Sometimes people - especially young people - say that they are not
interested in politics. Of course there are aspects of politics which
may only ever interest a small number of people - opinion polls, voter
trends, swings - all the statistics which make politics more like a
sport than anything else. Obama or McCain? Brown or Cameron? Stoke or
Vale? What's the difference, and unless you are a supporter, why care?
And of course, there are many who say we should never mix religion and
politics. They feel politics is a public matter and religion a private
matter, so religious people have no right to impose their opinions on
Well, what does the Church teach? Give to Caesar what belongs to
Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. It is not for the Church to
meddle in the nitty gritty of political debate. It is not for the
Church to say whether the banks should be nationalized or whether we
should enter the Euro or whether Stoke on Trent should have an elected
mayor or not.
But it is for Church to speak out on clearly moral issues, not
necessarily saying how things should be done or not done, but saying
why. It is for the Church to speak out about the welfare of the poor,
the protection of the unborn, the human rights of migrants, the
necessity of resposibility and honesty in the financial markets. Give
to God what is God's.
If Britain, so far as I know, the Church has never felt it necessary
to take it's responsibility so far as to propose any one particular
party. We may be relieved that this is so, but of course it puts an
even greater responsibilty on us. We will ask ourselves, which is the
most competent, but we must also ask is the most moral, has the
concerns of the weakest most closely to heart?
Fr Peter Weatherby