June 2017 From the Minster's Soapbox
Here we are again with an election to vote for.
While we are exercised by the same old issues that come with any general election there are a few new runners and riders in this year’s race. Possible devolution (again); paying for care; fox hunting- yea or nah and the Brexit negotiations. Plenty to choose from and in the last few days winter fuel and student loans have joined the list. Oh and cannabis!
What commands our vote will depend on our interests. Some people are thinking this is a more uncertain contest than it appeared at the beginning. There is a lot of complex stuff awaiting the next government and no mistake. But what should command our allegiance as Christians.
The Church in the USA struggled with their recent election and came down on the side of Trump in many denominations. They wanted a pro life president and a Supreme Court that saw things their way and they blocked out the other details that should have invited some real questions. Their wish list came at high price when you looked at what else the winner was offering. It has been a subject for repenting at leisure. Some churches brought quite a lot of pressure to bear on members.
Each of us will make our mind up for the UK vote and that perhaps is no bad thing. I am sure many in the US voted without the help of an institution.
Jesus stayed out of politics and did not endorse candidates but he said taxes were to be paid. He also talked about the poor, the oppressed, the needy and the outsiders for which he got into trouble. Paul was more political. He said ‘Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment,’ Romans 13:1. You might think the apostle was not having his best day when he said this. He was not writing an eternal dissertation on the relation of Faith and State. He was protecting the church from Nero’s whims; something that had not gone well for them under Claudius. Most of us would want a recount if God had elected Robert Mugabe. However, Paul was writing for those early critical days. He also said that leaders often don’t worry about those who promote good conduct. And Scripture does say we should pray for our leaders and reminds those in political leadership they will be judged on their actions.
So where do we go with this matter. Care budgets, Brexit and winter fuel payments may be your priorities. You may end up like the American Church having to stomach something unpalatable to achieve your wish list. Pray on that matter carefully if you are torn.
The campaigning is still going on and other surprises may appear. There is also time for a few mistakes to change opinion. What are the issues that should seal our vote on Election Day? Well I am not going further on this but please vote for someone. Vote for a candidate who has a heart for the nation and whoever gets in; pray for them!