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British Liberal Democrat quits, says can’t lead party and be a Christian

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron speaks during the general election campaign launch in Manchester, Britain, on April 21, 2017. Reuters/Darren Staples/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) Tim Farron, the leader of Britain’s pro-European Union Liberal Democrat Party, resigned on Wednesday (June 14), saying questions about his Christian faith ahead of last week’s election meant he felt it was impossible to continue in the role.

The Liberal Democrats were the only nationwide party that campaigned to offer Britons another referendum on whether to leave the EU. But they failed to increase their support and have only 12 out of Parliament’s 650 seats.

Although the party could still play an important role with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives lacking an overall majority, Farron had been criticized for running a disappointing campaign and had faced repeated questions about his Christian beliefs, particularly whether he believed gay sex was sinful.

“From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith,” Farron said. “I’ve tried to answer with grace and patience. Sometimes my answers could have been wiser.”

He said the focus on his faith had been a distraction. The party’s spokesman on home affairs quit earlier on Wednesday, citing concerns about Farron’s views that were highlighted during campaigning.

Farron said he had concluded that it was impossible for him to stay as leader of a progressive, liberal party and live as a committed Christian despite not seeking to impose his views on others.

“I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in,” he said. “In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.”

The Liberal Democrats had joined the Conservatives in a coalition government led by David Cameron in 2010 after winning 57 seats. However, five years later they were routed and won just eight.

Farron had said his party would not support either May’s Conservatives or the opposition Labour Party in forming a government after last week’s election left no outright winner.

He will stay on in his job until the party starts the process of electing a new leader next month. Former Business Secretary Vince Cable and Jo Swinson, who was a junior minister in the coalition government, are the favorites to replace him.

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Michael Holden

25 Comments

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  • His statement was decidedly vague. I can appreciate his desire not to be a distraction, or lightening rod, but it would not be to his disadvantage to clarify his position on social issues as a measure of his system of faith, one way or the other. There will be those who agree and those who disagree. It was ever thus.

  • This is the new democrats, and the most astonishing part is they cannot even see their own hypocrisy. Their hate seems to increase daily, and their bullying as well. I hope he realizes that he has saved himself a boat load of aggravation and turmoil by leaving. I too have greatly distanced myself from the dems and hope the recent episodes of their hate mongering which have been rightfully called out is the wake up call they need. They will find more people are going to flee them and it’s a shame they have turned into what they are now.

  • In 2010, the Lib Democrats party won 53 seats and formed a coalition government with the Conservatives while their party leader assuming the role of Deputy Prime Minister. In 2015, the party dropped to 8 seats under Farron and then this election gained marginally (12 seats). Mr. Farron was clearly progressive in policy but Corbyn resonated with young voters and working class voters. Farron, Corbyn, and May also all delivered Easter messages. (PS Corbyn was apparently not well regarded within his party who thought he would cost the party seats as their leader.)

  • This article is missing important information for America readers who don’t follow British politics closely.. Does this man oppose gay civil rights, gay marriage? How does he view women’s reproductive rights? What exactly IS a Liberal Democrat in England?

    We can’t judge whether this is a matter of religious tolerance not knowing what the issues are. You can’t judge people for for opposing someone whose religious convictions might lead him to oppose matters that are dearly important to you.

  • I’ve been discussing he and his comments for weeks. God bless and strengthen this man! Help he and his family though this mess. This was an excellent choice!

  • Well if he plans to vote against civil rights for lgbt persons, I can certainly understand why other might oppose him. Nothing in this article is clear — I don’t know what he believes, or what he promised to do if elected.

  • I assume you are talking about British dems, not American — which I gather are two different things. But why would anyone be expected, simply as a matter of “tolerance” to vote for someone who doesn’t wish to grant full rights to people you care about?

