Wednesday, May 06, 2015

RE-POST: The Least Bad

Here is what I wrote on the eve of the last General Election.  I find that my thinking is much the same this time around...

Tomorrow, I will be voting for what I consider to be the least bad of the options put in front of me. None of the options is hugely inspiring, and none is particularly friendly to the Christian gospel. But then, I don't expect them to be. After all, the decisive encounter between Christianity and the state can be summed up in the phrase 'crucified under Pontius Pilate'. That phrase colours my whole idea of what the state is, and it doesn't lead me to expect much.

Can I suggest there are two main things we should be looking at?

Firstly, and most importantly, I can look for the people I think will most promote the common good. By the common good I mean not the interests of any particular section of society, but the good of all. Of course, we will have different conceptions of what the common good actually is; all I can really say to that is: be suspicious of your own ideas. It is very easy to con ourselves into thinking that 'what would be best for me' is the same as the common good. Moreover, the common good can be considered from lots of different angles - financial welfare, liberty, community coherence. Resist reductionism - the common good cannot be only a matter of economics, or only a matter of freedom. Who offers the least bad option, in terms of balancing the desirables?

Secondly, and particularly as a Christian, all I ask from the state is that they leave me free to live, preach, and worship (1 Tim 2:1-4). Who offers the least bad option on this front?

At the end of the day, I am waiting for perfect government, and I belong to a city where that government is vested in the hands of the Perfect King. That doesn't make tomorrow unimportant; but it does put it in perspective.

"But while they live in Greek and barbarian cities, as each one's lot was cast, and follow the local customs in dress and food and other aspects of life, at the same time they demonstrate the remarkable and admittedly unusual character of their own citizenship. (Christians) live in their own countries, but only as non-residents; they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners." - Diognetus, 2nd century AD

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, useful! And loving that quote at the end - now *that* is inspiring...