Keir Starmer accused of bigotry for daring to praise ‘Christian values’ a week before Christmas
Starmer tweeted a short excerpt from his Friday article for the Church Times, writing, “The best of British values that we’ve seen over the past year are the best of Christian values.”
The MP also attached the link to the piece, in which he argued that Christmas was the time to reflect on the passing year, which was full of “loss and difficulties”, but also highlighted “the best of humanity”. Starmer thanked the Christian community for “being at the forefront of social activism”, and urged Brits to use the “fundamental lessons of Christianity” as a “blueprint” for a better society.
While the tweet’s and article’s religious themes were quite clearly linked to the upcoming festive holiday, Starmer’s comments caused quite a stir, with many being quick to accuse the MP of racism and islamophobia.
“So Non-Christians don’t share British values? Is that it?” one commenter replied.
“Just say white values,” wrote another angry critic.
British values = Christian values.So Non-Christians don't share British values?Is that it?— Chris Corney (@ChrisCorney1) December 18, 2020
The best of "British" values are the best of Christian values? Really?— sjs (@blenkathra) December 18, 2020
Just say white values.— Conor ☘ 🏳️🌈 (@AhJayzis) December 18, 2020
Some saw the tweet as an “Islamophobic dogwhistle”.
What is inherently "Christian" or "British" about those values? "British values" was Michael Gove's Islamophobic dogwhistle that threw Ofsted and DfE into chaos for weeks trying to interpret & implement. Ashamed to hear you parroting it.— Karen Boyd (@valkyriekaren) December 18, 2020
Other commenters saw anti-Semitic undertones in Starmer’s message and brought up the fact that several members of his party have been accused of harbouring anti-Jewish sentiment – a claim they say is politicially motivated, due to their support for Palestinians. “Are you carrying on with that centuries-long tradition of Christians persecuting Jews?” one person wrote.
Labour had one leader outed for antisemitism and now it has a leader pushing a religion in Christianity!!! It is not Christian values that are the best of British values it is that of the British people. The worst values we have seen are those of a politician!!!!— Andy Hudson #KBF (@AndyHudson69) December 18, 2020
Some commenters even attacked Starmer for pandering to Conservative voters, saying his tweet was “straight out of the Tory playbook”.
Jeez, "Christian Values" straight out of the Tory playbook. 🤦♀️— Julie Ivers (@jiver66) December 18, 2020
Trying to out fash the Tories again is it?— ///expired film/// bliv hjemme 🎄🌹🇩🇰📸 (@sophiejdalston) December 18, 2020
A few tweeters, however, did not see any harm in the Labour leader praising Christianity at Christmastime, and defended Starmer.
“Come on people, there's nothing wrong with him talking about Christian values in a Christian publication on the eve of one of the two main Christian festivals,” wrote left-wing activist Owen Jones.
I've had my passionate criticisms of the Labour leadership, but come on people, there's nothing wrong with him talking about Christian values in a Christian publication on the eve of one of the two main Christian festivals... https://t.co/ScrJwdrOVu— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) December 18, 2020
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