Tag Archive | politics

Why as a Christian I am voting…

The link below to an article on “Why as a Christian I am voting Conservative” was posted on a group I’m on this morning and I thought it was worth sharing.

I absolutely won’t be voting Conservative this time, and I struggle to understand why Christians continue to support the ‘Right’ even in the face of all the evidence of how utterly un-Christian they are.

I think that, if you vote for the principle of small government (which on the whole I do – and in fact I have in the past advocated not voting at all, as voting validates a fundamentally corrupt system that I doubt can ever be anything but corrupt), you actually have to step up personally and be the ‘Big Society’.

I don’t see that happening.

And this is the issue. If individuals won’t act sufficiently charitably (and yes, I know the rise of foodbanks has been phenomenal, but it’s nowhere near enough to cover all the needs that government addresses), it cannot be ‘Christian’ to allow a slide back into Victorian laissez-faire government, where the rich and powerful thrive and the poor and powerless lose more and more at the mercy of people who, well, have very little real mercy, it would appear.

If you’re Christian and vote to cut the support out from under people who desperately need it, on principle, but offer no alternative (I seem to remember Margaret Thatcher talking about giving people a hand up so they can begin to help themselves, but I don’t see even that being talked about now), leaving people in despair, how is that Christian?

I do think that ultimately, we have to recognise that government can and must never be looked upon as saviour (as we are seeing so clearly in the US with Trump), and it is always a case of choosing the lesser of two or more evils. You just have to ‘pick your poison’.

But we can’t allow our choice of government, or our ‘principles’, to abandon people in the pit of despair without doing anything to help them.

https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/why-as-a-christian-i-am-voting-conservative/

There are lots of reasons why I would not vote Labour either this time round, but that is for another day’s discussion.

Thoughts on the SCOTUS gay marriage ruling

I’m seeing rainbows everywhere and it’s all very pretty…

But I’m curious to understand how the Supreme Court of the United States works, how did the case come before the Supreme Court, who brought the case, and is the granting of rights over all of the states the norm, or is it unprecedented? Is the Constitution affected in any way, and if so how?

I am wondering how the decision (that no state can deny marriage to a homosexual couple) affects the separation of church and state – does the ruling affect only civil weddings or religious weddings as well? If not, will the US take the next step, as the UK has, to permit gay marriage in churches? (If churches had decided to do it before the ruling, would the Government’s rules trump the churches? Would such weddings / marriages be declared illegitimate?)

Here in the UK we’re left with the ridiculous situation that only Anglican Churches are not permitted to conduct weddings for homosexual couples, not to mention the discrepancy between civil partnerships only being available to homosexuals, a situation which cannot possibly continue. The next logical and inevitable step is to declare, on equality grounds, that no churches are permitted to deny weddings to homosexuals.

That, like the ruling forcing businesses like Asher’s bakery and the bed & breakfast in Cornwall to do business against their conscience, would be a step too far, in my opinion, since it tramples on the rights of others to freedom of conscience amongst other things. But again, this is the inevitable logical conclusion when government is the arbiter of rights and liberties and has unfettered power to prioritise one group’s rights over another’s.

The permitting of rights, by the way, is antithetical to the very basis of UK law, which is grounded on the foundational idea that anything is permitted except that which is banned by government, as opposed to Napoleonic law which automatically bans anything which is not permitted by government – a very dangerous precedent and a very slippery slope. As I understand it (and I may be wrong, perhaps somebody can clarify this for me), this basic system of permitting rights is the US system as well.

And so then, more fundamentally, if the Supreme Court had ruled against gay marriage, how legitimate would that ruling be? (Was there an existing law banning gay marriage, or was it just automatically banned because it was previously not permitted?) At what point did the US Government become empowered to grant or deny rights? Do people even realise and understand the implications of it having such power?

If the Ireland vote a few weeks ago had ruled against gay marriage, the majority ruling against the rights of a minority, would that have been ok? Would it have been legitimate?

The whole idea that anybody should be permitted to vote against somebody else’s rights is troubling to say the least.

I saw a snippet of Rand Paul saying that the government ought to get out of the marriage business, and I’m inclined to agree (although I can’t find the exact quote, and I don’t know his reasons, so I wouldn’t go so far as to say I agree with him personally).

