Thursday, 25 April 2013

On Politics

As a local politician*, it has been interesting to follow tweets from a variety of sources over the last few months. What should the Christian response to political parties and politicians be? Here are some of my thoughts.

Obviously there is no one political party that has a monopoly on Christians. Christians in Politics links to the Christian groups within the 3 major parties, and is well worth a look if you are interested in such things.

Personally, I always think it amusing that we have a Christian Socialist Movement, a Liberal Democrat Christian Forum, and a Conservative Christian Fellowship. I suspect the choice of word tells us more about how Christians within each party would view themselves than they would care to admit!

As Christians, I feel we have an obligation to explore and challenge all political parties and their policies to ensure that they take account of Christian views. For those of us with a political allegiance, this means challenging our own party on occasions, and also accepting things from the opposition sometimes...
Those of us who are Conservatives need to be aware that Labour and Liberal Democrats might have good ideas occasionally; those who are Labour need to be aware that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats might have good ideas occasionally; and Liberal democrats need to be aware that both Labour and Conservatives might have good ideas occasionally!
Blindly accepting the stereotypes of their secular opponents and dismissing the opposition without engaging with them seems a profoundly unChristian way to operate.

We need to pray for all political parties that they will listen to the Christians within their ranks, and so allow God to speak to policy whoever is in power.

Almost every politician at every level is in politics because they want to make their community (be it district, county or country level) a better place. We might disagree with their politics, but it is hugely unfair to demonise people and dismiss their motives just because we happen to disagree with them about how best to improve things for everybody.

We need to pray for all politicians that they will keep the service of the country in their minds, and not seek power for themselves, but to serve others.

This applies even more when we think about our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we have ever thought "how can they be a Christian and a ... Tory, Labour, LibDem..." then we need to repent and start to think of people as fellow Christians first, and political opponents second. Our siblinghood in Christ transcends all other considerations after all.

We need to pray that Christians in all parties will listen to their consciences, and speak out for what they believe in. We need to pray that they will seek fellowship with their fellow Christians, meet to pray together, and work together to seek God's will for the country and Government.

*I am a member of both the Conservative party and the Conservative Christian Forum. I served as a district councillor for 4 years from 2008 to 2012. From 2010 to 2012 I was cabinet member for housing on the district council. I am currently a non-aligned member of my local town council.