Letter: Religion and politics

This letter sent to the Star was written by Joan Craven, Oakworth Close, Halfway, S20

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 8:41 am
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 6:49 am

It is well known that these two subjects (religion and politics), are inflammatory in the best of times but linking them together as my letter does at a time of an election is perhaps provocative.

We have an extreme government whose policies and ideological austerity over the last nine years have increased child poverty, working poverty, homelessness, whilst at the same time allowing the very rich to increase their wealth by 185 per cent. Surely the very opposite of the teachings of the Bible and even John Wesley guru of Methodism whose advice was to “reduce the gap between rich and poor”.

As churchgoers tend to be middle class and probably have a tribal affinity with Conservatism (An assumption. I have no statistical evidence for this though there probably is some), I wondered if there is any dilemma between that tribal inclination and the teachings of the Bible as I cannot imagine that Jesus would approve of a political ideology that shows such a lack of compassion for those weaker and vulnerable.

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I know many Christians who are goodness in action in their daily lives, visiting hospital patients, helping in hospices, visiting lonely people etc. but do they, perhaps having voted Conservative all their lives find the actions of this government reprehensible and at total odds with their faith. I find it ironic that many churches collect and donate food to food banks with members of the congregation then voting for the Conservatives, the very people whose ideological austerity has necessitated the existence of food banks in the first place.

I personally find it very difficult to understand how someone who has faith and follows the teachings of the Bible can reconcile that with the ideology of this particular government though I think it is safe to assume that there were some Christian members of the Conservative Party who managed to overlook the dubious character of Boris Johnson and vote him in as leader despite him being the antithesis of Christian values. Hopefully Christians will look at this government critically and realise that voting for them will enable them to inflict more misery on the poor and vulnerable and make the lives of ordinary people more of a struggle. With an NHS, schools, social care, police in crisis Christian values will not flourish though the greed of the Conservatives with their hedge funds and tax avoidance (check out Paradise Papers), continues to do so.

There are many people undecided who to vote for in this complex election but for some Christians it must be additionally difficult.