  • It’s rarely the beliefs themselves, but what is done with them that is usually the problem. Tell me that you hold the traditional positon on human sexuality, whatever that is and whatever traditional means, and I might question you further and have a discussion with you. tell me that you intend to use the law that governs all of us to force that opinion on people who don’t share it, absent any reason but your beliefs, and you can expect a fight.

  • The Googly thing finds he has been erratic on gay rights legislation, and has tried to restrict abortion more than it is on several occasions. And people have brought it to repeated questions on if he thinks ‘being gay is a sin?’

    He was feeling conflicted and decided that to be true to himself he shouldn’t head the group. Totally reasonable decision on his part, I’m sure he has other things he can do other than head political parties.

  • There are many ways to serve the public without being the head of a political party. I’m sure there are other political parties that think his views are just fine, he can be the head of that one.

  • According to several British sources, Mr. Farron eventually stated that he didn’t believe that gay sex is a sin. He supported same-sex marriage. He didn’t think abortion should be illegal, particularly in dangerous situations, but said that “each time it occurs it’s a tragedy.” This caused flak in his party.

    The whole matter seems that he just couldn’t deal with constant pressure of having to answer for his faith where it seemed to conflict with the party’s philosophy. He felt it was all a distraction from his purpose of leading the party and needed to step down because of the loss of cofidence his party had had in him. He is admired for being forthright and recognizing the timing of his departure.

  • The answer is the same for all religions including a traditional Muslim in public service. Does holding the traditional position on Sharia law exclude one from public service?

    Easy answer — if your religion comes first…Yes, you get excluded from public service.

  • If the issue is whether to treat others as less than human and attack their civil rights, there is no need to have tolerance for their ideas. Moral obligations demand that one opposes such positions.

  • Liberals are ‘tolerant’ only when you agree with their ‘anything goes’ attitude towards sexual relations and procreation.
    In the USA Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently came out with a statement saying that YES, it IS possible to be Democrat and also be ‘prolife’. I never did understand why a person has to be on board with killing in-utero babies in order to be ‘progressive’.

  • Conservatives are tolerant only when you agree with their “do what I say that god says” attitude towards sexual relations and procreation.

    The only thing easier than knocking down a straw man is creating one to begin with.

  • So it sounded like he is a christian and yet also a liberal..if that’s the case he is in opposition with himself..correct me if i’m wrong here.

  • I voted for the conservative party here in the USA which means trump. I’m not a bigoted white male-christian man. I tolerate gays but i never oppress them face to face nor do i condemn them.gods word says what it says in the scriptures, if one wants to ignore those thoughts on homosexuality, murder, lying, adultery,fornication and so forth that’s a persons personal choice to follow. i try to follow all of gods design for my life, yet i do fail and yet have the “grace” to get back up and keep going! Was this Tim Farron a liberal in his party and a christian if so how are they congruent?

  • sounds to me, as if he is too ashamed to call himself a christian. if you claim to be a christian, you are going to have occult and cult enemies religiously.
    but The Worship, of ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son is ultraconservative. so there is no way, you can get away with being a christian and a liberal too without having a conflict of interest. liberalism, is demonic occult opposition to ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son.

  • personally i am against the passing of any law, that gives special privileges to occults or cults that are opposed to my religious belief. forcing anyone to accept, demonic or cult standards is unacceptable. religion is a personal thing, that the government should not regulate or legislate.

  • When you compare my quite harmless sex life, or whatever it is you are thinking about in the dark imagination of your heart, to murder, adultery, fornication and so forth, you are clearly demonstrating that you are not whom you claim to be,

    MEet Mr. Freud. You clear giveaway is “I never oppress them face to face.” I’m sure you just prefer to do it in the dark.

  • i have no reason to not be sincere, here in THEIR giving This Physical Story of The Creation again.
    apparently this whole world, has never head of Adam being put to death and being physically returned as The Male Child adam and his sister here in The Her Story(HaTorah).
    no matter how much all the living clowns, only think they all got out of being here in IT again.

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