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Democracy

This General Election is bringing in a new level of Christian engagement

 

There’s something about the build-up to a General Election that is both fascinating and morbid at the same time, as we, the electorate, see a group of gladiators – some seasoned veterans and others fresh to the scene, eager to capture some of the glory – attempting to take chunks out of each other while avoiding too many self-inflicted wounds in the process. We, the voyeuristic audience, get to watch the drama unfold in minute detail before finally raising our hand and making our mark for the one we have decided is worthy of the prize.

As always with this game of politics, we get to see the headlines and the big names giving us the spin, a few manifesto commitments if we’re lucky, and the odd comment about nuns not being qualified teachers. Behind those there is a huge machinery grinding away nationally and locally which we rarely get to see see. Yet despite (and because of) all of this effort and drama, voter dissatisfaction remains at rock bottom. Polls on trust in professions consistently show that everyone is trusted more that our politicians, even estate agents, and although voting percentages have picked up since the record low of the 2001 General Election, a third of the electorate will probably not vote in May.

But we can say that Christians are continuing to buck that trend. Soon to be published figures from a survey of 2,000 Evangelical Christians conducted by the Evangelical Alliance has found that 94 per cent said they were certain or likely to vote, while, of these, 80 per cent said they would definitely be voting on May 7th.

Living out the Christian faith means that engaging with the world around us is not an option. As Dave Landrum, the Director of Advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, writes in the foreword to Guy Brandon’s Votewise 2015:

God is interested and involved in politics because politics is the process by which we achieve government – the right ordering of our relational priorities. God has a view on what we as a society should spend or not spend money on. He has a view on how we steward the power we have because it ultimately belongs to him. Indeed we cannot be in authority unless we are under authority, and he is the ultimate authority. So, because the government (all government) is on his shoulders, we are accountable for the decisions we make for each other. Put simply, being made in his image we are designed to govern because  government is the family business of God.

On this basis, the question is not whether we should be involved in politics, but how. Christians should not – indeed cannot – disengage from politics.

Jesus tells His followers to go into the world and make disciples of all nations and also to serve the vulnerable and needy, which is rather difficult if you’re spending your entire life sitting in front of the TV. Most Christians might not have much more faith in politics than the rest of the nation, but at least many understand the importance of participating in the democratic process.

Churches and Christian organisations together are probably the biggest group behind the Electoral Commission, spending time and effort getting their members to vote. We’re seeing a flurry of activity in this area at the moment. The Evangelical Anglican group Fulcrum held an election event at Westminster on Tuesday with Labour peer Baroness Sherlock and Conservative MP Caroline Spelman. During the discussion, Spelman said that her faith was “the core of my strength in a very difficult job” and her “benchmark for deciding right and wrong”. Christian Aid and the Children’s Society will be hosting a Faith and Politics conference in London on 28th February, examining if and why Christians should be involved and engaged in politics. Speakers will include Rowan Williams, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Giles Fraser and a number of Christian MPs. The Christians in Politics ‘Show Up‘ campaign, which has widespread support, looks to be gaining momentum. Director of Christians on the Left, Andy Flannagan, has a book due to be published this week entitled Those Who Show Up, which ties into the campaign.

Some of the main players have also launched their own election websites, including the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE), the Evangelical Alliance and CARE’s EngaGE15 site, which is particularly informative on a range of traditional Christian areas of interest – justice, life and family issues such as trafficking, abortion, marriage and religious liberty (though Christians should and do care about other issues too). You can find out how your current MP has voted in all of these areas, which is particularly useful for those wanting to quiz candidates at local hustings. Again, CARE has a comprehensive range of hustings resources for churches to make use of.

Hustings are a key area of focus that churches are being asked to get involved in and help organise. On the run-up to the 2010 General Election, churches ran 67 per cent of all hustings. Many others were hosted in church buildings. Churches are incredibly good at putting these together because they have the energy and resources that few other community groups possess, and they are usually seen as politically neutral. One complaint that a Christian leader who visited several hustings last time round has mentioned to me is that, whilst churches excel at the hospitality, when it comes to debates, the chairperson tends to be a bit too ‘More tea vicar?’ and not enough ‘David Dimbleby’. Candidates are generally given too much of an easy ride and are not challenged sufficiently on some of their claims and opinions. There’s nothing wrong with Christians being nice and welcoming, but there’s nothing wrong with having some bite too.

There are some interesting observations to be made relating to this particular election. One key factor is the prominence of Evangelical organisations. They have been mentioned several times, not because of any theological bias, but because that is the state of play. Liberals might still be making the most noise when it comes to equality, but when it comes to serious political engagement Evangelicals are leading the way and continuing to up their game. This could be seen as a method to gain influence and exert their faith outside of the Church, but having personally met and listened to many working in politics at all levels, including Government, this is far from the impression given. Rather they see it as God’s calling to be serving others and bringing integrity into this arena.

Things have moved on somewhat since the mid-to-late 20th century when Evangelicalism withdrew from public engagement and focused its attention predominantly on biblical doctrine and personal salvation. Churches and individual Christians have moved on from passive expressions of disappointment with and criticism of the state of society, to a more proactive engagement and remedial participation, most often at local community level. We are now seeing this extend further into the national realm of politics, with a desire to see faith and trust restored.

It is my belief that God is once again doing new things through His Church, and a sign of this is the level of unity that is drawing in different Christian groups and denominations to work toward a common cause. There is a new-found energy and sense of vision.

As we head towards May, there is a consensus that the party political landscape is being shaken up and entering a new and uncertain period. At the same time, the Church is rediscovering its political vocation. As a new ways of doing politics supplant the old political order, we can expect to see Christians increasingly at the centre, seeking to bring in the light of God’s kingdom and serving the common good.

  • Anton

    It’s not just Christians. Everybody is more interested in this election, because the ScotNats and UKIP are new and significant factors.

    This is the one time every 5 years when you can, without bothering to go to meetings, grill the political classes. When candidates or their representatives call in person asking for your support, do not tell them rapidly that you won’t be voting for them. Their only desire from that moment is to save their time and get away. Keep them hanging and ask them tough questions which you have thought out in advance.

  • Inspector General

    One is sure the kind of social media like Cranmer has enlightened many as to how far off the consensus our politicians really are. Let them sweat over what is going to happen to them in 3 months time…

  • sarky

    People are interested in this election because they want to give the political elite a good kicking. Politicians are now totally detached from the man on the street. Parties like UKIP are doing well because they have managed to bridge that gap. Their ‘fag and a pint’ brand of politics resonates with ordinary people.
    Will the Christian vote make any difference? I doubt it, there are just not enough of you.

    • Nick

      And you are actually happy that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch?

      • sarky

        Of course not, but until the system for selecting MPs is thoroughly overhauled, we are stuck with voting for the best of the worse.
        Its not so much voting for what to have for lunch, but voting for who leaves us with the most lunch!

    • Anton

      Well sarky it depends what you mean by Christian. Well over half of the people in Britain state that they are Christian on their census returns yet never go to church and you are probably as perplexed about that as we who go to church are. I agree with your first paragraph, by the way.

      • sarky

        You’re talking about cultural christians. They are not sure what to tick so tick christian by default. I think this is changing though and that the next census will show a large percentage of ‘no’ religion.

        • DanJ0

          I’d like to see a more searching question written explicitly for Christianity so that the true figure can be determined. It’s important in our post-Christian era if we’re to use the figure to determine how things ought to be ethically and politically in the UK.

          The question should be something like: “Do you accept that Jesus was both man and god, who died on the cross and rose again from the dead, and that in doing so he took the punishment for your sins so that you don’t have to once you have accepted his divinity.”

          That should separate the sheep from the goats, so to speak. No more ticking Christian for having a wishy-washy and lightweight belief in a god thing without the associated theology, and hoping that one will go to heaven anyway if one is nice most of the time.

          • sarky

            Thats bang on. Cant see it happening though. Would make a few people on here sit up and realise they are in a smaller minority than the minorities they seem to despise so much! !

          • dannybhoy

            That’s kind of dumb.
            Most Christians know we are are small minority anyway.
            Called to be salt and light in society.
            I think there are Christians and Churchians.
            Christians believe in a relationship with the living God with all that ‘relationship’ implies,
            and Churchians tend towards ritual, structure and outward observance,
            whilst believing that they can also be accepted by secular society.
            True Christians know that they will never be accepted…

        • Anton

          Sarky,

          There is no such thing as a “cultural Christian”. It is not a tribal religion but a religion of belief. Like you I am in no doubt that these people are kidding themselves, ad I have no problem with atheists (I was one); I just wish people would be honest about what they believe.

          I disagree with Danjo beneath only in that I wish the census wouldn’t ask about religion (rather than ask in more detail). Secular politicians have spent a lot of time and effort insisting that religion is a private matter – especially when they are caught with their trousers down and pulpits remind congregations that if a man’s wife can’t trust him then how can the electorate – but then suddenly every 10 years they demand to know what your deepest private beliefs are. None of your business, Caesar.

  • Nick

    I’m 42. I have voted ever since I have been free to vote. In the last European elections I went into the polling booth, took my ballot paper and wrote ‘Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote.’

    It was my first and possibly only spoiled ballot paper (I think everyone should spoil a paper once in their lives).

    It is an untenable position to brag about the political engagement of the majority of Christians across denominations when a huge segment of that community has no freedom to vote (I mean Christian young people).

    We are often encouraged to pray for our politicians (and their houses and their policies and every whim they ever had) but we are rarely encouraged to question the system. Instead there is simply condescension towards 16 and 17 year olds. We simply say: ‘Give them the vote and they won’t even use it’. Then we disapprove of all those who don’t vote due to an apathy which we do not even give young people the freedom to choose.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Most 16 and 17 year olds hardly know there elbow from from there ankle.
      God says despise not the hoary head because they have wisdom with their age. Voting age should never have been dropped to 18.

