Bishop Nicholas Christingle- original photo by Gill Ford
 

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by ben last modified 01 Dec, 2019 06:54 PM

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam

Christians and the General Election

I am sorry to mention the B word but Brexit is a strain and whatever happens in this election it is not going away. With an election in Advent as we prepare for the coming of Christ, what do Christians bring to the debate?

At such a fractious time as this, churches are hospitable and bring people together. Be generous to one another and listen carefully to the people with whom you disagree. Diversity is a gift from God. We need each other to be ourselves and we need to recognise that on earth we live in this one house, in which we need to have a care for the ecology, economy and ecumenism of our common home.

Christians ought to be good at this. Our Archbishop has made good disagreement an aim for a Church that sometimes struggles with difference but which in fact has almost 2,000 years of experience. Where the Church is holding hustings ask how best we can build community.

Truth matters. We live in a world of fake news and alternative facts with the echo chambers of social media feeding and reinforcing our views. I am heartened by the ways in which there is so much ‘Fact Checking’ in this election but it’s because we have lost trust. In a world in which it is difficult to be sure what is true, we Christians commit to being about the truth and accountable to it. So be surprised and challenging about the way those who would govern us make promises and break promises. It is not acceptable. 

Given the strains of the economy ask about the care of the poorest. Will the candidates commit to maintain 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid? It is ‘love thy neighbour’ and it is enlightened self-interest.

Having recognised there is a climate emergency at the recent Diocesan Synod with bush fires in Australia and floods in Yorkshire and Venice, ask the candidates what they think. What policies will support the rapid transition to a net zero carbon neutral economy? 

Pray for the candidates and what they stand for. Hold fast to that which is good, love God and love your neighbour as yourself. It is not a political manifesto but it does make the most enormous difference to life.

+Nicholas

Taken from our weekly Grapevine. Latest here

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