Rev Kenneth Stewart


The Present Duty: The Political Process



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The Present Duty: The Political Process




  1. Maintaining the Dissent

First of all, in politics generally, it seems most effective and consistent with our principles to maintain or resume the practice of political dissent at the ballot box – either by refusing to vote or, preferably, by spoiling the ballot paper (which is effectively a way of that saying the we value the right to vote and wish to be able to use it but that we find ourselves unable to do so).

I am conscious that, for many, this may be hard to take and, in some respects, the objection to the effect that this policy of dissent is simply not realistic is the most powerful objection of all. After all, if good men do nothing (in this case, if they don’t vote) then evil men will have their way.

However, just as the fear of possible evil consequences can paralyse would-be reformers from doing right, so it can persuades them into doing wrong.

The antidote to the fear of the evil which might prevail if significant numbers dissented is the same as in all similar moral cases: the right thing always needs to be done irrespective of the consequences. The key lies in having faith: after all, we need to remember that these consequences are in the will of God who has foreseen the issues, with all their dilemmas, and who ensures that the right course of action will always secure his own blessing – even if not necessarily our comfort:

‘Perish policy and cunning; perish all that fears the light: Whether losing, whether winning, trust in God and do the right’.




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