In the USA, there is a pretty clear divide politically, and Christians often voted predominantly for the Republican Party candidates. In the UK, it used to be said that the Church of England was the Conservative Party at Prayer.
I do not have sufficient recent experience of the US to make any valid comments on whether the party affiliations of Christians have changed, but I would like to look at the way that churches in the UK approach matters political.
Firstly, there are some 5 bishops from the Church of England who are members of the House of Lords ex officio, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester, and the 21 longest serving diocesan bishops who together are known as the ‘Lords Spiritual’ as opposed to the other members of that house, the Lords Temporal. No other Christian denomination has any automatic right to have any of its leaders appointed to the House of Lords. No other religion has a right to have any members appointed to the House of Lords to ensure that its view is heard when legislation is being passed through Parliament.
However many, if not most churches do accept that there is a political aspect to at least some of the work that they do within the various communities where they are based. Often the churches seem to accept that they only way to help people is to get the state to do more.
In my home town, one church has accepted money from the local authority to provide a shelter for rough sleepers during the cold weather of winter (a 3-year contract). Almost all the churches are expressing concern that the level of benefits might well be cut, or not increase at the same rate as before because ‘the government is hitting the most vulnerable in society’ but there is no teaching on how we should apply ‘He who will not work shall not eat’.
The Church of England is still having a bun fight over the role of women in ministry. In fact there has been both rejoicing and despair that the man tipped to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury is in favour of women bishops. What concerns me is not the eventual decision that the Church of England takes on this so much as the fact that the arguments have all been driven by feminism, which is a variant of Marxism, but unfortunately not so much the Groucho as the Karl variety. This is a religion every bit as much as Islam or Buddhism, and every bit as false. When we start to debate the roles that each gender shall play in our churches, we ought to be using Scripture as our basis, not some alternative ideology. But this is widespread throughout the various denominations.
We have Christian Aid, which does not seem to know the difference between tax evasion (illegal) and tax avoidance (legal) arguing for a high tax and high government spending type of economy, without accepting that the temptations to corruption in public office are much greater with such a model because individuals are using other people’s money to purchase goods and services for third parties. And not only that, because it is being carried out by the state, the size of the contracts and the amounts of money involved are quite large by most peoples standards, so the smaller business, the self-employed man or woman often totally miss out because there is no way that they can cope with a minimum size contract in government terms. Christian Aid does not even seem to recognise the fiduciary duties of the directors to their shareholders.
I can no more make a decision for any one of you, Dear Readers, to follow the Lord Jesus, than a body politic can make a moral decision. Only the individuals who are in that organisation can decide to make moral decisions.
Our Bible-study group is looking in some detail at The Lord’s Prayer, and last week we were looking at “Lead us not into temptation”. So many of our so-called Christian organisations are arguing for situations where men and women will be led into temptation.
Perhaps we all need to go back to our Bibles. I can find several places where we are told that we must not have hard hearts. If anyone can point me to a reference which tells me we should have soft heads, would they please post it.