Revd John’s Reflections - In Praise of Politicians

Revd John’s Reflections
In Praise of Politicians

Father Jason is away for a few days and has asked me to write ‘Reflections’ for a change. Great, but what to write on? Why, the general election of course!

But isn’t that dicey? Everyone nowadays accepts that it is right for religion to ‘grubby its hands’ with politics, but people are wary of the clergy using their position to promote a particular party. In a recent letter to the flock on the election our two Anglican archbishops mentioned the word ‘stability.’  This was taken by a motley bunch of journalists, angry clergy and others to be coded support for the Tories because of Theresa May’s slogan about ‘strong and stable leadership.’  Oh dear! The letter also spoke of concern for the ‘weak, poor and marginalised.’ Who’d be an archbishop!

Despite this I shall continue, not in support of one political party, but all of them! I should like to cast my vote against cynicism. In my view, most of our politicians, when they can stop making snide comments about each other, are great, and genuinely desire the best for our country.  And democracy is wonderful! It is true that there has been a feeling in several countries that the ‘political class’ has lost touch, but the wonderful thing is that change is possible – as shown in the recent election of a French president who only formed his party a year ago!

Has democracy anything to do with religion? I believe so. The first democracy was in ancient Athens, but that was short lived.  Modern democracy grew in Christian soil in Europe, particularly from the Bible’s teaching that all people are equal before God.  In Britain, from Magna Carta to the Peasants’ Revolt to the gradual growth of parliament, over and over again the reforming leaders were influenced by this teaching. That is not to deny that progress was at times painfully slow, and it is shocking how the church was blind for long periods to such issues as the evil of slavery and equal status of women. Perhaps the slowness of it all should emphasise all the more how much we should value our democracy today?

So, cynicism be gone! Let us be thankful for our political system, and politicians too. In the light of history, let us value our right to vote. And of course, that means taking the time to turn out on 8th June.

Revd John