Sign-up for free e-newsletter

Viewpoint from Rev Peter Timothy 17/06/2016 

PeterTimothy2014Rev Peter Timothy
Minister, Park Baptist Church

Should I vote 'in' or should I vote 'out'?

And so the big day looms ever larger on the horizon. No, not the end of term, or the Maritime Festival. I’m talking about the EU Referendum

On June 23rd, we will be asked to decide whether we should stay as members of the European Union or leave. It’s a huge decision - something which won’t be repeated for at least a generation - and for that reason is undoubtedly the most important vote we’ve been asked to make in decades

Unless you’ve been rehearsing your finest ostrich impression, you cannot have failed to notice the relentless campaigning from both sides of the debate. Whether it’s the “Remain” or “Brexit” camps, neither group has exactly covered themselves in glory in recent weeks

dove leftAccusations of scaremongering, false statistics, and unfounded hypothesising have been fired in both directions, leaving many people disillusioned and downright fed up of the whole saga

So what are we to do? As a Christian, I’ve had many conversations about the debate, and have heard the question repeatedly asked: “Is there a Christian perspective to all of this?” Put simply: “what would Jesus do?”

I know Christians with a variety of views, but for what it’s worth, I think there are a few basic principles worth considering before we vote

The first concerns Jesus’ command to “love your neighbour as yourself”. Love is the foundation of Christianity, because in reading the Bible we discover that God is love (1 John 4:8)

Love is a far more powerful tool than hate and has the power to create positive change

Dove rightWhilst there is general agreement that we want a positive relationship with our European counterparts, the real question here is whether being in the EU enhances or hinders our ability to love our neighbour

This question can then be applied to the various areas of the debate. For example: If loving our neighbour involves being at peace with them, how does being in/out of the EU affect that?

The subject of immigration has also been a dominant theme. Once again; the call to love our neighbour provokes the questions: who is my neighbour? Who is in greatest need? When we find these answers, we can then ask whether being in or out of the EU assists or hinders our ability to love

Look beyond the scare tactics, beyond the personal agendas of politicians, and look for the real questions behind it all. Whatever your conclusions, make your voice heard: vote