Belief, Religion and Faith within the Political arena

September 20, 2017 Opinion , OTHER , POLITICS

Reuters photo

 

By

Hazel Speed

 

There has been a lot of discussion in recent times, regarding whether it is possible to have a faith, and still be a politician.

 

What is being considered is whether or not we can honour God within every aspect of our lives, especially so, if one is a politician.

 

It is a tautology in itself, as if we have a faith, then nothing will equal its importance in daily living, wherever we are, and whatever the moment.

 

There is an ironic paradox in two respects:

 

  1. It is said that within French politics, the public are suspicious if a politician does not have a mistress, as that would be considered unnatural, hence the term generally, cinq et sept? Meaning mistress time is between the hours of 5-7pm, before returning home en route from a person’s office.

 

  1. Many are saying also, that In the UK, it is fine to try and alter the Brexit vote, by wanting to overturn democracy, but wrong when traditional Christian views are expressed if contrary to laws of recent years.

 

So there is a paradox.

 

There is an old term referring to the number of people attending Church, i.e. ‘bums on seats’, but faith cannot be quantified like that.

 

Surveys tend to assess if the population is ‘religious’ or not, based on that type of assessment.

 

Faith and organised religion are not one and the same thing, though for some people they do consider them to be mutually inclusive.

 

The best way of clarifying this is to say that some people want to attend a church and/or need to do so, but for others, they say their faith is not measured in that way, but rather it is what they believe in their hearts and how they live their lives, trying to emulate Christ every day, if they are a Christian.  The same applies to most other acknowledged belief structures within society, of any peaceful ethos.

 

Another irony is that England/UK declares itself to be a Christian country, and Her Majesty The Queen is ‘Supreme Governor‘ of the Church of England, and also Head of State in respect of the UK, its Territories, Dominions and Commonwealth Countries – per Her Majesty’s Coronation Oath. She has to uphold the Laws passed by UK Parliament, but her heart is free to take its own decisions.  Nobody can legislate in respect of the stance of a human heart, except, of course God, as far as His believers are concerned.

 

However, for the purpose of this article, I wish to keep to the point relating to whether an MP can declare his, or her, belief without redress.  It would appear not.

 

We have seen, and still see, news items, where ordinary people are sued for wearing a crucifix during working hours, which has offended, or may offend colleagues, or members of the public, whether those of other faiths or no faith.  Also discussions with colleagues who have differing faiths (or none at all), have also resulted in legal claims.

 

Pretty soon, we may live in a country where private views on any matter will only be safe to express in secret, like an underground or resistance movement hiding the contents of a soul.

 

In fact, the UK often negates its own declared statutory religious beliefs in order to show equality to those of other nations, thereby, in turn, showing inequality to its own faith as a nation.

 

I heard a person remarking on this kind of thing about six years ago when they said it was common knowledge amongst their friends that England would be taken over one day without a shot being fired, because of it indulging others and relinquishing its own identity of mindset, customs and beliefs.  It made me think about that at the time and I have never forgotten it.

 

Some go on to ask, then what about an MP having to accept the legality of same sex marriages if they cannot do so under their own beliefs, if they are ‘old school Christians’ or not.

 

The former Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron was pursued by the media to answer the question, ‘did he think same sex was wrong?’  After some time he said he did not think it was wrong, but a little while later on, he resigned as Leader of the Liberal Democrats, saying there was conflict between his own personal church/religious belief, and what was required of him as Leader of a Party, yet he remained an MP.

 

What difference that showed between being an MP or a Leader as to his answer seemed inexplicable to some, others thought he lied, and then a number remarked they thought it was an excuse to resign as Leader of his political Party as he had not been successful, especially during the last General Election.  Who knows except the man and his God.

 

Some wondered if his Church may have rebuked him for his statement, and he was put on the spot by them as well.