      • dannybhoy

        Agreed, but then we should have uniformity across the board. So a youngster becomes an adult at say, 21. Then they shouldn’t be able to go to war until 21, or drive at 21, or perhaps even marry until 21!
        Or 20.
        Or 19.
        At what age is it deemed truly acceptable for a young man or woman to be ordered into a theatre of war by politicians in their 40’s or 50’s?

      • Nick

        The Bible also says (in Timothy): “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…”

        You may also want to think about why Christ came to the conclusion that it was the youngest (i.e. children) who deserved better rights rather than the elderly.

        • Shadrach Fire

          The Bible also speaks of Elders having the responsibility.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    Spelman said that her faith was her ‘benchmark for deciding right and wrong’

    Spelman ‘voted very strongly for allowing marriage between two people of same sex’. Where was the benchmark when she needed it? Is she an example of (a) political hypocrisy, (b) Christian hypocrisy, or (c) both?

    • DanJ0

      Or perhaps she’s off-message regarding mainstream Christian sexual morality and her personal hotline to God was down when she was soul-searching?

      Here’s part of her justification to her constituents:

      I have wrestled with the question of what would Jesus do and have come to the conclusion that I cannot look my friends in the face, simply because they are gay, and say that marriage is not open to them.

      She should have just said something along the lines of personally thinking it is wrong but wanting to balance her own faith with her representative duties.

      • dannybhoy

        Very simply neither a devout Christian nor a devout Jew can endorse the notion of gay marriage because God does not give us that option.
        He created them both male and female, but not homosexual.
        Whether a person is born gay or “learns” to be gay, the gay lifestyle is condemned in both Judaism and Christianity.
        So Christians can say that homosexuality is a part of the whole ‘estrangement from God’ thing, the sinful and rebellious nature that we all exhibit.
        Therefore there is a social dimension to homosexuality that is imv truly dangerous and evil, but it is also wrong to single out homosexuals as ‘evil people.’
        I personally believe we should welcome homosexuals into our churches, so that they can experience Christian love and hesar the Gospel of Redemption.
        If they make a profession of faith we should do everything possible to support them, pray for them and include them.
        We Christians stood by whilst for example, the Jews were persecuted. We were desperately wrong then, and we are desperately wrong to scapegoat homosexuals as some do now.

        • DanJ0

          Perhaps you should let Caroline Spelman know. Obviously as an a-theist I have rejected the core premise on which your morality and associated reasoning is based so it’s just stuff to me as no doubt Islamic theology and all that follows from that is to you. I have no intention of attending a church or mosque even if I’m welcomed, any more than I intend to attend a Jehovah Witness Kingdom hall. How you treat homosexual Christians is of course something to work out between yourselves. That said, we must all carry on somehow and we need to share our social space even though we profoundly disagree on some things.

          • dannybhoy

            First of all, all who comment on this blog are wearing glasses with frames made by Judaeo/Christian values and lenses composed of material from our personal family background, our self image, our educational and employment attainments .
            We cannot, repeat CANNOT, escape from this reality.
            If we had been born into a red Indian tribe, or an African bushman tribe, or an Afghani tribe we would have a different worldview and a different set of values.
            Do you agree with this?

          • sarky

            I think that what you have just described is the absurdity of religion. Richard Dawkins wrote about this in the ‘god delusion’. This is why not one person has ever been born a christian. You will only ever be a christian based on your geographical location and the indoctrination by your parents or the culture you live in.
            ( by the way its ‘native American’ not ‘red indian)

          • dannybhoy

            “( by the way its ‘native American’ not ‘red indian)”

            When the “non Christian pragmatic Europeans” started fighting ’em, they were Red Indians, Country cuzzins referred to them as “Injuns.” because Christopher Columbus thought North America was India…
            http://www.nmm.ac.uk/explore/sea-and-ships/facts/explorers-and-leaders/christopher-columbus

            “You will only ever be a christian based on your geographical location and the indoctrination by your parents or the culture you live in.”

            This is manifestly not true, as over the centuries people right across the world have become Christians.
            Christianity began from Israel (known as Palestine under the control of the Roman Empire.)
            The first Christians were Jews who walked alongside Yeshua haMeshiach during His three year ministry, death and resurrection.
            They were forced to accept the divinity of Christ, that not only did He heal and raise the dead, but forgave sins (only God could do that) and spoke openly of His impending death and resurrection.
            The faith spread across the Roman Empire and came to Europe.
            Europe proved to be the most receptive and accepting of Christianity, and thus began the long journey towards the society we have now.
            My view is that there is always a clash between the Kingdom of Light and the kindom of darkness, so the battlelines betwen the two are constantly moving and changing.
            What I think one have to accept is that we have the privilege of being born into societies shaped or influenced by Christianity, even when those societies have eventually rejected Christianity for personal freedom which eventually becomes chaos and then totalitarianism.

          • DanJ0

            Probably best not to refer to black people as niggers, though, based on the fact that people used to do that in times gone by.

          • dannybhoy

            Who’s that to?

          • DanJ0

            You. Hence the reply-to indicator.

          • sarky

            This is manifestly not true, as over the centuries people right across the world have become Christians.

            Yes but they didn’t just wake up one morning as christians did they? We sent out missionaries to civilise the natives.

            Heard a story once,

            “The elder of a tribe took a missionary to one side and said “now we know of your jesus if we reject him will we go to hell? ” the missionary replied “now I have told you of him, then surely you will”, the elder replied “then why did you tell us? ”

          • dannybhoy

            Cool story,
            but I don’t see a Biblical justification for the missionary’s statement. Unless he meant that if a person having seriously considered the claims of Christ Jesus, and what is at stake, dies without making his/her peace with God, then they will go to Hell because they obviously don’t want to be with God.

            After all, what is so terrible about being a Christian, apart from giving up one’s independence and submitting to the Lord Jesus.
            And what is so terrible about Jesus that you wouldn’t want to be like Him?

          • DanJ0

            “And what is so terrible about Jesus that you wouldn’t want to be like Him?”

            I’m sure he was lovely in his own way but I don’t reckon he’d be that much fun at parties. Also, he’d be too busy preaching to go jet-skiing, which I quite like myself as it happens. Small things, but important nonetheless.

          • William Lewis

            “… but I don’t reckon he’d be that much fun at parties.”

            Too much wine?

          • Not much fun at parties you say? Wasn’t it Jesus that turned water into more wine when it ran out the party! I’d say he was

          • DanJ0

            An allegory, surely. One shouldn’t knock people who provide the booze at a wedding or whatever but I’d have preferred an account of some outrageous dad-dancing or something.

          • sarky

            Not to keen on beards and sandles chafe awfully!

          • The Explorer

            What are sandles?

          • sarky

            Predictive text!

          • William Lewis

            ” the elder replied “then why did you tell us? “”

            to which he could have replied “to set you free”.

          • sarky

            From what?

          • William Lewis

            Helpless, hopeless ignorance.

          • DanJ0

            The Jehovah Witnesses say the same thing, albeit in a more oblique way.

          • dannybhoy

            New day, new thoughts..
            Both yourself and DanJ0 fail to offer a reasonable explanation for why it is better to be born into a society largely shaped by Christianity. You fail to explain why it is mainly Christians who acting on their beliefs have inspired and initiated positive changes in society such as I listed earlier.
            Not atheists or even agnostics, Christians.

            Atheists take for granted the benefits and freedoms Christianity has helped bring about, and spend most of their time attacking the strictures that Christianity asserts are necessary for a fair and just and compassionate society. Atheists assert that we should allow people the freedom to express themselves without any sense of accountability to a God.

            But if we follow the logical outcome of this thinking we would descend into chaos and savagery, unless…

            And what is the “unless?”
            Unless we humans devise laws that protect the rights of everybody. The only way this can be done is to have a centralised, allpowerful government to enforce the laws and ensure the population obey them.
            It then helps to have a strong and invasive police force to check up on what people are doing and pull them in for “re-programming” or “termination.”
            Sounds familiar?
            Of course. It’s a totalitarian state.

            This is the only solution atheism can offer.They can’t appeal to “man’s better nature”, because they have no underlying foundation for what constitutes a better nature or code of conduct.
            Because they believe everything including man, is the result of a Cosmic accident, then realistically the value of man and how society will function would depend on whoever was powerful enough to enforce his definition on his fellowman.

            So in my opinion you two take for granted what you now enjoy (chafeless sandals and ski-jets) yet you continue to make judgements on why we Christians are wrong or narrow minded or gullible, even ignorant.
            This shows that you believe you know better.

            That is therefore the basis on which I believe, God will one day judge you and find you lacking. You will have no Advocate to plead your case before a Holy and Righteous God and come under His judgement.

          • Phil R

            Not Dawkins Sarky.

            Every Atheist I know regards Dawkins as an embarrassment.

            The stupid statement is easily refuted by just one example and there have been hundreds.

          • sarky

            Explain.

          • The Explorer

            Christianity would agree that not one person has ever been born a Christian. Our natural condition is rebellion. There has to be a choice to turn to God. For Dawkins, it’s the same as a nationality Believers would not agree.

          • sarky

            But which god you turn to depends on where you are born.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, that’s a valid point: on your part, and on Dawkins’. I think it’s a real problem if one is what is known as an exclusivist. (Your example of the question put to the missionary). But not for an inclusivist like C S Lewis, who said that we don’t actually know what God’s arrangements are with regard to other religions, but that Christians might recognise one another across creeds.

          • DanJ0

            No, on multiple counts. Also, I’m widely travelled.

          • dannybhoy

            So go on, explain your multiple counts.

          • DanJ0

            The frames are constructed from many components, which includes Christianity amongst others. I know very well that I’m a product of the society in which I’ve been brought up but I reject that I cannot escape from that. For sure, I will always carry some of that around but I’ve travelled enough to incorporate new parts too.

          • dannybhoy

            In what capacity and why did you travel?
            And please list your counts…

          • DanJ0

            Huh?

          • dannybhoy

            “No, on multiple counts. Also, I’m widely travelled.”

