'Street debate': Photo by evans.photo Flikr, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Democracy is a wonderful thing. However, election campaigns themselves can be hurtful and divisive – and it’s not just the feuding politicians that bear the scars.
This morning I heard a longstanding and respected MP say that she wouldn’t be standing again at the forthcoming general election.
The final straw had been an anonymous tweet she had received, in which she had been called a murderer. It came after months of anger and recrimination that had been directed towards her.
The MP in question has decided she’s had enough and is going back to her old line of work.
You’ll often find the anger is at its worst on Facebook and Twitter. We seem to be emboldened to speak our minds in a way we wouldn’t dream of doing if we were talking to someone face-to-face.
One (hotly contested) recent opinion poll suggested that over half of people asked considered that the risk of violence against MPs was 'a price worth paying' to get their preferred Brexit outcome.
It’s sad to see how many Christians have been sucked into the hostilities, myself included on occasion.
As God’s church we are not called to agree on every issue. However, we are called to disagree well. We need to watch our hearts and our tongues as we engage in dialogue with people who see the world very differently from ourselves.
To show there is indeed ‘nothing new under the sun’, the following is a quote from John Wesley’s journal in 1674: