‘The powers that be’ are keeping us very busy this year, what with the elections last month for City Mayor, Councillors and the Police Crime Commissioner; and this month we’ve got the chance to vote whether or not we stay in the European Union.
There are many, many people telling us which way we should vote – I am certainly not going to do that – I’m not qualified! I really hope that everyone who can vote, does vote.
Emily Wilding-Davison was a fervent campaigner for women’s right to vote and she, famously, died whilst trying to pin a suffrage rosette on the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in June 1913. During her time as an activist, Emily was imprisoned nine times and force-fed on 101 occasions. Force feeding was tortuous action, imposed on Emily and the other suffragettes on hunger strike, during which they were forcibly retrained whilst a steel gag was jammed into their mouths and then screwed apart to make room for the rubber tube to be fed into their stomachs. It was a vile, horrible thing to do to a human being. Emily must have been made of very strong stuff because it didn’t stop her from campaigning. Emily saw voting as a human right. I wonder why so many people simply choose not to vote when they have the chance?
Jesus was a very political figure and he found himself up against the ‘powers that be’ on more than one occasion. The Pharisees chided him for not keeping the Sabbath; the Sadducees liked to test him; Herod handed him over to his Roman masters; Pilate washed his hands of him, yet in the end, this most political of prisoners was tortured and nailed to a cross because he dared to tell the truth. The truth was that these so-called powers were focussing all their attention on worldly success, riches and power when they needed, yes needed, to be focussing on God. For as one nine year old once told me, we should love God and love people, because God loves people.
We are the lucky ones. We live in a place and time where we have the freedom to think as we like and live as we choose, (within the law, of course). No one is likely to throw us into prison because we go to church on Sunday.
Many of those who have gone before us paid a high price to give us the freedoms we have today. We do them and their memory a disservice if we take our freedom for granted.