By the time this magazine is published the result of the referendum will be known and there will be tension and uncertainty whatever the outcome. The question that someone asked me recently was: “How does you faith influence the way you vote?” Some people say religion and politics don’t mix, but faith, I hope, influences every area of my life – otherwise it’s less important than many hobbies – and that would be an insult to God. The world in which we live is complicated and there is no simple religious answer to these questions – I know of Christians I respect who have thought deeply and decided differently. The issue which seems to be the most contentious is one of migration.
I like lots of things about Britain and feel very lucky to have been born here. Democracy, free education up to 18, the NHS and peace and safety for the majority of the residents are amongst the reasons that make the UK a good place to live – even the weather could be a lot worse than it is!
I know that if my family were unlucky enough to be born in Syria then I would want to do my best to protect them and escape to a safer place. If my family were unlucky enough to be born in a country where there was no democracy, no healthcare or education that I could afford I would want to try to change that – but without democracy how would I do that? Perhaps I might encourage my adult children to go somewhere with better prospects – much as I would miss them.
The Bible is full of stories of people desperately trying to find a safe place to live and to flourish. Migration has always been part of the life of the world. As we thank God for all that we value in this country, is not also incumbent upon us to pray for others who are seeking the same things for themselves and their families? Is this not also part of the second great commandment? I know this is complicated but surely where God has blessed us, so we too need to be ready to be blessing to others.
Praying for a better world for everyone,