Restoring the Sacred

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hilaire Belloc: Politics and Religion

Hilaire Belloc, one of the most prolific 20th century English writers, provided a lesson for today's overly ambitious and hypocritical seekers of political office.  He declared himself a candidate for the House of Commons, in 1906, at South Salford, in the general election.  His opponents immediately attacked him because of his religion and his nationality (he was born in France).  At least today's candidates here in America can only be attacked on religious grounds since religion, especially Catholicism, is the last acceptable prejudice in this country.

Unlike today's candidates who are apt to avoid confronting such attacks, Belloc confronted them head-on, and in his first public appearance as a candidate, addressed a packed audience as follows:
Gentlemen, I am a Catholic.  As far as possible, I go to Mass every day.  This [taking a rosary out of his pocket] is a rosary.  As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads every day.  If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative.
Belloc was elected, perhaps because voters in the England of 1906 valued honesty.

The above is from Literary Converts
by Joseph Pearce, Ignatius Press.