Within days we will be voting for our government for the next five years. We have heard the promises, been offered the inducements, and promised, that, should we vote for whoever, utopia might not arrive but it will be the next best thing. Our democracy is not as old or as hallowed as many would have us believe: The Great Reform Acts of the 1830’s done away with what was called the “Rotten Boroughs” in England while the Scottish Act (Scottish Reform Act 1832) tidied up affairs north of the border. Women only got the vote after a hard fought fight lasting throughout the Edwardian period and realising its goal during the reign of George V. Males without property of a certain value got the vote at the same time – late 1920’s. Democracy is a precious thing and has to be nurtured for the well-being of all humanity. Think of the times when democracy has not been solid and you will read a litany of terror and mis-government. We are fortunate then we can exercise the right to vote our governments in, and more importantly out of office.
Apparently, in Scotland, as well as Ireland, the Church used to tell people how to vote. I cannot think of anything more preposterous or idiotic yet it happened. It would seem that in the 1920’s the Roman Catholic Church instructed the faithful to vote Labour while the Church of Scotland ‘encouraged’ the faithful to vote Unionist to keep the Irish out of Scotland. No less a person than the great architect of the re-union of the Free Kirk and the Auld Church of Scotland, Dr John White, minister of the Barony Kirk in Glasgow railed against Irish immigration at the time. Immigration, even then, was an issue.
I would never presume to encourage folk to vote one way or another, nor am I, unlike some of my brethren in all the mainstream denominations, going to suggest you put every promise, every policy to the test of Holy Scripture. To try to do so would give you a headache at best and drive you to insanity at worst. What I would suggest is, you give this careful consideration and you think of Solomon, a man who understood that the job demanded more than his physical, emotional and intellectual capacities. Solomon, in all humility, asked for the appropriate gift of wisdom for his high calling to lead God’s people. Maybe we have to ask, who is humble enough to know they cannot do this job depending on their own personal resources alone? Maybe that person should get our vote.