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Voting wisely 

Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’

So God created mankind in his own image, 
in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’    
(Genesis 1:26-28)

Some thoughts ahead of this Thursday's General Election:

1. It is important for us to be engaged in the political process, and to vote.  The verses above, in Genesis 1, show that God has made us in His image, giving us responsibility for the world.  We should, therefore, exercise that responsibility.  Many will be tempted, at the moment, simply to ignore the political process, for all kinds of reasons - cynicism or despair amongst them.  But we should not abdicate our responsibility.

2. God has told us to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and this should inform our voting.  A great deal of electioneering (from a range of parties) is a naked appeal to selfishness - focussing the arguments on what will make me, personally, better-off.  We should think in terms of the good of our country as a whole.

3. A successful government will be one whose understanding of the world corresponds with reality.  In particular:

* That recognises the dignity of humanity, made in the image of God: this will lead to policies that encourage personal responsibility, defend human life where it would otherwise be undefended, and will provide for the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

* That recognises the fallenness of humanity, and which therefore expects crime and war, and so provides adequately for justice and security (Romans 13:4).

* That has the humility to accept that the world has many unexpected events (James 4:13-14) and that therefore does not make promises it cannot keep, and instead makes wise provision for a variety of contingencies.  And that also recognises the limits of its own abilities.

* And that, in the end, recognises that there is a God, whose own law is given us for our flourishing.  (That any government should think this seems wishful thinking, but I heard a talk by a former Lord Chancellor explaining that the English legal system is based on the Ten Commandments.) This is perhaps too much to expect in today's climate, but any sign of it (including in the views of members of the party) must be welcome!

Many governments (of different political stripes) have failed to govern well, because their own world views have been a naive, and sometimes arrogant, rejection of these realities.

There is so much more to say!  And what I have said above is not a veiled attempt to encourage you to vote for a particular party.  I haven't made up my own mind yet.

Vote wisely on Thursday!



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