Modern Believing


Modern Believing (2015), 56, (2), 237–258.


REVIEWS R. D. Harries, Faith in Politics? Rediscoverin.g the Christian Roots of our Political Values, 2nd edn. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2014. Pp. viii, 168. Pb. £12.99. ISBN 978-0-232-53181-7. When the first edition of Richard Harries’s book appeared in 2010, the sense of political crisis in the UK was profound. The MPs’ expenses scandal had wrecked the credibility of politicians, a messy election had led to the defeat of the New Labour project and the arrival of a coalition government threatened tough medicine for severe economic problems caused by malpractice in the financial world – a good time, then, for a book that took a step back from the specifics of any of those problems and asked about the system as a whole: was it redeemable and what do we actually want to change? This new edition is equally timely. The banks are no more popular now than they were then, journalism has been dragged over the coals, sex abuse scandals have wreaked havoc on public institutions, and politicians are not trusted. There has been some real political change, though. UKIP has shaken the political parties in England that have failed to inspire for some time. North of the Scottish border, 85% of the population voted in a referendum (45% of them to leave the UK). Harries’s book is entitled Faith in Politics, but in truth, the scope is significantly broader. It is really looking at the whole state of the UK – politics, law, economics and society. It begins by making its case for Christianity to speak at all on these issues in an increasingly secular public square, and establishes two fundamental building-blocks upon which the rest is based: that law must be tied to a conception of public morality and the common good, and that democracy is the political system that best values the innate dignity of all people. The second half of the book advances Harries’s own vision for politics. He is effusive in his support for the human rights movement and rightly notes that Christian concern as to whether rights undermine the need Modern Believing 56.2 2015 LUP, MB 56_2.indd 237 doi:10.3828/mb.2015.21 24/03/2015 14:00:17

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Author details

Ryan, Ben

Carter, Edward

Markham, Ian

Baldwin, Robert

Worthen, Jeremy

Knowles, Steve

Thatcher, Adrian

Lynch, Bernárd

Hopkins, Luke

Maslen, Elizabeth