Questions!

If you were asked anything about sex would you answer? Whatever you said would be remembered, and perhaps against you. If you were asked about abortion or euthanasia would you have a clear answer – death is involved. If your answer were to be broadcast would that influence the way you phrased your reply?

Tim Farron has resigned as leader of the Lib Dems. He said he cannot square being a believing Christian with being leader of a political party. A number of our prime ministers and party political leaders have been Christians, some nominally and some with conviction.

What did they understand that Tim Farron doesn’t? He was mocked for his saying that gay sex was not sinful though the Bible seems clearly to teach that it is. Someone quoted the Gospel “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world … and Tim had denied his faith for a handful of votes.

Pope Francis, when asked a similar question, replied “Who am I to judge?” and that was considered a wise answer by some and an evasive one by others. The Pope is not due for an election and was able to answer fearlessly – and that’s what he said. We wonder why Tim Farron did not answer in a similar way.

In a democracy people vote for the candidate who pleases them. Few people are one issue voters, most of us have a range of concerns – political, moral, social, national and international – that we know need to be addressed in parliament and we are foolish to believe the candidates we vote for will share our opinions on everything. Could I, if I were a candidate?

Which seems to be why we are told to vote and trust. No MP can vote as all the constituents want: compromise, fudges and agreements are essential in a democracy. That is why democracy is a failure for those who want to live in an ideal world. We have to accept that legality and morality are not the same, that compromise is not the same as agreement, that we all have different opinions and convictions and no one of us can reflect everyone else.

The ward sister said to me kindly “I don’t agree with abortion but it’s part of my job and I go through with it. You, as chaplain, can avoid this ward so why put yourself through the agony of knowing that you are surrounded by abortions?” “Because sometimes women are glad to talk,” I said. Who was right?

God bless us, believers and unbelievers,

Fr John
(18th June 2017)

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