            “For sure, I will always carry some of that around but I’ve travelled enough to incorporate new parts too from elsewhere.”

        • Phil R

          “I personally believe we should welcome homosexuals into our churches, so
          that they can experience Christian love and hesar the Gospel of
          Redemption.”

          You see I am not sure that is a good idea for a number of reasons.

          However let is test the idea of democracy here. If we put it to the vote then we are all responsible and if things go wrong we all in a way, share the blame. Not so likely to create a responsible outcome as we are voting for something to happen in this scenario, that we have little if any responsibility for

          If the decision is with a Council of Elders or an individual elder, then blame for problems would lie with them and a more responsible decision might be possible. Certainly a reversal of policy would be possible upon representation, without the pain and delay waiting for another vote.

    • Inspector General

      Not a CoE bishop is she…

    • Graham Wood

      JR Indeed so, and she was joined by 365 other MPs who voted for this, the most degrading and disgraceful Act ever to be passed by a British Parliament, many of whom are professing Christians, but who clearly are not able to differentiate between right and wrong.
      If their judgment cannot be trusted on such a basic issue as the nature of God given marriage, how can they be trusted to exercise moral decisions in other areas of policy?

      • Arguably, the “most degrading and disgraceful Act ever to be passed by a British Parliament” was the Abortion Act in 1967. Then, in the same year, again without an electoral mandate, the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised homosexuality. Like this equally disgraceful legislation, there was no electoral mandate secured by the Government.

        • DanJ0

          I see you’ve finally come clean now about decriminalising homosexuality. I don’t think you dared here before now, knowing that most Christians seem to recognise the previous social injustice, though it was always obvious to me what you really thought.

          • It was decriminalised on the basis it was a ‘disability’ and the minority suffering from it should not be persecuted but allowed to live discreetly and quietly. An early ‘Care in the Community’ approach. Jack and most Christians would support this position. But look where the goodwill of Parliament and the liberals has taken us.

            Leave it as decriminalised, remove those suffering from it as a protected group with special status under Equality legislation, bring back Section 28 to protect children from this disability, and remove the sham of faux same sex ‘marriage’, is Jack’s position today.

            However, the point being made is that significant issues such as this, abortion and same sex marriage, and now embryonic experimentation, are not put to the people or debated prior to elections.

          • DanJ0

            Now, now, don’t regress again. It’s out in the open so you may as well run with it. The legislation you think is as equally disgraceful as the Abortion Act, which many Christians consider has decriminalised the murder of babies, stopped us from being locked up for acting on our sexual orientation if caught and convicted. The sentence was up to two years, with or without hard labour. Can you imagine the outrage here if I suggested Christians were locked up for a similar time for manifesting their religion?

          • Not so good at English comprehension this afternoon, Danjo. Or are you missing your ‘fix’ of manufactured squabbles with Jack? Phil not ‘doing it’ for you?

            Jack’s reference to “this equally disgraceful legislation” was to same sex ‘marriage’ as you would have appreciated if you had read the comment he was responding to. Do try to keep up and not let your animus cloud perception.

            As Jack has said, he accepts the decriminalisation of homosexuality for humanitarian reasons but not its normalisation, the preferential treatment it receives or its active promotion. The behaviour should be marginalised as deviant and damaging.

            If the activities of homosexualists continue to harm the common good, Jack might shift his position.

          • DanJ0

            “Or are you missing your ‘fix’ of manufactured squabbles with Jack? Phil not ‘doing it’ for you?”

          • Danjo, you do want an exchange?

            An analysis of recent posts? These show you, after an absence, making a ridiculous complaint against Dannybuoy and then launching your usual repetitive and boring attacks on Phil. If Jack wants to interject, he will. As you’ve pointed out, it’s not your blog and Jack is following the comments policy. If you want to reply, do so. If not, don’t. Simples.

            “As I’ve said before many times, I’d rather not engage with you at all …….. “

            *scratches head*

            For the record, who actually initiated this particular off-topic exchange with the banal comment: “I see you’ve finally come clean now about decriminalising homosexuality. I don’t think you dared here before now … “? And all to ‘prove’ what? Some obscure personal point or other in an imaginary war you are waging with this ‘Dodo’.

          • dannybhoy

            DanJ0 uses Christian presuppositions when it suits him and then, (using the assumption that all men are free and objective) attacks those Christian values.
            I am more and more convinced that atheism behaves like a parasite. It takes for granted the values that Christianity offers and then uses those values to attack it.
            Atheism doesn’t recognise that as a philosphy it is not afforded recognition in any other major religion.
            In fact atheists are not recognised as such nor given any voice.

          • DanJ0

            “It takes for granted the values that Christianity offers and then uses those values to attack it.”

            That seems like a fair thing to do to me. We almost all do the same thing with Islam here. Or perhaps that’s not what you’re saying? Perhaps you mistakenly believe that the values society operates on are Christian ones rather than evolved ones?

          • dannybhoy

            But the point is……
            You are using those values (which you say you reject because you don’t accept Christianity) to judge other people and other religions.
            To be really objective you would have to try and start from nothing at all, and build a philosophy that offered a reasonable explanation for the world as it is and why human beings should be treated any differently to animals.

          • DanJ0

            Why on earth would I have to start from nothing at all? Look, I don’t know where you going to go with this but I’ll say something I used to say quite a lot some years ago in anticipation. I don’t believe there is a single, coherent morality to be found, and I don’t believe in moral facts in their purest sense either. I have no problem explaining why we should treat our fellow humans any differently to non-human animals; we’re a gregarious, variously empathic, self-aware species which lives in societies. Christianity doesn’t have sole ownership of the Golden Rule (of either form of it). Reciprocity seems to arise out of our human nature, I’d say, and it tends to work for good reasons.

          • dannybhoy

            “I used to say quite a lot some years ago in anticipation. I don’t believe there is a single, coherent morality to be found, and I don’t believe in moral facts in their purest sense either.”

            And you base that on…. what?
            You’ve just said that there is no single coherent morality. So on what basis then, can you be sure that your judgment (which you admit is formed from an imperfect morality into which you were born) is in fact an objective one of any more value than anyone else’s?

          • DanJ0

            Where’s this objective thing come from? Christians assert an objective basis for their morality, in the absence of anything they can demonstrate. I don’t assert one myself, other than some sort of weak basis in human nature. Oh dear, I have a sense of déjà vu now. It’s been a while since I’ve been down this particular road here.

          • dannybhoy

            But you’ve got nothing anyway!
            Your belief system is largely shaped by the culture you were brought up in and that is mainly Christian.
            Now if you then want to say that your own belief system is “innate” then one has to ask why. Why do you have this superior (in the best sense of that word) set of values that makes value judgments? Because it can’t be innate if all life is the result of a fortuitous chemical accident in a meaningless universe.
            So where does this value system of yours come from?

          • DanJ0

            “Your belief system is largely shaped by the culture you were brought up in and that is mainly Christian.”

            You’re asserting that, and I’ve rejected it already.

            “Now if you then want to say that your own belief system is “innate” then one has to ask why.”

            But I don’t want to say that.

            “Because it can’t be innate if all life is the result of a fortuitous chemical accident in a meaningless universe.”

            I don’t see that how life came about has any bearing on our having a value system, other than the obvious contested thing following on from theism.

          • Old Blowers

            “So where does this value system of yours come from?”

            I expect mine comes from a combination of human nature, culture, and experience.

            Think this is called moral plagiarism, DanJo lad.

            The Golden rule is solely a divine construct from Christ and is UNIQUE amongst any faith that predates His words (except Judaism where he clarified the full extent of the command of compassion to Israel/Believers) or came afterwards…

            Jesus taught that his Golden Rule sums up all the Old Testament scriptures for all to grasp hence his answering the lawyer’s pointed question in the Gospel.

            It is a positive obligation on those that hold on to it about practical compassion, concerning everything we do for others and not just ourselves. It involves perilous self-sacrifice and applies universally, not just to family and friends, but across religious, racial and cultural divides.

            It extends even to our enemies of our faith, such as yourself and other non christians that frequent here.

            In this costly, comprehensive and positive form as opposed to the sayings of Buddha, Confucius, or the teachings of religions such as Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism or the Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, the Golden Rule has been shown to be original to Christ and Christ alone and is unprecedented and unparalleled in the history of ethics before or since He stated these words.

            You really have a poor research on the subject fella…perhaps this is why you lump Christ with others and cannot see the Light. This would explain a lot!!!

          • DanJ0

            I’ll leave the rest of your stuff alone, but this jumped out at me:

            “It extends even to our enemies of our faith, such as yourself and other non christians that frequent here.”

            Many of the Christians here seem to have a persecution complex. I am not an enemy of your faith. I readily accept your right to hold your beliefs and manifest them in your personal lives, subject to the usual restrictions on all of us in society. What I won’t accept is your trying to impose your religious beliefs, in the form of social restrictions, on the rest of us to suit yourselves. That doesn’t make me an enemy of your faith, it means I am a liberal who embraces freedom, diversity, and individualism. You benefit from that broad-based freedom whereas I don’t benefit from religious oppression.

          • William Lewis

            “I readily accept your right to hold your beliefs …”

            The right to hold a belief is an illiberal fiction designed to control our innermost being. It is not a human right but an anti-human right. You are either deluded by or complicit in this lie. Either way it makes you an enemy of those who would follow, and have been set free by, the Truth.

          • DanJ0

            You have freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and that negative liberty is guaranteed by a qualified right. I find your words a bit bizarre. At the end of the day, you either have freedom from external constraint or you don’t. Our society at the moment provides an environment where people also have positive liberty in this area too, including the freedom for people like you to proselytise in public if you wish. If your problem is that people like me publicly enjoy our freedoms too much and that this is preventing the self-actualization of others according to your religious beliefs then, well, hard luck. Your sales pitch should be more plausible.

          • William Lewis

            “You have freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and that negative liberty is guaranteed by a qualified right … At the end of the day, you either have freedom from external constraint or you don’t.”

