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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

8 April 2015: Joyce Perry, United Reformed Church

Just a thought...

We have heard a good dealt about 'rights' already this year and probably more in the weeks leading up to the elections..

The year began with the attack on the Paris magazine, challenging its journalists' right to free speech, followed by concerns about our right, in this country, to prompt access to health care. Meanwhile in Syria people saw their rights to live safely and peaceably literally shattered by bombs and shells; and in West Africa thousands lost their lives in the ebola outbreak because the most basic health care was lacking.

It all set me thinking. Should we have 'rights' that are not available to everyone? Or, are some of our 'rights' actually privileges, enjoyed by a selected few? Those rights were won by people living before us, risking imprisonment or even death. Do we value them, remembering the debt we owe?

It is a bit like a coin with its two inseparable sides. On one side is 'a right', on the other 'a responsibility' because, unless used carefully and thoughtfully, my rights can conflict with someone else's and may be lost.

On 7 May we shall exercise a combined right and responsibility. To use our vote? Yes, but also to elect someone we feel can be trusted with our communal future. Look past the 'promised' policies and try to meet and question the actual candidates.

At this time of year Christians remember how a man called Jesus put aside his own rights and bore the results of our failed responsibilities, costing him a cruel death. Would you or I do that?

 

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