The Corner

Our Democrats and Britain’S Tories

A rather odd, strangely unsatisfying take on the current problems of US Democrats and British Tories by the author of that much-praised new book about the making of the King James Bible I was pleased to see,

though, that he brought up the name of the colorful Victorian atheist Charles Bradlaugh. There is a statue of this gentleman–the only one anywhere, I am willing to bet–in my home town of Northampton, England. Bradlaugh (1833-91) was elected to Parliament by the people of Northampton (who, I regret to say, have strong bolshie tendencies), but was not allowed to take his seat because he refused to swear the new Member’s oath on the Bible. A new election was held, with exactly the same result. A third election was held; Bradlaugh won yet again, and the authorities yielded, admitting him to Parliament on a non-religious “affirmation.” Bradlaugh was quite a character. On the hustings he used to begin an address by taking out his pocket watch and declaring: “God! You have thirty seconds in which to strike me dead!”

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