Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Scottish Referendum – A Challenge For Us All

Walsall Advertiser Living Faith Article, Published Thursday September 2014


On the 1st May 1707 the Act of Union was passed, bringing England and Scotland together to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.  Next week on September 18th the people of Scotland will decide whether to remain part of the UK, or become independent. 

Although we get no say in this historic referendum it will impact us, especially if Scotland votes for independence. 

There are those on both sides of the border, who believe that independence will be good not only for Scotland, but also for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  I however believe we are better together, and hope that the people of Scotland choose to remain part of the UK.

Whatever the outcome of next week’s referendum, I am glad that I live in a free and democratic country, where ultimately the people get to decide their future.  This is in stark contrast to what we see happening in Ukraine, and many parts of the Middle East at the moment, where it is the people with guns who are dictating what sort of government and society people are subject to. 

The Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi said “democracy is not perfect, but it gives you the chance to create your destiny.” 

My Christian faith has always led me to believe that voting in elections is not only a right, but a responsibility, because by participating in the democratic process I get to have a say in the sort of society I want to live in.

This has been one of the key questions in the Scottish referendum debate, what sort of society do people want to create?  It is an important question for all of us to consider. 

The Bible teaches that when Jesus died on the cross it was not just to reconcile people to God, but all things both on earth and in heaven (Colossians 1:20).  Christianity teaches us that we should not only to be concerned about life after death, but life here on earth.  The Christian vision of society that we strive to build is one that is just, caring and compassionate.

We should see the Scottish referendum vote as an opportunity to think afresh about what sort of society we would like to create, and the part we ourselves can play in building that society.