Well that’s unusual – politicians usually say ‘hands off’ if faith groups look like getting interested in political issues. So Secretary of State Jim Murphy’s speech suggesting that ‘religion should play a role in British politics’ gives pause for thought. He certainly got a robust response from the Cardinal.
The danger of politicians talking like this is that they may want to take the ‘faith agenda’ and ‘shrink-wrap’ it to fit a political agenda. But .. take it at face value .. the exercising of the informed Christian conscience … the careful measuring of political issues against the values of Christian and other faiths. What would the agenda be? Well here are a couple of things for starters….
Justice – the shaping of a new world order in trade and food
Global Warming – a real concern for creation
War and Peace – a new commitment to resolving international disputes without recourse to war
Education and Health – major priorities
Wealth – how it is created and how it is used
Society – how to build an inclusive and tolerant society
I am interested in genuine dialogue between faith groups and politicians – but it needs to extend beyond the issues which dominate that dialogue at present. Most of all, I would love to see a new substance to political debate – it seems to be almost entirely tactical at present.