            True but freedom of thought and belief are not guaranteed by any right. The right to think or believe something cannot be bestowed by one person upon another. This is the lie. The right does not exist and the guarantee is worthless. If I said that you have the right to believe that you are a gay man you would, I hope, laugh at the ridiculousness of the notion.

            “If your problem is that people like me publicly enjoy our freedoms too much …”

            It isn’t.

            “… and that this is preventing the self-actualization of others according to your religious beliefs”

            The “self-actualization” of others is not my concern.

          • DanJ0

            To be honest, I don’t really know what point you’re trying to make other than, perhaps, that thoughts are private anyway so there’s no point in the right being written like that. A trivial point if so. But that doesn’t really explain for your first comment.

          • William Lewis

            It seems clear enough to me. You claim to accept my right to certain thoughts and beliefs. I don’t accept that these are rights that one person can bestow upon another and that your notion that these are rights is inherently illiberal.

          • DanJ0

            Not so long ago in the scheme of things, Christians were murdering one another because they didn’t recognise the other’s right to freedom of thought. Elizabeth I captured the thing quite well when she declared that she didn’t want to make windows into men’s souls. The recognition of the right is quite fundamental to freedom, really. It essentially draws a line between private and public, and underpins aspects of our justice system where one can think what one likes but actions are another matter. I find it a little odd that you don’t recognise all that, and I find it very odd that you’ve written that last bit. What on earth is all that about?

          • William Lewis

            “… I find it a little odd that you don’t recognise all that,”

            Hmmm. Well, I do recognise that. QEI was quite right about not wanting to make a window into men’s souls. What I don’t agree with is your assertion that freedom of thought and belief is guaranteed by a man-made qualified right but I have a sneaking suspicion that this essentially boils down, as these discussions invariably do, to the question of who is ultimately in charge; Man or God? However, I don’t really have the time to explore this further so will have to leave it there.

          • DanJ0

            When your god intervenes to protect someone’s freedom of though, conscience, and religion then we’ll all see that it is in charge in that respect. While we’re waiting for that to happen, a right like Article 9 of the ECHR sets out the relationship between the State and a citizen. Whether a State fulfils its obligations, either directly in legislation and behaviour or indirectly policing the actions of other parties, is quite another matter, of course.

          • DanJ0

            Dodo, you’re Dodo. You always have been here whatever ID or multiple, concurrent IDs you use, or styles of writing you adopt when using them. As for the Commenting Policy, I’m merely pointing out what you’re doing. You’ll remember from a previous incarnation of yours that a vote was offered on you being banned and that I declined to vote. I know my place here very well.

          • For a person who claims he doesn’t want to engage with Happy Jack, you sure have an awful lot to say to him.

            “When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.”
            (Stephen King)

          • DanJ0

            Dodo, your present is a fiction too. For the record, I laughed when Linus thought you were posting from a different time zone for posting well into the early hours. I’d pity your long-suffering wife if I thought you still lived with her. Afterall, what wife would put up with her husband staying up most of the night posting troll bait to multiple forums? As for engaging, I mostly mean engaging in discussion or debate. I respond or not to troll bait depending on my mood.

          • Lol …….. so you do want to engage Happy Jack in a meaningless exchange of ad hominem. How you must miss ‘Dodo’.

            Run along now. Carry on with your transparent attempts to provoke others. Jack is not in the mood for such childishness and has no more time to waste.

          • DanJ0

            That’s another curious comment, given your days and days of such exchanges with Linus, but hey. Feel free not to be in the mood as an ongoing thing with me. That’d be nice.

          • Ah, jealousy?

          • DanJ0

            Ah, you’ve found some more time to waste. What a surprise.

          • You’re always good for a laugh, Danjo. Jack can always find time for a good chuckle.

          • DanJ0

            No doubt you’re as free as ever well into the early hours, here and elsewhere. Have fun.

          • Bless you, Danjo. Jack always enjoys himself.

          • DanJ0

            “Jack’s reference to “this equally disgraceful legislation” was to same sex ‘marriage’ as you would have appreciated if you had read the comment he was responding to.”

            If that’s what you meant then fair enough, I’ll retract my comment (but obviously leave it on view).

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            So what is this ‘sexual orientation’ pray? Oh look, it’s a behaviour, an immoral one at that. Since when has a mere behaviour become the subject of ‘rights’?

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps you’re a-sexual if sexual orientation is a mystery to you. Almost everyone has one. If so then you have my full sympathy. A good example of immoral behaviour is your exhibiting of vicious homophobia poorly dressed up as religiosity. No-one like a hypocrite, Martin.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Your assertion doesn’t make it other than a fiction. And pointing out the immorality of sex outside the marriage of one man to one woman is no sort of phobia. Your hypocrisy is very clear.

          • DanJ0

            There are probably 1.5 million people in the UK with a homosexual or bisexual orientation. We’re much more visible these days now society has become more civilised. You could ditch your ignorance born of your strange religion cult by simply talking to some of those people. If the idea of that freaks you out then you could use your shrivelled walnut of a brain to consider why people like Alan Turing risked his liberty and social standing, and suffered his subsequent punishment, if it was a mere behaviour. At some point, the real world will intrude on the conditioning of your cult and the whole thing will come crashing down. I look forward to the day when you are free of that evil.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Orientation is merely behaviour, nothing more. Alan Turing, like many with unchecked sexual desires or even those with lusts after things, merely let his desires get him into trouble.

            In the real world homosexuality is revealed for what it is, an aberrant behaviour.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, you’d hardly known here for being able to discern the real world from your cultish religious fiction. When the two clash, however blatant the real world is, you choose your cult’s interpretation. I daresay it’s only the religious, and of those only the most cultish or offbeat, who think sexual orientation doesn’t exist these days. In the real world today, homosexuality is decriminalised, people live openly as homosexual, politicians declare their sexual orientation and still get elected, same-sex marriage is the statute books, and so on. Most people simply don’t care these days, even if some find it unpleasant to think about. It’s mostly just religious weirdos like you, tending towards ‘Westboro Baptist’ religiosity, who think it is aberrant behaviour. It’s your behaviour which is aberrant, with its strong whiff of evil about it.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And society continues on its downward path:

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

            For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

            Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

            For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

            And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

            (Romans 2:18-32 [ESV]) (Emphasis mine)

            So there you see our world, our civilisation. Condemned, degenerate and heading for destruction. And you have your little part in it. Welcome to the real world.

        • Graham Wood

          HJ Yes agree. Both share the same degree of violation of all that is Godly, but
          without doubt infanticide is worse.

          • sarky

            Except when god does it through miscarriage of course.

          • dannybhoy

            Miscarriage means the normal process went wrong, I think.
            Why blame God?
            Follow the logic and we all become machines rather than humans.

  • dannybhoy

    “On this basis, the question is not whether we should be involved in politics, but how. Christians should not – indeed cannot – disengage from politics.”
    As long as we Christians who are interested or involved in politics stay “Christ centred.” By which I mean that our intellect, our social conscience and vision for a better society remain rooted in the Gospel, so that we are always ready to point to Jesus Christ as the real answer to the individual and collective need. Because we ourselves are living testimonies to the transforming grace of God.

  • Graham Wood

    “At the same time, the Church is rediscovering its political vocation.”
    I am not aware of any such vocation. The marching orders for the collective church is clear, which is to centre in the dissemination of the Gospel of Christ and not other “vocation” is mandated by Christ.

  • carl jacobs

    Speakers will include Rowan Williams, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Giles Fraser and a number of Christian MPs.

    So I think I see the problem with this concept.

    • Martin

      Carl

      One wonders if the (unnamed) Christian MPs are of the same ilk.

  • What is a ‘Christian’? A follower of Jesus, one might say. With all the variety around nowadays in His Church, Jack wonders if we are following Him or expecting God to follow us.

    • dannybhoy

      Yes.
      A follower of Jesus.
      A follower of Jesus is not born again as a saint, but as a sinner saved by grace. An individual who having asked Jesus into his or her life, begins to change in character, in self awareness and holiness.
      Christians grow and change.
      It seems to me
      (and I say this most humbly and affectionately) that your instinct is to control this process. You want to be sure that the new convert is making the right kind of progress according to your understanding of salvation.
      Perhaps it is your pedantic, perfectionistic, intellectual and careful nature that finds comfort in the strictures and definitions that characterise the Catholic church?
      I am an idealist, a perfectionist in parts, pedantic in parts, and very aware of how I have failed in my Christian walk. Therefore perhaps, naturally inclined to be judgmental, and “performance orientated.”
      As I get older I am more aware of my failures and that apart from Christ I can do nothing of eternal value. So my focus shifts from how well I’m doing in my Christian walk to how wonderful God is in His acceptance of me as one of His redeemed children.

  • carl jacobs

    Let’s leave aside the cacophony of voices produced in this article by its overly broad definition of “Christian.” The distinctive Christian political message revolves around the nature of man, his proper place in the world, and the necessary boundaries that should be placed on his conduct. Those are exactly the issues that the secular world does NOT want to hear about from us. It is the post-modern assertion of individual freedom as the greatest good that makes engagement so difficult. Christians cannot and do not make the maximization of freedom the ultimate goal of politics.

    Christians are marginalized not because of numbers but because man no longer sees himself as a creature under authority. We implicitly speak from authority and the listener responds “Who made you god over me?” Until we address that fundamental problem, we will only be able to exert influence on terms set by the unbelieving world. We will be given a hearing on subjects they approve given the boundaries that they set. “You want to speak about payday lenders? That’s fine. But shut the hell up about abortion.”

    A citizen has a civic duty to vote. A Christian has a Christian duty to obey the authorities set over him. A Christian can choose to engage in politics. But don’t be deceived. The Kingdom of Heaven is not found in elections and the political process. It’s no substitute for the hard work of evangelism. And it will not be sanctified by our participation.

