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General election forum
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Foresters


Posts: 207
Joined: May 2006
Post: #21
30-04-2010 09:22 AM

michael Wrote:
"It should also be possible to raise questions .... which should be of particular concern to Christians ..."

to me 'should be possible' doesn't give any justification for the chair to open with this question.
It does seem from the CTSFH site, though, that this always was the premise of the meeting.

This should have been a fringe meeting in addition to proper independent hustings.

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #22
30-04-2010 09:48 AM

I'd like to respond to Michael's posting. I am vice-chair of Churches Together in Sydenham and Forest Hill and was in the lead on organizing last night' s forum. (Good to see about 100 people there, despite the rival attraction on the telly).

Although there was a gap in 2005, there is quite a long tradition of CTSFH organizing hustings events during general election campaigns. In doing so, we have had two objectives. One is to provide a forum in which Christians and others who are committed to exploring the political implications of their faith can raise issues of particular concern to them which might not get much of a hearing in other strands of the campaign. The other is to provide a service for the local community, by giving them an opportunity to see, hear and question their local candidates, and thus to support the local democratic process.

Obviously there can sometimes be some friction between these objectives. Perhaps in future we should recognize that more explicitly in planning and publicising the event.

I am sorry that Michael felt that Bishop Christopher's decision to open the meeting with prayer was not 'appropriate or respectful.' It was after all a church-sponsored event, and this has always been made quite clear, as Michael acknowledges. I have been a life-long observer(from school assemblies onward) of public prayer being offered, without overt complaint, in the presence of a mixture of believers and non-believers. I've always assumed that it's not a big psychological problem on such occasions for non-believers to dissociate themselves from what's being said. (I've done it myself at some Christian services I've attended, e.g. when I found myself on the point of unwittingly dedicating myself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!)

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #23
30-04-2010 10:34 AM

I'm not entirely sure how non-believers can dissociate themselves from such prayers. One Atheist in the audience I spoke to after the event pointed out that although 3 of the panel confessed to being lapsed Christians or non-believers, they all joined in mouthing the words to the prayer. Possibly not as easy to dissociate yourself as some may feel. The pressure felt by the candidates to join in with the prayers shows exactly why I feel uncomfortable when prayers become part of a non-religious event.

I shall need to remember in the future the difference between events that take place in a church which do not necessarily have acts of Christian worship and church sponsored events where they may be included. And I do hope that in the future we can have local hustings debates that are not church sponsored and can more accurately reflect the concerns of all local people.

I'm happy to attend church services (without taking part) and respect other people's beliefs and traditions, but I do not like acts of worship being mixed with what are meant to be inclusive events. I am very pleased that my schools since the age of 6 have not asked me to sit through or exclude myself from public acts of worship.

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #24
30-04-2010 11:10 AM

I can see that it would be easy to miss the Christian connection, after all, the secular Ward Assemblies are also held at Living Springs, in its capacity as a convenient hall, rather than a place of worship.

But, come on, what did they actually have to say for themselves? Were there any clear "winners"?

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #25
30-04-2010 11:24 AM

One other point I should have made is that all the questions actually put to the panel, including the first one, came from members of the audience or via our website. Bishop Christopher however did edit the first one before actually putting it, with a view to making it less potentially divisive. Rather than asking candidates directly whether they believed in the Christian God, he put the stress on the question of how their beliefs and actions informed their policies and political actions; he gave them the opportunity of talking about their Christian beliefs, but only if they wished to do so.

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roz


Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #26
30-04-2010 11:29 AM

Not wishing to split hairs, but I never appreciated there was a specifically 'Christian' God. I thought God was God in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths albeit sometimes by different names, but still 'God'.

I would still like to hear more about was actually discussed.

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Foresters


Posts: 207
Joined: May 2006
Post: #27
30-04-2010 11:41 AM

[quoteroz]I would still like to hear more about was actually discussed.[/quote]
Hear Hear! Maybe there should be another thread for reports on how the meeting went and how the candidates presented themselves?

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #28
30-04-2010 11:55 AM

Well this is my personal summary, feel free to disagree and add your own analysis - if you were present:

We found out that only one of the candidates is a regular church goer, the others have strong personal beliefs and a Christian up-bringing. All are against poverty in this country and abroad. All oppose climate change and have policies to address this. All are politicians because they want to make a difference and help people. All have strong local connections to the area (although Jim and Romaine clearly had a greater connection with the area).

Regulations and Red Tape in public services probably saw the closest thing to a different emphasis from the parties, with Chris talking about primarily about business regulation, Jim defending public sector targets as improving and monitoring the provision of services in the absence of a profit motive, Romaine wants less form filling for public sector workers, Alex wanted less centralisation and more power to the people on the frontline.

All had plans for job creation, some using the environment to employ people and others creating more apprenticeships.

Jim defended the whipping system. Romaine emphasised the Greens complete lack of whips and the tension between members with religious beliefs that sometimes conflict with policy. Chris pointed out they are elected on party manifesto commitments but would do what was right for the constituency and tell the party leadership to stick it if they told him to vote against the interests of local people.

