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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

9 May 2014: Linda Clist, St Mary Magdalen, Sheet

It's your choice

The leaflets appear on the doormat; the TV reporters radiate growing excitement; observers predict the turn-out... These are the unmissable signs of an upcoming election. In a little over two weeks' time, we'll find out who we, the voters, have chosen. We are free to choose: so free that more of us will opt to stay away than vote.

Do you remember the first democratic election in South Africa? People were so ecstatic about their freedom to choose that they got to the polls early, queued happily and chose purposefully. Sadly, it's unsurprising that those who've always had the right to choose tend to take it for granted. But even more significant than our democratic freedom is the basic human freedom to choose.

Some like to caricature the Christian God as a crusty headmaster issuing diktats from a throne in the sky. Giving people free choice is an attitude that doesn't sit easily with the cartoon image. Yet God's respect for human beings and their choices is one of the most striking features of Christianity. No-one can be forced to believe. We are all free to choose.

I think it's a real waste not to use our freedom to choose our MEP. If we care about choosing, we'll need to find out about the options first. How much more of a waste not to use the freedom to choose our way of belief. And if we care about choosing, we'll need to find out about the options first...

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Herald on 9 May; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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