    • Aren’t you setting out an artificial divide between political action and evangelisation? Christians acting to promote the social justice God calls for through the political process cannot be neatly separated from sowing the His word and building the Kingdom.

      • carl jacobs

        Jack

        I don’t even know what “social justice” is. I have never met anyone who could define it. I know the operational definition used by those (always on the Left) who bleat continuously about “social justice.”

        Social Justice is enabling a man to act upon his authentic desires.

        That is neither good nor right nor true.

        • That’s a very loose definition Carl and its authenticity as a Christian one depends on what we mean by “authentic desires”.

          This is a definition Jack thinks is solid:

          “The virtue that inclines one to co-operate with others in order to help make the institutions of society better serve the common good.

          While the obligation of social justice falls upon the individual, that person cannot fulfill the obligation alone, but must work in concert with others, through organised bodies, as a member of a group whose purpose is to identify the needs of society, and, by the use of appropriate means, to meet these needs locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally.

          Implicit in the virtue of social justice is an awareness that the world has entered on a new phase of social existence, with potential for great good or great harm vested in those who control the media and the structures of modern society.

          Christians, therefore, are expected to respond to the new obligations created by the extraordinary means of promoting the common good not only of small groups but literally of all humanity.”

          ( http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=36529 )

          The definition found in the Catechism is somewhat more obscure but on the same theme:

          “Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority.”

          Briefly, it has different levels:

          “Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due.

          Respect for the human person considers the other “another self.” It presupposes respect for the fundamental rights that flow from the dignity intrinsic of the person.

          The equality of men concerns their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it.

          The differences among persons belong to God’s plan, who wills that we should need one another. These differences should encourage charity.

          The equal dignity of human persons requires the effort to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities. It gives urgency to the elimination of sinful inequalities.

          Solidarity is an eminently Christian virtue. It practices the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones.”

          ( http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c2a3.htm )

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Yes, that helps ever so much. What exactly is Bob “due?” Is it different from what is “due” to Alice? Or Fred for that matter?

            BTW, remember me today, Jack. I am going to a Unitarian service this morning. You might ask “Why?” School assignment for my daughter. I am going as moral support. If you never hear from me again, you will know that I failed in my attempt to keep my mouth shut. 😉

          • Carl, Jack can lead a horse to water …… These are questions you must answer for yourself and a read of the link posted to the Catechism will assist.

            West Ham have just scored, so Jack hopes you have a torrid time of it with the Unitarians and return a broken man.

          • carl jacobs

            So I survived. They didn’t manage to identify me.

            That was … interesting. An opening collection of hymns that all had the word “we” in every sentence – either explicit or implied. They lit a chalice. Then some kind of short lesson that seemed like a mini-sermon. I learned all about how I can do anything I want because bumblebees can fly. There was a reading by Henry David Thoreau. The music was good, if … well … secular. Who would think of playing “The Parting Glass” as an Offertory? I like that song, and even know the words. But an Offertory?

            The sermon was all about the difference between knowledge and belief and faith. Evidently the fact that Poland is east of Germany is a belief unless you have been there yourself. I’m not sure. Anyways, the point was to let your beliefs evolve. There was something that might have been the Lord’s Prayer at one time before it was evolved:

            “Oh thou who art everywhere, many are all your names.”

            Some corporate prayer. They don’t do prayer btw. They do “Orison.” Mostly they prayed things like “We pray for those who can’t see, and for those who can see but are blind.” Hrmm. I bet I am the one who can see but is blind. And they prayed to something called the spirit of light. Hey, was that actually some kind of reference to “God”? More hymns about “us” and a benediction that told us to “hold onto your beliefs even if it is a tree standing alone.” Not sure how that fits with evolving our beliefs but we’ll let that pass.

            A few announcements. The minister called special attention to the fact that something called the “Socialist Action Council” was meeting after the service on the divan in the lobby to discuss what to do about “Income inequality.”

            Afterwords, my daughter asked a woman a few questions about the symbology. She discovered that this church has pagans and wiccans and druids. It even has a member who does crystal ball readings.

            I thereafter escaped into the parking lot without ever causing distress to our hosts. My daughter told me she was proud of me for keeping my mouth shut.

          • A most interesting account, Carl. It sounds like a Monty Python film, the main theme being Greco-Roman paganism, combined with Indian meditation and a New Age sub-plot.

            One hopes during the service you cultivated inner peace and inner safety and dedicated all this to the Spirit of Life
            within and to becoming a beacon of light and love for all beings.

            Shame there was no naked dancing around the flaming chalice. That would have been interesting.

          • grutchyngfysch

            All very Wicker Man no doubt 😀

          • Luckily Carl escaped unscathed.

          • William Lewis

            An amusing, yet depressing, account Carl. Not sure I could have stayed the distance, or not said anything. The things our children put us through!

          • grutchyngfysch

            The faith/belief thing is classic academese for lapsed Christians congratulating themselves. It has something to do with questioning whether believers/people of faith (faithful people? anyone know the PC term?) are intellectually challenged. The closest I can come to salvaging a distinction between faith and belief:

            If Belief is a car, Faith is petrol (sorry, “gas”), and Scripture the Road Map, whilst Grace pays the toll, the Holy Spirit is the driver. Get any one bit of that wrong and you end up somewhere you’d rather not be. Like Wales.

            The Unitarians sound like cyclists.

          • carl jacobs

            Grutch

            The honest truth is that I couldn’t follow that message at all. He wandered around giving various examples of knowledge, belief, and faith. I would be trying work through the difficulties in his current example when he would flip on to the next. I never really caught up to him. Then it seemed he ran out of time so he just more or less wrapped it up. When he started talking about letting your beliefs evolve, my thought was “How does this connect to anything else he said?”

            The whole service was an exercise in self-worship, and I mean that quite literally. I have written here that liberal religion is the worship of the autonomous self, but I had never really seen it before. There were only a few tangential references to anything that might be called “God.” It was almost as if “the spirit of life and love” was a liturgical device. But in a church that contains deists, and druids, and pagans, and wiccans, I can see why that would be the case.

          • Martin

            Carl

            Sounds like something out of Midsomer Murders, perhaps you were lucky to get out alive.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s something called a “Diversity” class. One of those idiotic college requirements that serve principally to employ those who major in Agitation and Propaganda. She didn’t have to go to a Unitarian Service. She had to do something “outside her culture.” This was one of the options.

          • “Outside her culture”? Goodness, the mind boggles with the endless possibilities. On balance, you chose a fairly safe option.

        • dannybhoy

          That’s a pretty good point Carl, because according to our Christian viewpoint man is in a state of rebellion against God. God seeks us out rather than the other way around.
          Man looks for ‘gods’ that validate his rebellious independence, that encourage his excesses and worships them, even though ultimately they make slaves of him.

        • The Explorer

          To Carl (If the Unitarians haven’t murdered him),
          My understanding of “social justice” (in its nineteenth-century form) is as a call for government action to intervene in the lives of people to promote the common good (as defined by those calling for social justice). ie only government can effect the positive changes needed in society.

          • Let’s look at an example.

            Christian charity is giving direct aid to someone in need – giving alms to the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick or imprisoned, taking care of orphans and widows.

            Social Justice is correcting the structures that perpetuate social and individual need. We take a look at the problems and issues facing people in their communities, the nation and the world. We ask questions like: “Why is there unemployment?” and “Why are there so poor in our community?” and even: “How will the deforestation of our rain forests affect our global climate?”. These are socio-economic questions resolved by States and political processes.

            In addition to participating in the political process, when performing charitable acts Christians can become involved in solving the problem which created the need in the first place. The two are related. For example, someone comes to soup kitchen or homeless hostel and tells you he/she has no food and is homeless because he/she lost their job recently. You may know of employers looking to hire someone. You give that person food, then place that person in touch with the employer. You would have solved both problems for that person. The immediate need of food – an act of charity and you would have also corrected the problem which created and perpetuated the need – social justice.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s not an answer. It doesn’t even begin to address the question of what a man is “due”. The definition I provided is actually very tight, Jack. And it’s not that different from the Catholic source you provided.

          • The definition Jack provided was different to the one you offered, Carl.

            “Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority.”

            It links what a man is due with his nature – as a creature of God; and his calling in life – as part of God’s plan for him and others. It is about the respect for the human person, made in God’s image, and the rights which flow from human dignity because of this.

            The over-arching theme of Catholic social thought is that the inviolable dignity of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, is the foundation upon which all social structures must be built.

            The main elements are:

            – The human person has inviolable dignity as a creature made in the image and likeness of God.
            – The human person has an essentially social and communal nature.
            – The goods and resources of creation and of social life are given for all people and all should be able to benefit from them.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, and like most Catholic definitions you provide on topics like this, it is so hopelessly vague that any man can make whatever he wants out of it. Instantiate it in the real world, Jack. What does it mean when you leave the world of philosophy and enter the real world?

          • Well, in this field Catholicism is quite as prescriptive as you see it in others. Instantiating it is where politicians and experts in particular fields come into play.

            Social justice is interested in the whole socio-economic-political order as an interlocking system. Justice isn’t just a one on one exchange but is present or absent in social structures and institutions too. Instantiating the principles in the real world start from an acceptance of the principles, seeing them as rooted in a Christian view of the human person.

            One starting premise is that people always take priority over institutions, and institutions exist to serve people. Looked at like this, social justice aims not at simply re-distributing resources, but at ensuring all people have the opportunity and ability to participate in the creation of resources through work and effort – and to share in the results. The state and private sector, working together, must seek to enable all, as far as possible, to participate in the life of society. Because human beings are essentially social in nature, true justice must be addressed through social relationships, such as employer-employee, as well as private relationships, husband-wife and parent-child.

            This is why Happy Jack can say he is neither Left nor Right in standard political terms. He may or may not be ‘Left’ in political-economic terms and he may or may not be more to the ‘Right’ in his thinking on family life and education policies.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Having recently done so, I would suggest Christians take a good look around The Christian Party website. Their policies are sound, based in scripture, and if you think it more important to do the righteous thing than to win, then they have to be seriously considered.

