Leader of the United Kingdom’s Liberal Democratic Party, Tim Farron, announced on June 14 that he would be resigning, citing conflicts that he faced between being a political leader and a Christian.
“From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith. I’ve tried to answer with grace and patience. Sometimes my answers could have been wiser,” Farron said in his statement.
However, he said, he found it difficult to reconcile the requirements of being in his political position, and adhering to his Christian faith.
“To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible to me,” said Farron.
Farron, who has served in his position since July of 2015, has faced scrutiny over his views on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion throughout his term, reports say.
During one interview early during his term, when he was asked whether he believes homosexuality is sinful, he responded, “To understand Christianity is to understand that we are all sinners,” which became a point of contention ever since. He later said that he does not believe gay sex to be a sin.
However, he has expressed clearly that he believes abortion to be wrong.
Farron said that though he tried not to “impose” his faith to society because he believes “it’s not liberal and it is counter productive when it comes to advancing the gospel,” he still has remained “the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in.”
As a long-time Liberal Democrat, Farron said the party “is in [his blood].”
“I love our history, our people, I thoroughly love my party,” he said.
“Imagine how proud I am to lead this party. And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honour. In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something ‘so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all.’”
Farron will remain in his post until parliamentary recess starts in July. Jo Swinson, Vince Cable, Ed Davey, and Norman Lamb, are among the potential candidates to take up Farron’s position.