I was - and am - saddened by Tim Farron's decision to step down as leader of the Lib Dems citing incompatibility between his faith and his role. I admire what I perceive as a gracious, honest and integrity-filled statement of his reasons - which will of course have read by many of other faiths or none. I've read many repsonses on line, ranging from generous to ungenerous, informed to uninformed, kneejerk to considered. What I'm writing attempts to be generous and honest, if not researched or espically considered.
I am sad that he feels he cannot continue to lead his party, and that for him the tension between faith and poltics has proved untenable at this level. I think, in principle, he is wrong to say that being a Christian and leading a political party is not possible, and the evidence of others through the years would support my view (and I don't mean the superficial claims made by some who, it seems, can go to church on Sunday and bash the poor in Monday). I also repsect that, for him, it is so. There are huge differences between general principles and personal experiences.
Many have commented on the unfairness of the repeated questioning on his views of same sex relationships, and, in my view, it was unfair, if by that we mean every other leader should have been asked the same or equivalent questions. There were questions he wasn't asked that others were; maybe that's unfair too. As my Dad used to say, no-one ever said life would be fair. I am saddened that this one question seems to have become the focus, and perhaps the tipping point, when there was so much that was uncontentious and positive... afterall his party increased thier number of MPs so presumably he did suceeded there.
I am glad and grateful for all people of faith, Christian and otherwise, who enter the world of party politics. I am grateful for their willingness to try to hold together faith and deeds, to make a difference for the good (imagine any of the parties without the salt and luight of their presence).
I wish Tim Farron well for the future. I pray that he finds peace and joy and fulfillment in his next steps. perosanlly, I wish he hadn't felt the need to step down and had been able to find a way to hold the tension creatively. If nothing else, his decision has reminded me of the reality of being open about faith in a very visible public role.