 

An MP should be able to declare (or choose to keep private), their own personal view, and distance themselves from any involvement of debate, or abstain from a vote on an issue of social or political conflict, as they are currently doing so over Brexit, if a Remainer, though many volunteer that information.

 

A politician knows that if they declare they think same sex marriages are wrong, then politically that may well be the end of their career.  But why?

 

Another paradox of principle exists, in that those who have advocated for equality of same sex marriages have now, in turn, created an inequality, like flipping a coin, with regard to those who think the opposite to themselves.

 

There are many existing (new and old laws) which are not the will or vote of each MP, yet on issues under consideration herein, it appears to some (whatever their views), that this subject is a poison chalice in political terms.

 

In the Bible there was reference to a story when Jesus was being tricked into answering a question of loyalty as between which had supremity, the State or religious belief – which aspect was paramount.

 

Matthew: 22:21

 

He replied with an appropriate answer, ‘render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s,’ e.g. if the face on a coin has that of Caesar upon it, then that leader would have claim to the coin, etc.  In other words, it was a manmade object and a coin owned and minted by Caesar.

 

Having said that, in some ways it was a redundant argument in that God created Caesar in the first place.  The Bible does not relate if that point was made, but most would have been too afraid when they heard the wisdom within the retort.

 

Though Romans 13:1 says:

 

‘Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God.’

 

The sad thing is that there is inequality in Parliament relating to these situations.  Isn’t it better to know the worth and honour of an MP, even if he stands against something (whatever the issue), and declares that stance openly, as then one knows he or she is a person whose integrity in that regard and other matters can be relied upon, therefore one could reasonably assume he or she would speak their truth on all issues, without fear, if they can do so about this one.

 

So there is a reverse bigotry in operation that MPs cannot follow their conscience, regardless of the subjects before them.

 

We are also told if we honour God, He will honour us.

 

Many historic wars have been fought over religion, faith and belief (worldwide as well as domestically within the UK), and sadly throughout the world it remains the case; the caveat being that many conflicts exist in the name of religion, whether or not they are, as God is primarily a God of peace above all else.

 

Therefore we should revere the right to hold our respective traditional and national beliefs, each to their own conscience, and without threat to this nation or people.

 

A true believer of a peaceful God or Creator would not, in turn, restrict the right of others to express their belief, even if it conflicts with their own.

 

The Bible tells us that God/Jesus, for instance, loved all of us.  Jesus forgave a sinner who was on a cross next to Him at the time of crucifixion and said ‘truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’

 

In the times of Christ living as man on earth, He spoke kindly to all, and through gentle, enlightening words, invoking them by comment or remembrances of God’s Commandments, He left them to choose accordingly from their heart and conscience.

 

So there are many whose views conflict, on diverse matters, but we must respect everyone, to treat the other with the respect we ourselves require.

 

Right or wrong?  Many MPs in Parliament historically (or even today, whether known or unknown), may be guilty of something, but they should not be made to feel afraid for holding a view that is not currently popular, to the contrary, they must express it if they feel they should, but if they are penalised for doing so, then we have no Parliament, as it exists being that of a representative vehicle of individual democratic thought.

 

We should all ‘think on these things’.

 

Parliament must make it known that there will be no retribution against those whose beliefs on any issues go against the grain of others.  Even existing Laws may be disagreed with, but they still remain legislative Laws.

 

The squabbling over Brexit proves the point whereby a democratic Law is trying to be pushed aside by those who do not agree with it, but it was a legally democratic vote.

 

If those who wish the Laws of Same Sex Marriage to be adhered to as Legislation, one wonders what they think of those who will not accept the Brexit situation, when that is the legal vote of the people.

 

Let us feel free and adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ to zero tolerance, thus enabling all MPs (and Peers), to speak freely as to their own views when in Parliament.

 

Now that would be true equality of expression of views, and bring integrity back to Parliamentary debate.

 

 

 

 

Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com. She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

Art sites: www.candystoreart.comwww.terrificart.comwww.artbadges.co.uk

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