Voting Labour is Un-Christian
Now there’s a provocative blog post title and no mistake, but it’s the view put forward this morning by Cranmer:
When is a free vote not a free vote?
When it is an issue of conscience and Harriet Harman leads a whipping like the one witnessed on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
Whipping is usually fully disclosed, and why should it not be in a free and fair democracy? But to pretend that members have a free vote on an ethical matter, and to inform the public that issues of conscience will be respected, only then to force members down a particular lobby with threats for those who dare to disobey, is mendacious, manipulative and immoral.
And ultimately it is for the Christian in a democracy to be discerning and to vote for the lesser evil. Cranmer is humbly asking his readers and communicants to consider that New Labour is becoming increasingly antithetical towards Christian morality, and has abdicated its responsibility to care for the poor, the needy, and the unborn.
This is the story that I highlighted yesterday, and it’s going to run and run.
There is a steadily increasing intolerance of religious or ethical considerations, and especially to those of immense concern to Christians. The principal justification given to sustaining the present abortion limit, to the production of animal-human hybrids, and to the creation of ‘fatherless’ children, was an appeal to ‘science’ as if it were the only source of reason. The triumph of utilitarianism has relegated religious considerations to the peripheries of sanity, and the only rational context in which debate can now take place is that which reduces ethical considerations to matters of economics or science.
New Labour has cheapened the value of life and negated the primacy of conscience. They have misrepresented science in order to perpetuate their programme of social engineering, and they are intent on destroying the carefully-laid foundations of tolerance and respect which have set this nation apart. They are so intent on legislating for tolerance towards every intolerant minority that they are legislating for intolerance of the tolerant Christian majority.
We are starting to wake up as the body of Christ in this country and beginning to realise that their are deep, evil, spiritual forces at work in this country that have subtlely gripped the soul of many of our politicians. When the serpent replied to Eve in the Garden he said, "You shall not die – you shall become like God, knowing what is good and evil". Of course, the way God "knows" what is good and evil is not that he simply observes events to be so, indepedent of Himself, but rather he himself is the moral compass around which virtue is based. "God saw it, and it was good", not because it just happened to be good, but because God said it was.
But we know have a Government that is the epitome of humanity that sticks its fingers up at YHWH and says, "I want to be God – I will decide what is true".
And that’s what sin is, and its wages are death.
It is becoming increasingly evident that Christians should think not just twice but thrice before casting a vote for Labour at the next general election. All those Roman Catholics who have historically supported the Socialist cause must be encouraged to at least consider conversion to the Conservative cause – if only to see a modest reduction in the abortion limit.
Amen. Let it be so.
Raising “challenges” and then censoring anyone who provides arguments you can’t refute is pretty unchristian too. Given your links, I’d point out that waterboarding and existing to serve the 1% that own the country is also “unchristian”.
I haven’t censored anyone. My spam filter picked up a high number of comments from Jonathan and assumed he was spamming. I have manually overridden the moderation which means that Jonathan’s massive number of comments will now appear.
In that case, I owe you an apology : sorry.
The abortion issue was raised at St.Silas last night. I can’t conceive of any Conservative goverment trying to make abortion illegal again, especially not one led by Cameron who I gather “real” conservatives (Simon Heffer etc) regard as essentially a liberal populist.
The problem is that the senior hierarchy of the Labour Party have made abortion a party political issue by whipping their MPs on the subject. Given that the huge majority of Conservative MPs support lowering the limit and given that the huge majority of the electorate support lowering the limit, a Conservative Government would very likely revisit this subject, either through a Government Bill or by supporting a Private Members Bill.
To the point of banning abortion? If the best that can be achieved politically is lowering the limit then why, if a pre-20 week abortion is as much a murder as a 20-24 week one, should someone vote Conservative if they may be less “Christian” in many other areas than Labour? Every so often it is noted that a majority of people support the death penalty but serious political party would ever try and bring it back.In the US context, I did hear fears that there is an influential faction in the Republican party that is moving towards overturning Roe vs Wade but always took this to be alarmist.
Murdering less is better than murdering more.
From an institutional perspective, the fact that Labour feels free to whip so hard against a relatively innocuous bill is surely one more sign that there is an unhealthy political balance of power in UK politics.
From a political/ethical perspective, the idea is that it is time Christians as the minority they now are begin asserting themselves politically as Christians. This does not mean a simple vote for the Conservatives, but advocating for their values in all realms in an informed manner.
When I say informed, take the case of foreign aid… Support for foreign aid is not necessarily ethical. In fact, it is often not, given most foreign aid goes to oppressive regimes instead of individual recipients. Even assuming, like Sachs et al and DFID, that sending aid to needy individuals may be less efficient (and I would argue against this), it is still much more ethically sound and Christian than giving it to governments to make them even less accountable to their people.
Interestingly, if the US is anything to go on, Roman Catholics in this country will not allow themselves to be swayed at the ballot box by single issue political agendas. It seems to me to be highly simplistic to argue for them to do otherwise, in that history clearly shows that no political party in this country can claim the moral high ground when it comes to them being the custodians of Christian orthodoxy – whatever that might be in the ethical realm.
I think it is interesting Peter that you attack the Labour party for their anti-Christian agenda, especially, I guess, in areas of social policy. I cannot believe that the Conservative party would have led us to anyway different if they had been in power – you only have to look at the candidates that are standing as Cameron’s Conservatives to see that they share many of the ethical and social values of the New Labour counterparts.