Romaine was the best performer. Alex was a bit flustered by the 'God question' at the beginning which he had to answer first, but recovered and I overall I would say it was generally about equal between the three main parties.

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #29
30-04-2010 12:04 PM

In a slight aside, apparently counting for MP takes place on Thursday night, counting for mayor does not start until Friday late afternoon, and counting for local councillors does not start until Monday!

Is anybody on the forum going to attend to counts to report on the local results? You can post them directly or SMS me and I can post the results (mobile phone number available if you are able to help out, send me a PM).

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #30
30-04-2010 12:04 PM

Roz said:

Quote:
I never appreciated there was a specifically 'Christian' God. I thought God was God in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths albeit sometimes by different names, but still 'God'.


I suspect the questioner meant 'God as understood by Christians' (i.e. as a Trinity ,and everything that follows from the doctrine of the Trinity, which is not of course the same understanding of God as Jews and Muslims have). I guess however that if she'd wanted she could have said 'the God of the Abrahamic faiths', which would have been more inclusive.

Thanks, Michael, for your helpful summary of what was said.

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Baboonery


Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #31
30-04-2010 12:47 PM

Forcing the candidates to mumble along to ridiculous invocations so as not to appear ungracious or out of place. Making religion the first question. Absolutely shameful, but not in the least surprising. Better a million politicians than one theocrat.

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jon14


Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #32
30-04-2010 01:51 PM

Roz Wrote:
Quote:
I never appreciated there was a specifically 'Christian' God. I thought God was God in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths albeit sometimes by different names, but still 'God'.


Roz, a religion depends entirely about what it says about Christ. In that regard, Christians believe He was God, every other religion denies He was God. So there's a marked difference.

robin orton Wrote:
I suspect the questioner meant 'God as understood by Christians' (i.e. as a Trinity ,and everything that follows from the doctrine of the Trinity, which is not of course the same understanding of God as Jews and Muslims have). I guess however that if she'd wanted she could have said 'the God of the Abrahamic faiths', which would have been more inclusive.

Thanks, Michael, for your helpful summary of what was said.


Which sounds like we all have different understandings of the same God. This isn't true as Muslims and Jews say that Jesus was just a godd man. Christians, Jews and Muslims shouldn't be categorised togather as 'Abrahamic faiths', as Jews and Musilms by rejecting Christ have no faith in the God of Abraham.

I don't know why people are so scared of Christianity. This country gets worse as we reject more of its values. If we all lived by the values of the Bible, this country would be a much better place. Quite why it is 'absolutely shameful' to ask a question about religion at a debate about morality in politics is beyond me.

I think it speaks volumes about the prejudice of the comment's author. This is the same author by the way that accuses others of 'boorish intolorance' on other threads.

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Baboonery


Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #33
30-04-2010 02:07 PM

No prejudice involved. I've lived under the christian yoke and rejected it. The self-appointed interposition in politics is unwelcome.

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Baboonery


Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #34
30-04-2010 02:11 PM

Perhaps the title of this thread should be changed to General election forum for christians, if that is what it was.

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #35
30-04-2010 02:24 PM

Jon14 Wrote:
Christians, Jews and Muslims shouldn't be categorised togather as 'Abrahamic faiths', as Jews and Musilms by rejecting Christ have no faith in the God of Abraham.


We might need to go back to the thread about religion rather than the one about the general election, but I cannot accept that talking about the 'God of Abraham' excludes Jews and Muslims. Abraham never believed in Jesus, and without getting into the complexities of Christian theology, it is a shame that you are not prepared to at least share the label of Abrahamic with people who claim to be decendants of Abraham.

But if you are not prepared to share the term then I feel the right to claim it as my own. Anybody who knows me will agree that I am more 'Abrahamic' than anybody else. Wink

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jon14


Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #36
30-04-2010 02:43 PM

Michael Wrote:
We might need to go back to the thread about religion rather than the one about the general election, but I cannot accept that talking about the 'God of Abraham' excludes Jews and Muslims. Abraham never believed in Jesus, and without getting into the complexities of Christian theology, it is a shame that you are not prepared to at least share the label of Abrahamic with people who claim to be decendants of Abraham.



Jesus said (speaking to the Jews) - "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."

Abraham trusted in a saviour from sin. Jesus said Abraham believed in Jesus. Christians trust in the God that Abraham trusted in. The Jews tried to kill Him, and don't trust in Him now.

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robin orton


Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #37
30-04-2010 02:59 PM

As a Christian, I would like to dissociate myself from Jon14's comments. This is not the place to argue the case, but they are a deplorable parody of what I and (I hope) most Christians believe.

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jon14


Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #38
30-04-2010 03:04 PM

Robin, if this isn't the place, then please PM me with what is deplorable. I'd be interested to know because as far as I'm aware this is the Christian position!

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #39
30-04-2010 03:09 PM

Jon14,
There's only one way to settle such theological debates, let's have another pogrom and kill those who killed your god.

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jon14


Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #40
30-04-2010 03:25 PM

The Jews are entitled to thier views, just as everybody else is. I just don't think it's fair of people to say that they worship the same God as Christians, because that's not true. We are here talking about Jews who reject Christ as the Messiah of course. Not ethnic Jews, many of whom are Christians.

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