How on earth do we vote, for heaven’s sake?

A guest blog by The Puritan.

Gratia, I am The Puritan, friend of the Belfast Bigot. We met many years ago at the University of Erfurt whilst studying for our respective degrees; the Bigot in Patriarchy and Misogyny Studies, and I in Applied Homophobia and Corporal Punishment — so I can assure you that my views and opinions are just as outdated and bigoted as his.

You might say that we came to our narrow-minded conclusions together while imposing our correctitude on unwilling participants throughout this Newfoundland of ours, Northern Ireland. Indeed, it was my idea to tie up the swings on Sundays.

Hark! ‘Tis I, The Puritan. I like to read scripture by the hearth, sparing not the rod on my twelve children, and feasting on quail pottage.

Although I am an active member of the clergy, on my off days I am prone to bouts of reasonableness — particularly after a quart or two of my homebrew Buckfast, which I make with thine own bare feet — so forgive me if I don’t fit how you imagine a hidebound doctrinaire to be!

As a ‘man of the cloth’ people often ask me who they should vote for. Or what issues they should prioritise as they go to vote. So I’ll do my best here to explain my dogmatic and fanatical views.

Election time again? Huzzah! It feels like it was only a few months ago we were going to the polls to cast our votes to…oh wait! It was! Yes, here we are, going back to the polling booths again to vote for the same politicians, who are standing on the same policies, with the same parties for the second time in 10 months!

Why bother?

I understand the frustration and apathy out there amongst the voting public. And in truth, I feel somewhat the same. However, there is more to this election than meets the eye — this is one of the most important elections in recent years. In this election, same-sex marriage and abortion are right at the forefront of almost every party’s election manifesto.

Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance, People Before Prophet (sorry, ‘Profit’), the UUP (by proxy of Mr. Nesbitt’s “We’ll find ourselves on the wrong side of history” speech), the Green Party, and that bearded Labour fella with the back-to-front t-shirt, are all raring to give a hearty Norn Iron “aye” to ‘equal marriage’ (well, ‘equal’ in the context of including gay people. Bisexuals would still have to deny their true selves by marrying only one person, and anyone with an eye on their cousin can go straight back into the incest closet from whence they came). This means that only the DUP would oppose a change in the current legislation.

Furthermore, a change to the current legislation on abortion, specifically in regards to Fatal Foetal Abnormalities (which, by the way, isn’t a term you’ll find in any medical book) seems to be gaining momentum. While there is not the cross-party support for abortion as there is for ‘equal marriage,’ there is a growing hysteria, brought about by quinoa-eating liberals, who think we’re denying damsels in distress the opportunity to vanquish their babies via forceps or saline, rather than letting nature take its course. This has led to many who are supposedly opposed to abortion, falling over themselves to vote this through the assembly, simply because the definition of abortion has been loosened to include children with proposed unsurvivable conditions. Because this makes them less human, apparently.

For those of us who are archaic enough to value marriage and life, this makes for grim reading. Up until now, our only refuge has been the DUP’s willingness to temporarily set aside their democracy and invoke a Petition of Concern, thereby stopping any bill to change the law, in its tracks. Their willingness to drop the Petition of Concern, I believe, would have drastic consequences, virtually guaranteeing the implementation of the above two policies.

But it’s the DUP!

I know, I know! The DUP, at times, don’t display anywhere near the attitude of loving their neighbours that Christ calls us to. I find their arrogance a bit off-putting too if I’m honest. Not to mention they have all the charm and craic of a Translink AGM.

But — I am very aware of their fallenness and of their imperfections (as I am of my own), so whenever I go to the polls, I go to elect someone who will seek to put those laws in place that are compatible with the Bible.

Additionally, it may be helpful for Christians to vote across party lines in order to highlight their support for those candidates who support the biblical view of marriage and the preciousness of life. The life of a child and the future of marriage are too important to vote along the green and orange divide. Do your research and find the politicians who stand with us on these things — and support them with your votes; let your conscience guide you as to preference.

So, in conclusion, when I go to the voting booth, I go holding my nose, yet thankful for the freedom to vote, and the awareness that I serve a righteous and just King. A just King who is the perfect leader and Who, one day, when this world is no more, I’ll be serving in His kingdom, because His is an everlasting kingdom.

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