Peter, your paragraph on the deep, spiritual forces that have gripped the souls of our politicians is highly charged in rhetoric – I do have some sympathy with it though, I think I would have written something similar myself about Thatcherite Britain. It was possible this government more than any other which laid the foundations for the highly individualist nature of modern society, to which both the Labour Party and Conservative party are the modern heralds – maybe, it should be a plague on both their houses. I think it might be time for the ‘Green Party’ to take over.
“Green party” policies have marxist principles at the forefront, so no – we don’t want them to take over.
“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes” and all that.
I think marxism is far more in accord with Jesus’ teaching than (to look at Peter’s links) the party of Ann Coulter and waterboarding……
I agree Ryan.
The Jerusalem community in Acts hardly look like your typical capitalistic community. I have always liked the idea that the Labour party can trace its antecedents back to both Marxism and the Methodists – Keir Hardy being a good example. My knowledge of the Conservative Party is less good, but I wonder what grassroots Christian movements have shaped it; it seems to me that most of its history it has been influenced by an unhealthy, aristocratic, Christian paternalism – hardly Gospel stuff.
Marxism in practice has denied a place for religious faith in national life.
The two great commands are to love God and love your neighbour. This is what underpinned the apostles as described in Acts.
Marxist ideas are predicated on jealousy of wealth. What ever happened to “Thou shalt not covet”?
I fear I’m also going to have to quote Lady T:
“No one would remember the good samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well !”
I am intrigued how those principles outworked themselves in Acts. They seem to have far more parallels in what Marx wanted (barring the religious dimension) than Adam Smith.
I am not sure anyone would want to question having money, the issue is in whose hands it should belong. I am sure the Good Samaritan could have done what he did, working out of a collective understanding of wealth, his charity is not predicated on private ownership.
I would like to quote Mrs T as well:
‘There is no such thing as society’ – you could really imagine Jesus saying that one?
Thank God that the Anglican Church published ‘Faith in the City’ as a riposte to her, I think they were accused of being Marxist as well by the Tory press. At least, the Church was doing something worthwhile then than being distracted by sex.
Out of interest, as I know there are some keen students of the Bible on Peter’s blog, someone once told me that Jesus talked about two things more than anything else: hell and money, both usually in the same breath. Anyone know whether this might be true?
Yes Winston, it’s true.
I do like the idea that the very early church held everything in common. I wonder though whether that is intended to be a normative praxis or simply an observation of the koinonia of the early church and how it played itself out.
I am quite fundamentalist on this – it seems to me that we have a paradigm here for holy living, and we ought to not try to neutralize the text by any so called liberal attempts to rob it of its biting edge. I think that this is a first order issue; particularly, if Jesus is so explicit in his connecting of our use of money with our eternal fate. What else does it do this with? Maybe, we ought to start really pressing those who lead our churches to explain why they are not living up to texts like those in Acts, quiz our ordinands on their bank accounts, and preach in our pulpits the necessity for holiness of life with regard to our financial stewardship. You know recently, I have had letter from an ‘independant Anglican minister’, whatever that is – oxymoron, isn’t it, quizzing me over the nature of my relationship with my partner. I so wish he had asked me about my financial undertakings, who my bank invests in etc. – now that would be radical, Gospel stuff!
For once we might be in practically total agreement. I do think it beholds us as Christians to be holy stewards of that which we have, and especially as clergy to be held accountable in all moral areas of our life.
And on the record, it’s not the job of any “independent Anglican minister” (which is a complete oxymoron – on this our ecclesiology is identical methinks) to question you and hold you accountable on your living arrangements. That’s the job of the Bishop….
Is there any sort of theological dictionary suitable for laymen you could recommend? It’s easy enough to google terms like koinonia but they seem like the sort of things that a Christian should know anyway (I did some theology at Uni but it wasn’t terribly technical). Thanks.
Gregory – that Marxist states proscribed religion doesn’t alter the fact that, in it’s arguably most important concern of wealth distribution, it is close to Christ’s teachings.
Wikipedia is your friend….
The full quote from Lady Thatcher as Prime minister in October 1987, talking to Women’s Own magazine:
“I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”
Individual people are tangible. Society is not. If you blame society, who are you blaming?
You do your research on wikipedia? That explains a lot ;-).
I find it frankly appaling that, people who applaud (for example) the RC’s teaching on sanctity of life issues *ignore* its thinking on social justice and try to convince themselves that Jesus would approve of a goverment for the rich. I’d love to hear (given his links) Peter try and defend the Republican party as “Christian”. Also curious that the right make a big deal out of the christian faith of Bush (jr) or Thatcher whilst regarding (say) Clinton as a force for secular evil.
Thanks for the full quote – what she says is still antithetical to the Gospel.
‘It is our duty to look after ourselves, and then to look after our neighbour’ – me thinks not! This does not chimes well with the Golden Rule or the Greatest Commandment. I do not think Jesus would have gone to the cross on this maxim of Mrs. T.
‘Thereâ€™s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.â€ – you can really hear Jesus saying that one.
I have to say as a child of the miner’s strike – anyway who believes that Mrs Thatcher is role model for a godly ethic is on to a looser.
I don’t defend the Republican Party as being particularly Christian. I do defend my preference of McCain over the Democrat candidates.
“â€˜Thereâ€™s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.â€ – you can really hear Jesus saying that one. ”
Well, I know that I am not entitled to heaven, but I have “blessed assurance” of going there because Jesus has met the obligation that was incumbent upon me – death – and triumphed over it.
Gregory – a slight twisting of the quote there, but I like the twist.
If Jesus is our model, if we, like Christ, meet our obligation to help others even when they are not entitled to it and have failed in their own obligations, it seems to me that we are totally going against what Mrs T meant. She wants us to feel obliged to do something and do it, and than be entitled – total reversal of what you are saying, and why Mrs T’s good news was not good news at all.