There’s a much bigger question about the role of Government, its boundaries, its legitimate powers, and I haven’t even touched upon the religious / spiritual dimension. That is perhaps for another post, when I have sorted through my thoughts.

Suffice to say that I’m uneasy about the whole idea of governments granting marriage licences (or refusing to do so), and on the other hand religious weddings aren’t, or perhaps shouldn’t be, the same entity as civil weddings. Of course there is no separation of church and state in the UK, so it’s all a bit more complicated.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts from a legal / liberty perspective. I hope it’s not too disjointed.

Election Thoughts

Where to begin?

I wouldn’t normally stay up, but last night I caught the election fever and stayed up all through the night until 5:45 am when North Cornwall declared their result.

Right from the first Conservative wins of the night, I was astonished at the results, and this morning I am still amazed. It was quite, quite different to what I had anticipated.

Perhaps I hadn’t been paying attention – I was sure that Labour would do well, UKIP would gain a number of seats, and the only way the Conservatives would get back in would be to do a deal with SNP or UKIP, leading inevitably to a Labour-based coalition.

I’m sure nobody was surprised by the fact that the Lib-Dems did badly or that the SNP did well, but the degree to which the Lib-Dems have lost (and SNP have gained in Scotland) seem astounding.

That Labour did so badly and the Conservatives did so well, after five years of austerity, wrongly directed at the poorest and most vulnerable in society, is… well, mind-boggling really.

Let me say that, for myself, and for every other home educating family in the UK, I am mightily relieved that our liberty is not immediately threatened as it would unequivocally have been had Labour won. Ed Balls specifically told us that he would “finish the job” of eradicating us if Labour got back in. So the fact that Balls has been snipped is deeply satisfying.

But for hundreds of thousands of people – the poor, the disabled, the vulnerable, the mentally ill, the needy of every kind, I weep.

Personally, I was not able in conscience to vote either way – Labour has moved massively to the right, and both Labour and the Conservatives have moved massively towards authoritarianism in the last 20 years.

The Liberal Democrats were probably the most liberal in theory but of course, they lost my vote a while back for not doing what they promised, and not reining in the Conservatives.

UKIP were libertarian in some ways, and the most moral in others, but oh how careless they have been, attracting the worst elements in politics. A vote for them would have been out of the question.

I love the Greens for many of the things they stand for, but they are the most authoritarian of all.

Knowing that my vote would carry no weight anyway in this constituency (and for a whole host of other reasons that I’ll elaborate on if asked), I voted “NONE” of the above.

I did seriously consider voting for Mebyon Kernow – I wholeheartedly agree that Cornwall is under-represented and should have its own devolved parliament. So I’ll be watching and supporting them over the next five years and hoping that they develop into a non-authoritarian alternative.

Something I have been disturbed about in the run up to this election was the way in which Christians (on the left and right of the spectrum) spoke as though they believed that government can be the saviour, making everything right, and fair and stable (and moral!).

It can’t.

I loved Russell Brand’s Trews response to the election

[ https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=rRUQ6aPvs58 – note this link will take you away from this site as I am posting via mobile and haven’t figured out how to open a new tab. Bookmark before yougo! 🙂 ]

– recognising, I think, that compassion is the key, and realising that making government your saviour doesn’t bring about the spiritual awakening that is required for true revolution.

Perhaps, ironically, a government of oppression will bring about that awakening? As unpopular as they are, I think that the food banks are evidence of that. Good people will react with love and kindness when they see need.

(Some people will inevitably respond with hatred and violence instead – in words if not physically – and I think that it must be the Church’s role to speak up for and show compassion as an alternative Way)

But of course, the love and kindness of good people hasn’t been enough for the last five years.

What about the others? The rich, the bankers, the landlords, the moguls of big business, and even the “we’re alright” lot who are just comfortable enough themselves not to care about those of us who are not? (It would seem there are an awful lot of them!)

How can they be reached? I don’t believe that Labour would have oppressed them enough to have a spiritual awakening and see they’re in the wrong – quite the opposite in fact.

I always have to come back to the fact that the only ultimate answer, the only saviour, the only real alternative is Jesus – compassion personified. Thy Kingdom come.