To vote or to not vote?
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Does the Mail on Sunday columnist and Anglican Christian Peter Hitchens have the right not to vote?
He argues that if you go to a store and you don't like any of the goods on offer, you are not buying. Similarly, he doesn't like any of the political parties on the ballot so he doesn't vote.
But is a consumer-centric approach to the right to vote for Christians? Is there a moral duty to participate in the governance of the country by exercising a democratic right hard-won by previous generations of Britons? Can you really compare voting with shopping?
At least here in Lancashire, where I live, there is an opportunity to vote against the political consensus in the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner in May. Reform UK, which has spoken out against the vast majority of conservative, labor and liberal democratic politicians nationally and locally, is putting up a candidate.
But the problem with Reform UK for a Gaullist Christian Democrat like me is that it leans towards libertarianism. I am in favor of heavily enforced anti-drug laws, while libertarians tend to liberalize, especially the law against the use and sale of cannabis. Should I risk voting for a party that could legalize cannabis when it comes to power?
I intend to vote for Reform UK because they opposed the lockdown to the government's opposed restrictions on Christian churches. The Good Friday outrage in south London when Metropolitan Police officers disrupted a service was an all-time low for me.
I was deeply ashamed that this happened in the United Kingdom, the once Christian country for which my late grandfather believed he was fighting. He endured 15 months in the trenches before being badly wounded by shrapnel on his 21st birthday in April 1917. If Alderman Mann were alive today and I were Boris Johnson, I would stay away from East Yorkshire to avoid scary dressing.
The Met then expressed regret over the actions of their officers. But the lockdown wasn't the Met's idea.
It would also not be the decision of the police to introduce vaccination certificates for entry into Christian churches. If vaccination certificates are imposed, it is a Conservative government that has done so.
Many Christians have supported the lockdown and restrictions on church services because they believed it was their moral duty to do whatever they could to stop the virus from spreading. But Reform UK and Laurence Fox of the Reclaim Party, which stands for the Mayor of London, have made a moral choice to put freedom and the associated risks above the message of the cult of health and safety.
I disagree with the idea that people should be free to choose an evil like smoking cannabis, with the grave mental health risk it poses, especially to adolescents. But I believe people should be free to attend church, a potentially eternal good, even if they take the risk of catching or spreading a virus in this fleeting, mortal life.
If the British government had made the moral choice to avoid Chinese communists' recourse to the lockdown during the Covid crisis, Christians could have physically met in their churches without covering themselves and socially distancing themselves to keep God's word receive and sing his praises obedience to the New Testament command.
The problem with supporting restrictions on Christian corporate worship, albeit for a charitable purpose, is that it hinders God's primary agent in transforming his world, the Church of Jesus Christ. If the Lord granted a Christian revival in this land, full churches teaching the Bible would be a fruit of it, and self-control would become a virtue. In a re-Christianized UK, legalizing cannabis would not be an election winner.
The Anglican Book of Common Prayer contains this request to God and Father Jesus Christ at Holy Communion: “We ask you to save and defend all Christian kings, princes and governors: and especially your servant ELIZABETH, our Queen; so that we may be ruled divinely and calmly under her: And under all her counsel and all who receive authority under her, grant that they really and indifferently (impartially) serve the judiciary to punish the punishment of wickedness and vice, and for Upholding your true religion and virtue. & # 39;
If Peter Hitchens believes it is his Christian duty to stay out of what he considers to be a fraud by not voting, then that is a matter of conscience. But my Christian conscience is causing me to vote for an anti-lockdown party next month.
Julian Mann is a former Church of England pastor, now a Protestant journalist, based in Morecambe, Lancashire.