I know it’s a bit late, but it’s time for my election reflection (that’s actually mainly a repost of a comment I made on Rachel’s blog weeks ago).
This year, for the first time, I gave serious consideration to not voting, or at least spoiling my ballot. I’ve been thinking a bit recently about issues surrounding power and the Christian use of it, and I started to wonder whether it was something I wanted any part in.
I’ve heard and read quite a bit in the last few months on church unity, church history and several issues which have caused church division. It’s very clear the church has spent far too long acting as a worldly power, and far too little time as an imitator of Christ. There are many issues that everyone knows are important to the Christian vote, most of which are helpfully(?) listed by the Christian Institute, together with details of how your MP has voted on them in the past. Whether you agree with their interpretation of “Christian morals” or not (and personally, on at least some of those issues, I certainly don’t), a question remains over whether they are issues on which we have the right to demand legislation.
Is Britain still a Christian nation? Was it ever? Is a Christian nation even possible? Would it be a good thing if it were? I’m increasingly of the opinion that the answer to all those questions is “no”. Christ was a powerful voice because he spoke with humility from a position of service, and because he lived what he taught. His ultimate victory came in total submission and with the impression of defeat. He preached uncompromising truth, but initially required only one thing: repentance.
In a country where only about 5% of the population now attend church, can we really expect the election to reflect Christian values? Should we even want it to? And what is the aim of seeking to enforce a Christian morality in the laws of our nation? Are we hoping that we will somehow make people pure, and thus achieve their salvation by obedience to law? Is that the gospel?