by Ian Paul, Psephizo:
The question of Britain’s relationship with the EU is rapidly becoming the most pressing question of our time—and perhaps the most pressing question for our national life for several generations, certainly since the end of the Second World War. Yet Christian leaders seem to fall into one of two traps—either saying something partisan which alienates one side or the others, or saying nothing at all and leaving a vacuum.
It is therefore with some trepidation that I make these observations, though I am in the interesting (and possibly unusual?) situation of appearing to have social media friends on both sides of the argument, so that whenever I do post comment online, there is interaction between the different viewpoints, and quite often it is helpful and enlightening.
I begin by citing an assessment of the two ‘sides’ of the argument as set out helpfully by Andrew Goddard in his Grove booklet on the referendum—which still bears reading.
It Hurts To Go Away: A Christian Case To Remain
We should stay because the EU’s vision, shaped by Christianity, has led it to much good for its members and more widely. The proper response to difficulties in relationships is not to walk out but to work at them and influence others for the good by being present. The UK has modelled this through the EU after initially standing apart and we should persevere in that commitment. EU membership recognises the value of international co-operation and the need for many political questions to be addressed at a trans-national level. The UK and other nations benefit from our involvement in institutions working for justice. These bodies can never be as representative as local and national political structures but the EU ensures all nations are represented in its deliberations and respects their different histories and perspectives. Its commitment to subsidiarity gives a powerful basis for sustaining such distinctiveness.
To leave would diminish our input in conversations and decisions which will inevitably impact our lives and would isolate us from structures which bring us into regular political contact with our nearest neighbours. It would give credence to erroneous views, especially that national sovereignty is inviolable, and risk fuelling nationalistic or xenophobic attitudes. Voting to remain does not mean accepting the Euro or all other recent developments. Rather, it means being committed to working with our neighbours to seek our shared common good.
It’s Impossible To Stay: A Christian Case To Leave