Can you be a consistent Christian and a politician? Tim Farron found it a difficult task and, in the end, resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats. His faith in God trumped all other loyalties.
We have, however, a current example of a Prime Minister whose policies have been directed by his faith. I refer not to Boris, but to Abiy Ahmed, in Ethiopia who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace prize. The son of a polygamous Muslim by his fourth Orthodox Christian wife, Abiy is a Pentecostal Christian. His whole political career has been characterised by a desire to bring reconciliation. One of his first acts on taking office was to release political prisoners and his greatest achievement to date has been making peace with Eritrea. He has been able to defuse conflict in his home state between Muslims and Christians and to reconcile divided factions in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
He has not sought to advance the cause of Pentecostals, or Christians generally, to the detriment of other elements in Ethiopian society. Rather he has looked at the situations in his country and prioritised what has brought good to all. His experience of being reconciled to God in Christ Jesus has made him a reconciler. As a convert from a mixed religious home, he has not demonised the faith of his father or his mother; but shown by his actions the way the Gospel has transformed him.
We may not be politicians, but the example of this man invites us to look around to see where we can be reconcilers and to become people who commend the Gospel by showing the ways in which consistent living can bring good to all. And it stimulates us to pray for Christian politicians like this in our country.
Rev’d Ray Porter