    • sarky

      Can’t beat a righteous loser!

    • Anton

      Dominic,

      I think it is a terrible idea having a party that calls itself Christian. Such parties on the continent (“Christian democrats”) invariably end up ultraliberal in their “theology” and give the rest of the population a mistaken idea of Christianity, while the name almost invariably alienates those atheists and Muslims who might otherwise vote for their policies on moral grounds. Moreover both the left and the right in modern politics, although now secular, originated in Christianity by emphasising different aspects of the gospel; so it is simply not possible for such a party to say “our policies are Christian and everybody else’s aren’t”.

      What is needed is a party which has a foreign policy of quitting the EU and a national policy of doing everything to strengthen the marriage-based family. Let its founders and higher-ups be dominated by Christians but it must be open to all – especially leaders of those immigrant communities who came here precisely to enjoy our values rather than to overthrow them.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Dear Anton, I suggest you read their policies. You will find that they are not only more agreeable to you than you clearly think, but that this is a party which can only be joined by those prepared to make a clear Christian commitment, confirmed by another Christian. What is more, the ‘Manifesto’ is shaped not by what man wants, but by what the Bible teaches.
        I also know that atheists have voted for them, regardless.

        • sarky

          Only when they make a protest vote and don’t want to spoil their ballot paper!

          • Dominic Stockford

            Oddly (from your perspective) not. They chose to vote for a man standing for the second time as a CP candidate. A man who is mayor of his town for a second term!

        • Anton

          Dominic,

          I shall read them, but no matter how good they are the problems I raised don’t go away: such a party will be dragged toward liberal Christianity by its need for votes, and its name will alienate many people who would otherwise have voted for its policies.

          • Dominic Stockford

            They don’t seek to win, as such. They seek to stand, as I understand it, as well as to give Christians an option they can vote for, when there is frankly, nothing else.

  • Shadrach Fire
  • Phil R

    All of the major parties have become very similar. UKIP seemed to be a genuinely different party for a while, but even that has become much more maintream. I am not at all impressed with any Party Leader.

    The only really impressive statements in the last few months have come from Prince Charles, which says so much about democracy. He is not perfect but would make a far better leader than any of the ones on offer.

    Democracy especially recently, has done great damage to Christians and this country. I would urge everyone to stay at home and not give them or democracy any sort of mandate.

    It is time for a new way to govern this country. Engaging in the process will only prolong it and continue our decline both economically and morally.

    • sarky

      Thats the way to get change isn’t it? Let’s all hide in our rooms with our eyes closed and our fingers in our ears.
      How are you going to find a new way to govern if you dont engage in the process?
      As Forest Gump so famously said ‘stupid is as stupid does’

      • Phil R

        In a country that I worked. 98% voted. They had no choice about voting, or who to vote for.

        At some point the process engagement is counterproductive. I will take my right not to engage, while I still can.

        Sooner or later Sarky I will be compelled to vote. On that day it will be clear that freedom has ended.

        • sarky

          Well I vote because good men died so I could. Maybe you should think about that.

          • Phil R

            Would the “good men that died” be happy with what we have done with the freedom they bought for us?

            Absolutely not

          • sarky

            Crap answer. They died so that we have the freedom to mess up. I’d rather have what we have now than the alternative we nearly got.

          • Phil R

            Well we messed up alright. I’ll give you that

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Actually a good answer, and I’m glad you see that you have messed up, as in a dog returns to its vomit.

          • The Explorer

            Robert Graves recounts an incident from his time in the trenches. A group of Tommies fired off a water-cooled machine gun until it boiled to give themselves hot water for mugs of tea. As Graves observes, an expensive way of doing it, and never a thought that the wasted bullets will have to paid for in income tax after the war.
            I don’t know what the motives of the WWI soldiers were – although ‘Goodbye to All That’ is a real eye opener – but I doubt that making Britain safe for democracy for future generations was at the forefront of their minds. (In ‘Journey’s End’ it’s about darning your socks, eating, and dipping earwigs in whisky to make them race faster. All to stop yourself from thinking about what’s out there once you go over the top.)

        • IanCad

          Australia??

          • Phil R

            LoL no. It was in East Africa.

            There was one candidate that everyone was expected to vote for.

            There was only one election speech the candidate shouted freedom and they had to should the word freedom back, (I forget the word for freedom)

            That was about it.

          • IanCad

            Phil, I mentioned Oz as they are forced to vote or face a fine.
            I am amazed that descendants of British people could sink so low.

          • The Explorer

            They were a particular cross section.

          • IanCad

            And thereby the contrast between the boastful, boozy and loud Aussies and the more refined Kiwis.

      • carl jacobs

        Dammit, sarky! Would you quit making posts that I agree with.

        Well, the Gump quote was a little gratuitous, I guess. That’s something.

    • dannybhoy

      Speaking as a Christian citizen in a secular society I think it’s the corruption of democracy that has done the harm….

      • Phil R

        I think there is something inherently evil and wrong with democracy.

        That is why it is not a model suggested by the Bible.

        • dannybhoy

          OK.
          Accepting the premise, what model(s) are suggested?
          The Church was born into the most powerful Empire the world had seen, and counselled believers to be good obedient slaves…

          • Phil R

            As I said before the Hong Kong did/does not have democracy. In colonial times legislators were appointed from different sectors of society.

            It worked well.

            We need to look at other models that work. Not just persevere or tinker with democracy when it plainly is not working at all and has been particularly bad for Christians.

            (Also of course it has been particularity bad for the CofE)

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry Phil, but you said,
            “That is why it is not a model suggested by the Bible.”
            and I asked which models are suggested or perhaps ‘endorsed’ would be a better word,

        • Anton

          That isn’t the reason Phil. In the Old Testament God ran ancient Israel via a code of Law; there was no need for a king to act as lawgiver (and when they got kings it didn’t work out well). In the New Testament the church is portrayed as a volunteer grouping comprising people called out spiritually from all nations yet still living among their own tribes.

          It might be argued that benevolent dictatorship is better than democracy, but benevolent would-be dictators seldom win power, and if they do then power corrupts. Moreover there is the problem of succession.

          Someday Jesus will be back and will run the world as a benevolent dictatorship without the problems of corruptibility and succession. Meanwhile, as Churchill is often quoted as saying, democracy is lousy until you look at the alternatives.

          • Phil R

            Not sure that Churchill was all that happy with democracy as it turned out. I wonder if he made that comment before or after 1945

          • Anton

            The subtitle of the last volume of his war memoirs is “How the great democracies triumphed, and so were able to resume the follies which had so nearly cost them their life”.

          • Phil R

            He was right there!

        • IanCad

          That’s for sure! Phil.

          The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”

          Matthew 27:21

        • carl jacobs

          Phil R

          I think there is something inherently evil and wrong with democracy.

          No, there is something inherently wrong and evil about men. You can’t fix evil with process. Every form of Govt is process, and they all have strengths and weaknesses. Democracy is no different. But you are better off under this gov’t than you would be under many others. Don’t despise what you have just because you don’t control the terms anymore. You said yesterday that this government had become totalitarian. It isn’t even close, Phil. Not. Even. Close. People who have actually lived under those kinds of gov’ts would shake their heads at you in amazement.

          Go out and vote, Phil. It’s your civic responsibility. Trust the outcome to the Providence of God.

          • Phil R

            The thing is that I have lived and worked in totalitarian countries.

            I also visited East Germany Hungary and others in (as it turned out) their final years.as a student so actually meeting other students who lived there

            My observations are that there are striking similarities.

            We are definitely moving towards that model

    • Graham Wood

      Why not then have a look at the Harrogate Agenda. A fully fledged and well thought out alternative. (See EU referendum blog)

  • len

    Our secular culture intends to totally destroy the credibility of Christianity and it has done quite a job on Christianity now that secularists are running the show (by and large)
    As this secular Society descends into paganism Idolatry and moral turpitude the distant memory of the Judeo/ Christian culture which bound our society together will seem like a glimpse of paradise lost.As our secular society steams bravely onward like the Titanic at full speed those with wisdom will start to consider their position and wonder if perhaps they should not have embarked on this voyage?.
    I already sense some of our leaders are starting to ask this question.

    • dannybhoy

      Good points Len.

    • David

      Len. I am interested in why you feel that this…..
      “those with wisdom will start to consider their position and wonder if perhaps they should have embarked on this voyage ? I sense some of our leaders are starting to ask this question.”

      I would be delighted it you were right, but can see no evidence myself, so what am I missing ? Which leaders are self-questionning ?

    • sarky

      I think christianity has done a pretty good job in destroying its own credibility.
      Why are christians so obsessed with insisting that our secular society is so bad? If that was the case why do so many wish to come here? Why are we seen as a beacon of light in the world? I think that you find it hard to accept that we are doing just fine without christianty. If you don’t believe me why don’t you go to Iraq and try practicing your faith.

      • Old Blowers

        Sarky jabbered “I think christianity has done a pretty good job in destroying its own credibility. (How have we achieved this great task)
        Why are christians so obsessed with insisting that our secular society is so bad (Do look at society with it’s industrial scale abortions, glorification of the single parent, divorce escalating and destroying the nuclear family, it’s love of the five second tv celebrity that has permeated as an aspiration to the young in our nation and then wonder why we despair of a nation slowly destroying itself )?

        If that was the case why do so many wish to come here? (Who on earth are the many? It is Hooky Street to many in impoverished nations with free housing/benefits/schooling/NHS etc if you can just get in here by any means possible! )

        Why are we seen as a beacon of light in the world? (Who on earth thinks this except western liberal luvvies, seeing all their dearest dreams coming true against the wishes of the majority by cajoling the fickle vested political interest in dire need of votes and calling all that disagree bigots)

        I think that you find it hard to accept that we are doing just fine without christianty (Dream on numpty boy, you ain’t).

