stiff Upper Lip'
We've had Brexit and Donald Trump. Troubles always come in threes. The next shock to our national psyche could be Honey G wins The X Factor. Anything now seems possible. Even Donald Trump visiting Britain next year.
Yes, he is to be invited by the Queen on a state visit next summer.
We Brits might not particularly like it, but it is time to reactivate one of our national characteristics: the Stiff Upper Lip. There really is not much choice. And the rest of the world must learn from us. Post-election violence after a democratic vote is not a good thing.
The stiff upper lip exemplifies one of the great Christian virtues: fortitude.
We've been shown the way by the Queen herself.
We recently had dinner with someone who knows someone who had dinner with the Queen.
Precisely what happened must remain secret – but the guests were left in no doubt whatsoever that whatever might be happening in our wider world, as far as the British Royal Family is concerned, the established order prevails. No doubt at all.
And now the Queen is to invite Trump to Britain, after he is sworn in as president next month. This is an astonishing turnaround. Less than a year ago, MPs were debating whether to ban Trump from Britain.
So where in this can Christians find reason for fortitude?
In the US, Trump's support from the Christian vote was strong. He decisively won a majority of those self-identifying as Catholics, by 52 to 45 per cent. By contrast, President Barack Obama won Catholics narrowly, by a margin of 50 to 48 per cent, in 2012. More than eight in 10 evangelicals who voted, voted for him.
Kelly Shackelford, President of First Liberty Institute, the nation's largest law firm devoted to defending religious liberty for all Americans, and who took part in a meeting of Evangelicals with Trump during the campaign, said the onus was now on Trump to make good on his promises to guarantee religious freedom.
This was the issue that determined the support from evangelicals and Catholics.
Shackelford told Christian Today: "We are focusing on religious freedom. We see a lot of opportunities. He's spoken out on a number of religious freedom issues. We are hopeful we are going to see some positive changes.
He heard him promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which restricts churches and other non-profits campaigning from the pulpit on political issues. "I was in a meeting with heads of ministries and evangelicals from around the country. He came to the meeting and he was appalled. He could not believe ministers were being shackled or censored in that way. He made a commitment to change that."
Continuing fall-out from the Hobby Lobby case and the Little Sisters of the Poor, both around the conflict between their and the state's views on contraception provision, also helped Trump win the Christian vote. Given that so many Christians found both Trump and Clinton problematic from a moral point of view, the religious freedom issue, and with it that of Supreme Court appointments, became the most important in deciding the vote.
So evangelicals and Catholics now want to see Trump deliver.
Dr Jay Richards, who grew up evangelical but converted to Catholicism and co-founded with televangelist James Robison The Stream, which offers a Judeo-Christian and ecumenical perspective on the hot topics of the day, said Trump's "most significant" pledge was to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court.
Those Christians who voted for Trump at the last minute might not have liked his character or the way he spoke about immigrants. The fact that he is on his third wife and had lived a "sexually profligate" life was a "huge stumbling block" for Christians. In the end, it did not count against him because "the alternative was Hillary Clinton, and she's worse".
Where it did make a difference was that many Christians who voted for him never publicly admitted this because they were "embarrassed" by this past behaviour.
Richards told Christian Today that Trump was "flabbergasted" when this restriction on free speech by pastors was explained to him.
But he said that while his pledge to do something about the Johnson amendment had some effect, but it was his "broader defence of religious liberty and protecting Christians in the public square" that was most important.
People were worried that small businesses, florists and bakers, would be "compelled" to take part in things they fundamentally disagreed with.
A lot will depend now on what happens next, what Trump actually does. And this will come through in his appointments – as it already is. "The appointments to key positions will tell us more about what is going to happen in the next four years than anything else," said Richards.