It’s May and elections are in the air.
This month we have had the local elections and next month is the general election. Society’s democratic muscles are certainly being given a workout and Brenda from Bristol has struck a sympathetic chord with a lot of people with cries of, “What? Another one!”
Should we complain though if we are being given a chance to voice our opinions, even if in some places the results are a foregone conclusion? We do at least have a chance to change things we don’t like, while in other parts of our world people suffer under totalitarian regimes. Being a free society even the Church can express its opinion. There is sometimes a debate about whether religion and politics mix. I would say that it is not the place of politics to inform religion, but religion can definitely inform politics.
Politics is about our interaction with one another in the community and how we can best order our lives for the benefit of the majority. Having an elected government is our chosen method to achieve that. Religion is about our spiritual wellbeing. Our souls outlast this world and when we leave it any government ceases to have power over us. So any system that has authority to guide and direct our lives for eternity should be able to inform how we are supposed to live our lives in this world.
Love and compassion is at the heart of the Christian faith and it is why we as a church look outwards to our community around and explore how we can best give more value to people’s lives. We are involved in the Food Bank. I also keep a listening ear on what’s going on in the community with all the housing developments and various neighbourhood plans. I am also looking forward to Hailsham FM soon breaking out of just internet broadcasting and onto the airwaves. That will have a tremendous impact upon our community and how we interact with each other. Many of our churches are tremendously proactive in social action in their communities.
It is therefore logical that churches can inform political debate. Do the candidates show by their deeds that they are proactive in seeking the best for their communities? Do expressed policies mean the best for people in society, especially the poor and most vulnerable? All of us who can, have a duty to vote even if we share Brenda of Bristol’s sympathies. Anyone who owns a Christian faith also has a duty to ask searching questions of the candidates and how they will work to benefit everyone in society. We need to make the Cross count!