This letter will come to you shortly before the General Election. Therefore I thought you might be interested – partly as a change from having my own thoughts – to see some extracts from a Pastoral letter that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to all the clergy and Readers of the Church of England at the beginning of May.
“Our first obligation as Christians is to pray for those standing for office, and to continue to pray for those who are elected.”
“Our second obligation as Christians at these times is to set aside apathy and cynicism and to participate, and encourage others to do the same.”
“The Christian virtues of love, trust and hope should guide and judge our actions, as well as the actions and policies of all those who are seeking election to the House of Commons and to lead our country.”
“If our shared British values are to carry the weight of where we now stand and the challenges ahead of us, they must have at their core cohesion, courage and stability.”
I have underlined the key words they go on to say more about. I cannot include it all here but if you would like to see it all, please email me. However, as they talk about each of those qualities it seemed to me that they were wanting to draw us back to a time which was characterised by more ‘fairness’ in our country and world; a time when there were not such extremes of wealth and poverty, of power and powerlessness, as exist now both nationally and internationally, pointing out that reducing those differences is good for our society and world as a whole. They conclude:
“These deep virtues and practices – love, trust and hope, cohesion, courage and stability - are not the preserve of any one political party or worldview, but go to the heart of who we are as a country in all of its diversity. An election campaign, a Parliament and a Government that hold to these virtues give us a firm foundation on which to live well together, for the common good.”