Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tamworth Hustings - 8 days to go

And the scores on the doors this morning are:

Conservatives 34%

Labour             34%

UKIP                13%

Lib Dems          9%

Green Party      5%

So with the first two parties being neck and neck, and the other three static, it is obvious that   each and every vote will indeed make a difference.

Why we should vote
In conversation with an enthusiastic and earnest Christian I found myself being challenged as to the hustings and told that we shouldn't be bringing politicians into the church building because, 'We should have nothing to do with the world!'

My response to this was, 'So we shouldn't be taking aid to nations where there is famine or war or natural disaster or any other need then?' And of course the answer, accompanied by incredulous raised eyebrows, was a resounding passionate, 'Of course we should; 'The Bible tells us to act for those in need and to defend the weak and the oppressed.'

This enthusiastic young believer was, of course, quite right and provided me with the opportunity to introduce St Augustine of Hippo (City of God) and his (paraphrased) words:

'Those who are citizens of God's kingdom are best equipped to be citizens of the kingdom of man ... for Christians, through faith in Jesus (the Christ), acknowledge that they are already citizens of heaven who merely reside as sojourners in this world,'

and yet this world according to Augustine (bk 9 - sect.17):

'Does not live by faith but seeks an earthly peace and in the end what it proposes, in the well ordered concord of civic obedience and rule, is the combination of men's wills to attain the things which are helpful to this life.'

It is the prayer of every Christian that this world is peaceably and rightly governed - but if this is an honest profession then surely it should be met with honest endeavour to bring this about. We act not just with our lips but with our hands - and in this case the hands are require to place a tick in a box and thereby play our part in the process of bringing into existence that 'right government' we so often pray for.

Of course, as Augustine likened government as being little more than a gang of thieves and robbers who having bested other thieves and robbers, rules over the people, gives us the reason for why we should vote, for should enough right thinking people fail to vote the government that is elected will (by the application of simple logic) be that which those who think wrongly voted for.

To vote having sought out those candidates who support Christian values, to support those parties whose manifestos display the closest correlation between the attitudes of this world and the demands placed on us to act with justice, humidity and mercy, is to bring our faith to bear in the matter of this world - and by doing so perhaps the Kingdom of God might be brought just a little closer in our political dealings.

Just a thought.

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