        If you don’t believe me why don’t you go to Iraq and try practicing your faith.
        (Why don’t you go to any muslim country and see what your ‘universally accepted and enlightened’ secularist values get you or you can just wait until the secularist destruction of our christian values by stealth and secularists constant whinging for more needed changes for the common good such as teaching 5 year olds the joy of cunnilingus or fellatio, bites you in l’arrière ,mon ami libertaire!!) “

        • sarky

          You have answered in exactly the way I would have expected and have totally confirmed my point. If you take off your “everything is shit” glasses you will see that DanJo is correct.
          People come here because they know they will be welcomed and be free from persecution, they will also have a better life for themselves and their families – something we should be proud of.
          As for society, you are just miffed because it doesn’t mirror your world view. Again you don’t give credit for all the good, look at all the money given to the disabled guy last week. Look at all the people who freely give time and money to help others. Even in a christian society you would still have the same problems and history confirms this.
          We live in a time of opportunity and freedom for all. You are free to worship your god, I am free not to. If you have the motivation and work hard you can build a life for yourself. If you fall Ill you will be cared for, if you fall on hard times you will be cared for. You are free to express yourself no matter what your religion, sexuality, colour or creed.
          Instead of putting this country down you should be proud and grateful to live here.

          • CliveM

            “Look at all the people who freely give time and money to help others”

            More often then not Christians are disproportionately represented in this.

          • sarky

            Not true.

          • dannybhoy

            Not true why?
            Only weeks ago we had a thread on food banks.
            Who runs the majority of foodbanks…

          • sarky

            Christians. But who donates the majority of food? Secular business and individuals.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s because Christians get together and besides having collections in their own churches, (we do) they approach secular businesses..

          • sarky

            But that doesn’t prove that christians donate more than secularists. The foodbanks couldn’t run without the contributions of secularists.

          • dannybhoy

            “People come here because they know they will be welcomed and be free
            from persecution, they will also have a better life for themselves and
            their families – something we should be proud of.”

            And that society was built on……
            Islam?
            Atheism?
            Scientology?
            Pantheism?

          • sarky

            So you are basically attacking your own creation. Or do you only take credit for the good bits?

          • dannybhoy

            I am pointing out that none of those ‘isms ‘ built our nation. It was Christianity, and therefore the reason many people want to come and live here is because Christianity has built a better, fairer, compassionate and more stable society.

          • sarky

            So we have a better, fairer, compassionate and more stable society? I agree.
            Please tell that to the other commentators on here. They seem to think we are living in some sort of secular hell. Nice to see someone honest enough to admit things are not actually that bad.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh come off it Sarky,
            I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that our society is “Hell Central”.
            None of us deny that there are lots of good. kindly people around either, but that’s not the point of Christianity.
            The central theme of Christianity is repentance and salvation through Christ Jesus who is God in the flesh.
            So we want people to become Christians si that they can have a daily relationship with God and become a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.

            DanJ0 said “He wouldn’t be a lot of fun at parties” and neither are most Christians, because we don’t need or want to let our hair down and show our naughtier side…
            I enjoy a drink, a good steak with all the trimmings, a good laugh with friends or a worship time when we are praising God together.
            Nothing hits me in the guts harder than someone who is a churchgoer wanting to tell a dirty joke or flirting with a woman not his wife. Obviously that’s hypocrisy but it’s more than that to a Christian. It’s almost like a betrayal.

          • sarky

            I think you will find plenty that think we live in hell Central and that it’s all down to us atheists and secularists. They make us out to be the wound and christianity to be the plaster. You have kind of confirmed what I thought, that society is fine without christianity and thats what scares you more than anything.

          • dannybhoy

            What’s all this “scares you more than anything” guff?
            You’ve mentioned it a few times now.
            Why do you assume I or any Christian might be “scared?”
            Scared of what?

          • sarky

            That christianity is no longer wanted or needed.

          • dannybhoy

            In a sense Christianity is never wanted in a post Christian society, because people take for granted what Christianity made possible i.e. social improvements and reforms.
            People in other nations where live is really tough may be much more receptive.
            But to say that “we are afraid that Christianity is no longer needed or wanted” is wishful thinking on your part..

            2 Timothy 3 (ESVUK)
            Godlessness in the Last Days
            But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

          • sarky

            Pretty much sums me up!

        • Shadrach Fire

          Tell em Blowers.

      • DanJ0

        I feel very lucky to be living in the UK at this point in its history. This is a golden age in many respects. In fact, I can’t think of a better time than now.

        • len

          You probably feel ‘very lucky’ because you are living in a point in history where the floodgates have opened and whatever was restrained is coming in like a flood .

          C S Lewis was writing in his book, The Problem of Pain and he wrote this,
          “The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded and are
          therefore self-enslaved.” God will abandon sinners to their own choices
          and the consequences of those choices.

          The tragedy for me (whilst you bask in your ‘freedom’) is that many today will be condemned by our secularist dominated society to never hear the Gospel and to be lost forever sacrificed of the altar of ‘freedom for the few’. Such is the total selfishness of our ‘liberal’ society….

          • DanJ0

            Len, I have the bloody Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons regularly calling at my door. If I have to listen to their twaddle on my damned doorstep then I’m pretty sure other people will get to hear your Gospel too. Stand in the High Street bellowing out that the end is nigh if you think people are missing your message. Heck, that happens enough in Leicester already. Not that anyone actually listens when people do that, other than the nob placed opposite hoping that he’s looking like the start of a crowd rather than the placeman he is.

      • len

        Our secular society is seen as weak corrupt and with no moral backbone and as such becomes a target for racial Islam…
        Western secular governments have destabilised Iraq and have now withdrawn and left the mess they have created to be overrun by IS so yes Iraq is now a very dangerous place for Christians Jews Muslims, and atheists.
        I do not have to go to Iraq because’ Iraq’ is coming here….You may have noticed the recent events in France?

        • sarky

          Iraq is coming here? Dont be so dramatic. Personally I felt less safe in the 80’s when the IRA was up to its tricks.
          There is always going to be someone attacking our way of life, this time its radical islam, but things will change and something else will come along.
          There is a paranoia amongst especially christians at the moment, that we are being invaded by stealth and that we’ll all be going to mosques within 20 years. This is not going to happen, muslims make up a small percentage of the population. There are now restrictions on coming into the country and muslims born here will integrate more and more. The problem we have at the moment is that young kids from muslim backgrounds are struggling with poverty, opportunity and are feeling torn between two cultures. Extremists take advantage of this struggle and offer them what appears t o be a purpose for their life. We need them to understand that they can accept our values and at the same time not compromise their beliefs. We need to help them into work and give them a different purpose.

          • Dreadnaught

            …muslims born here will integrate more and more.

            Get real Sarky.

          • sarky

            I know lots of well integrated muslims. Like anything else though, you only ever hear of the problems.

          • dannybhoy

            “you only ever hear of the problems.”
            Well, that makes sense. After all, if it was your relative killed in France or London or Bombay or Afghanistan or Lee Rigby was your brother, you’d think it noteworthy..

          • sarky

            Sorry but like I commented previously on the IRA, did you think every irish person was a terrorist who wanted to change your way of life or wanted you dead? No? But you are happy to put that on muslims aren’t you?

          • dannybhoy

            No.
            I make it clear that there are elements within Islam who want me and my way of life dead, or changed.
            There is ample evidence within the Quran to justify this position. We can see this acted out right across the Islamic world.
            Fortunately most of our Muslim communities do not take up this position, but make no mistake most Muslims are loyal to Islam, not to their adopted nation.

          • sarky

            And make no mistake most christians are loyal to god and not their own nation.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s a pretty daft observation Sarky.
            It is God who tells us how to live, Christ set the example, Christians seek to follow it by doing acts of kindness and influencing society for the better. Even today you will find that Christians are well represented in the caring professions, voluntary organisations and outreach. All because they are loyal to their God.,..

          • sarky

            You said most muslims are loyal to islam, not to their nation. I was just pointing out that christianity is no different. Or are you saying your nation is more important than your god?

          • dannybhoy

            Look at the context Sarky.
            We live in the west, in a post Christian secular society with a large, and growing Muslim population.
            We know how Islam functions in its own sphere of influence; Egypt, African nations, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq.
            We know how some Muslims treat each other, never mind minorities.
            This is Islam as she is practiced.
            If you think there is no difference between how loyal and devout Muslims live and how loyal and devout Christians live, then why not move abroad to an Islamic nation and see for yourself?

          • sarky

            Large and growing muslim population? 4.4% of the total population of the UK thats all.
            What exactly are you scared of? Your percieved idea of the influence of Islam is just paranoia.
            Or now that secularists have won the battle are you looking for a new enemy?

          • dannybhoy

            Like I said, get on your little bike or borrow DanJ0’s ski jet and take yourself off on a tour of the Islamic world and see how free and how compassionate and how receptive to new ideas they are…
            Then upon your return,
            (assuming that you do and don’t end up a ransom)
            let us know what you found…

          • The Bible tells me to be a good citizen, pay my taxes and obey the law (Romans 13:1ff; 1 Peter 2:11ff), the only exception being in the preaching of the Gospel (Acts 4:19-20). I’m not sure whether the Qu’ran advises its followers to do the same thing.

          • sarky

            Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

            The Muslims living a non-Muslim country, even if they originally entered that country by means of forged documents, are considered to be living in their adopted country under a covenant. They must, therefore, comply with the laws of their country of residence without, at the same time, disobeying Islamic Law. 

          • Far be it from me to be picky, but I don’t think you’ll find that in the Qu’ran.

          • sarky

            There were loads of quotes from the Qu’ran with it that you can look up yourself. Just posted this for brevity.

          • Would you please give me the link? Or otherwise the Surah references and I can look them up on my own copy.

