Christians, Firemen and the opportunity of Democracy

A news article this morning caught my eye.  The Fire Brigade Union are having an argument about the representation of minority groups on their executive committee.

The debate centres on whether having black, gay and women representatives on the committee gives those ‘interest groups’ greater power than corresponds to their proportion of the total membership.

It represents a microcosm of some issues which we find in society at large.  Because of course, suggesting that these representatives shouldn’t have so much influence immediately leaves you open to the charge of “racism, homophobia or sexism.”  Toleration now seems to be our society’s primary value – although as many have argued this isn’t real tolerance.

But the reality is, that in a parallel way, well-organised ‘minority’ groups in democracies can affect the lives of everyone.  And therein lies the challenge for Christians today.

Where is the Christian Voice in (and my focus here is very limited) UK politics?  There is surely a place for political involvement by Christians – and in a democracy that should not simply be limited to organisations like The Christian Institute but individuals should be getting involved.

At the recent protest in London regarding the Sexual Orientation Regulations, there were a large number of Christians present.  But in reality only a small percentage of the total number of Christians in London alone, never mind throughout the country.

There is theological thinking to be done on how to engage, which is why this year’s Oak Hill School of Theology on Public Theology is so timely.

But we should not just be thinking, but also doing.  We are not called to build heaven on earth, but we are called positively to influence the world in which God has placed us.

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