Damian Thompson Damian Thompson

Brexit, Trump and the pious rage of the liberal clergy

Here are some statistics you’re unlikely to hear on Thought for the Day. Churchgoers in America backed Trump by 56 to 42 per cent – while six out of ten British Christians backed Brexit.

Now, clearly these aren’t identical constituencies: I didn’t spot much enthusiasm for the US president-elect among Christian Leave voters. But we can spot one shared trend. Churchgoers on both sides of the Atlantic ignored the earnest but quietly hysterical entreaties of liberal church leaders to spurn Leave and Trump. (You might say: American evangelicals don’t have left-leaning bishops – but American Catholics most certainly do, and they still voted for Donald Trump by 52 to 45 per cent.)

What a nightmare for liberal clergy! And, especially, for the ranks of England’s trendy vicars, many of whom are still Remoaning from the pulpit.

In today’s Holy Smoke podcast, we hear from Quentin Letts, a pillar of his local C of E parish in the diocese of Hereford but better known as the Daily Mail’s eternally mischievous parliamentary sketch writer. His bishop, the Rt Rev Richard Frith, has been one of Remain’s whingers-in-chief on the bench of bishops. And Quentin, as you’ll hear, has had enough.

Then I talk to Harry Mount, author of a forthcoming book on the Brexit wars. I asked him why trendy vicars – lavishly indulged by Thought for the Day and the even more unspeakable Radio 4 Sunday programme – bore on so relentlessly and predictably.

His answer is no more diplomatic than Quentin’s! You can listen here:

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