          • sarky
          • Thanks for that. The Qu’ranic verses quoted are:

            “Oh you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 1]

            “And fulfill (every) covenant. Verily! The covenant will be questioned about.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 34]

            “And fulfill the Covenant to Allah when you have covenanted, and break not the oaths after you have confirmed them.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 91]

            “It is not the case that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throws it aside. Nay! The truth is most of them believe not.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 100]

            You can see here that the verses are so vague that many Moslems would not see them as applying to obeying the laws of a non-Moslem country.

          • CliveM

            Most Christians don’t see the two as incompatible.

          • CliveM

            The IRA weren’t out to change people’s way of life.

          • dannybhoy

            . “This is not going to happen, muslims make up a small percentage of the population.”
            We look back in recent history and guess what?
            Once, Nazis made up an infintesimal percentage of the German population.
            History is replete with examples of individuals who in one way or another imposed their will on their fellow man.

          • sarky

            Individuals not religions. Cant think of one Country in recent history that has had an outside religion imposed on it. (Although christians used to be good at it)

          • dannybhoy

            In general religions have influenced rather than forced their views.
            Except or especially Islam which started out with convert, die or if you are ‘a people of the book’ i.e. Jews and Christians pay the taxes in return for toleration.
            Off the top of my head, Nigeria springs to mind, but Christians in Muslim nations are definitely experiencing persecution.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            “muslims born here will integrate more and more”
            I don’t think you understand the muslim mentality. They have absolutely no interest in integrating, other than taking up our houses, jobs, benefits, and generally exploiting the British weakness for political correctness. Their religion is diametrically opposed to the ideas of liberal western democracy. They place no value on democracy, or the licentiousness it brings. In fact, it disgusts them. You cannot brainwash them into integration. Unlike Britain, they do have values, albeit pretty obnoxious ones mostly.

          • CliveM

            I think you’ll find that the security services are more worried by Islamic extremism then they were by the IRA.

            To date we have only had the part timers here, soon we will be getting the professionals, the ones who are currently training in Syria and Iraq.

            Certainly it is highly improbable that they will create an Islamic State here, but it is highly probable that their are going to be a lot more outrages.

      • dannybhoy

        We don’t insist that our secular society is (entirely) bad. After all it was mainly Christians who helped bring in positve changes that has made life much better.

        What we obsess about is that Godless freedom brings in
        Broken families
        Unhappy parents
        Abused and battered women
        Damaged kids looking for love and security
        Adultery
        Child abuse
        Abortion on demand
        Pornography
        Drug/Alcohol abuse
        People trafficking
        Prostitution
        Corruption
        Exploitation
        Etc. Etc.

        • sarky

          Because none of the above are found within christian families/societies are they?

          • dannybhoy

            “Because none of the above are found within christian families/societies are they?”
            We never have had a Christian society. We have an imperfect Church acting as salt and light in society.

            Christians seek the Ideal in their lives. The Ideal of how they should live, how they should treat other believers and non believers is clearly set out in the New Testament. That Christians sometimes fail does not detract from the validity of their faith or their accountability to God.
            And anyway, what are you then saying?
            “Live and let live” as long as it doesn’t disturb you? or that we should work towards building a better society built of better people?

          • Dreadnaught

            Stop digging Dan; you scored a perfect ‘own goal’.

          • dannybhoy

            Go ahead.
            I’m listening….

          • Dreadnaught

            You would’nt hear over the roar of the crowd!

          • dannybhoy

            Them ain’t roaring yet…

          • Dreadnaught

            Take your head out of the sand then

          • dannybhoy

            (Spits out sand)
            I’d rather you explained your point to me please.

          • Dreadnaught

            Sorry Dan my interest in ping-pong is very short lived – I have to wash my hair now – toodles.

        • Dreadnaught

          You could find any number of Popes and they equally would fit the bill.

          • Martin

            That’s because popes have never been Christians.

          • dannybhoy

            Gasp!
            (Raises hands to mouth in horror, waits for sky to fall in)

        • CliveM

          Dannybhoy

          You know looking at that list all I can think is that for any period of this Islands (or worlds) history, the list would be the same. These are issues that have been around for a long time. Go back to the Georgian or Victorian era’s the list would be no different. Single families,, child prostitution, abortion, violence, drunkeness etc, etc were rife in these times. We must stop believing in this idea of a moral golden age. It never existed.
          We are a fallen world and will be until Christ’s return. Particular problems ebb and flow, they don’t disappear.

          • dannybhoy

            Very true, but I don’t believe in a golden age of moraliity either.
            The likes of the Wesleys, Whitfield, Newton, Shaftesbury. Wilberforce, Booth, Sankey, Moody and more recently Graham did what they did because they believed what the Bible said about mankind.
            And in doing what they did they made their societies better places for everyone.
            Personally I believe that evil is parasitical. It destroys or perverts what is good, but has no life of its own.

          • CliveM

            Good view of evil DB, I like that.

          • dannybhoy

            Good view of evil?? 😉

          • CliveM

            You know what I mean!

          • dannybhoy

            Har har!

          • dannybhoy

            Oooh
            On that subject I have a very interesting book by Norman Geisler called “The Roots of Evil.” I bought it back in 1980! Very thought provoking.

          • CliveM

            I may look it out.

          • Dreadnaught

            Personally I believe that evil is parasitical. It destroys or perverts what is good, but has no life of its own.

            Islam bucks the principle.

          • dannybhoy

            You made that judgment based on…….?

          • Dreadnaught

            Good question …

  • Doctor Crackles

    Christians in politics, now there’s an idea, shame there doesn’t seem to be any these days. Can work if God leads, which I don’t think you are advocating Gillan (I fear you advocate a utilitarian faith). I see a lot of scope for Christians to be mislead by these initiatives: enveloped by the dialectical process where unpleasant extreme views about same-sex marriage, abortion, Islam and the EU are weeded out. I can hardly see UKIP being promoted at these events can you?

    • Dominic Stockford

      There are one or two Christians in politics – David Burrowes, for instance. However, they will never get promotion, and will probably be shafted by their constituency party at the first opportunity.

  • I had a terrible nightmare …I dreamed that the election was over and that either Milliband or Cameron had won…….

    Democracy: 2 lions and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

    • Phil R

      Neither of them will care very much if the other wins as they are both the same.

      • I wish that Labour had won the last election. then Cameron would have been ditched for David Davis and we might have a conservative party worth voting for. As it is, the choice is between the hard Marxist left under ‘never had an honest job’ Milliband and ‘I can’t count’ Balls, and “Blair in a blue disguise’ cast iron Cameron.

        Its like being asked to choose between an ear infection and irritable bowel.

        Voting UKIP even if it ‘lets Labour in’.

        • dannybhoy

          Yes, for years politicians have used the old fear ploy to get you to vote for them, and then if they get into power they renege on their promises.
          Unless UKIP do something really cockeyed or despicable I shall campaign and vote for them.

        • Phil R

          I wish Labour had won also. I don’t actually believe that we would be in any poorer or be in any more debt. Apart from gay marriage and decimating the Armed Forces. I cannot think of anything that they have achieved.

          What have they actually done in the last 5 years?

          • Guest

            They’ve allowed oil companies to start poisoning the water for profit (fracking – I have friends in Balcombe). That’s what else they’ve achieved. I don’t think I can vote conservative with Cameron in charge……Oh and by the way I feel just as strongly about gay marriage and the lies told about being family friendly etc. as I do about the lies told on green issues.

          • Phil R

            It is just a game to them

    • Martin

      Stephen

      Presumably you couldn’t tell the difference.

  • All things being equal and ideal, democracy is can be compatible with Christianity, its cornerstone proposition being to promote and protect the dignity of each and every human being. Democracy can be a good in and by itself. However, all things are not equal or ideal.

    There is a cultural war going on – within and without the Church. In the process of transforming a child into a social being, the individual internalises the host culture, e.g., language, values, norms, gestures, etc. The human being is subject to a process of socialisation and this culture is a shaper of human consciousness and activity.

    The natural law is written into the constitution of the human being but the internalised conceptions of culture will make it easier or harder for the individual to follow its dictates. A secular mainstream culture that is materialistic, utilitarian, morally relativistic and radically individualistic is shaping the younger generations who are choosing a non-religious worldview. The natural law is more and more viewed as obsolete and anachronistic. Under present cultural conditions, democracy is working against the maintenance of an authentic Christian faith and not for it.

    One cause of the decline of Christian Churches and their impact on culture is their failure to successfully evangelise among their own members as well as the British population at large. There is a failure in Church leadership to ensure that the Christian faith is articulated clearly and without compromise.

  • Christians need to vote, and to make their votes count.
    I do not believe that Christians can possibly vote Conservative. This government has been the most anti-Christian in my relatively long lifetime.
    I suggest that those of us who have been Conservative voters should vote UKIP unless the candidate is obviously unsuitable or there is a suitable alternative, and that we should write to the Chairman of the Party telling him what we’re doing and why. I suggest UKIP not because I think that either the party or Nigel Farage is particularly godly, because there is a faint chance that they may win a few seats.
    .
    Do not be fooled by Conservative candidates saying that they are Christians, or supportive of Christianity. At a hustings in Exmouth, my M.P., the useless Hugo Swire, declared that he “Did God.” however, when I went to see him over the same-sex marriage fiasco, he announced that he didn’t believe the Bible or in historic Christianity. Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.

    • Agreed. When Cameron drove the perversion of marriage bill through, he cynically calculated that the offended conservative activists and voters would hate it but shrug their shoulders and stay loyal ‘because Labour are even worse.’ If Tory loyalists vote as usual, he’ll have got away with it, won’t he?

      • James60498 .

        Yes. And some of them probably will too. But then some of them were too stupid to see who and what he was when he stood for the leadership election.

        I am used to disagreeing with Labour leaders but Cameron has ruined the party I was a member of for more than 25 years. If I have to choose between the two, I will vote Labour. He will not get away with it as far as I am concerned.

    • dannybhoy

      Well said Martin.

    • Just research the MP’s voting record in the Commons.

  • In the run-up to the election, here’s an article well worth a read:

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/totalitarianism-sex-marriage

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