In Luke 12:51 Jesus says (via one translation) “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”Now there are people who think that religion and politics are two different 'things' and should be treated differently. Well, that may be true as far as religious services go, but how can we divorce everyday life from spiritual life? It's patently impossible, isn't it (without politics being reduced purely and simply to issues about the economy), and as all spiritual teachings convey a message about doing and promoting good in society, then in my view everyday politics should be infused with values that stem from lasting values. Faith can only be demonstrated in action.
I therefore see the current divisions as a challenge for us all to seek out and promote the real values that we wish to abide by! And - as Jesus so clearly enunciated in the passage above - finding the values that appeal to one's conscience can be in direct opposition to those people you hold dear. There is the challenge.
In my book The Greatest Goal (link) - published in 2012 - it is stated:
The state of affairs in the Middle Eastern countries is horrible and threatens to spill over into The West. Never has the need for a different outlook been greater. We need to live as one, so what is the common ingredient we can all understand and which can bring us all together?The book also states (p.128) "... a new politics is needed ...".
Well, in my opinion, Jeremy Corbyn has become (in my view) the first politician in the UK in modern times to address that "new politics" issue. It behoves his political opponents to join in intelligently with that debate, and not (as they seem to be doing) in branding Corbyn as a person of all kinds of unacceptable characteristics. One of his actual characteristics - integrity - seems to be missing amongst his opponents as they not only ridicule him but do so with malice without foundation. Even the Tory journalist Peter Oborne has noted that anomaly in his article in Saturday's Daily Mail.
But what hope do we have of finding integrity in the Tory front ranks when the Prime Minister (with his enormous wealth and wealthy contacts) has claimed Disability Living Allowance (in the sad case of his son) yet invokes extreme hardship on poor persons who are disabled. And a health minister who, it is alleged, told his staff to keep working to meet targets as the 9/11 disaster was unfolding on their computer screens.
To have integrity you must possess compassion. The Tories, not understanding true difficulty, do not possess true compassion of the heart. It only comes from the head when they have something to say. To them compassion is a word from the dictionary that they believe, if used in speeches, conveys the idea to everyone that they must possess that characteristic. How the wool is spun!
With the financial state of the NHS being what it is, it will be interesting to see whether this government will find the compassion to prevent the potentially enormous suffering this winter.