While I do not claim to know the full political meaning of the latest message from the Standing Committee of the Province, concerning a political awareness seminar held last week, I did find several quotes that I wish would find a home in spokespersons of the Episcopal Church’s governing bodies. Here they are:
“Conscious of the fact that a new political culture is germane to the emergence of the new Nigeria of our dream, the Church therefore commits itself irrevocably to partner with all relevant electoral agencies or bodies to ensure successful general elections in Nigeria not only in 2007 but also in subsequent elections. While regretting her political aloofness and inertia, the Church believes that the need to wrest politics out from the hands of hawks and predators into those of godly and patriotic Nigerians is urgent, imperative and compelling…
To this end, every Ecclesiastical Province and Diocese in the Church of Nigeria should carefully study all the relevant electoral laws and acts and endeavor to explain same to the electorate as a way of getting them well informed enough to be able to resist the manipulations of wicked politicians. Political Education is to become part and parcel of the Church’s mission and ministry.
Every bishop is enjoined within his Diocese to identify, persuade and encourage men and women of integrity and good Christian virtues to present themselves for elective positions and/or offices. It believes that only when such people get interested and involved will our society be on the path of recovery and rectitude. It should be made clear to people that shying away from active politics is both an anti social behaviour and an ungodly act.
It is the duty of every bishop to mobilize, sensitize and conscientize all eligible voters to endeavour to be card carrying members of any political party of their choice. Again every true Nigerian Christians should see it as a duty to participate fully in the forthcoming revision of voters Register so as to take active part in the process that will lead to the emergence of God-fearing leaders at all levels in our country next year.”
The sections I highlighted are of particular interest to me. The message from the Standing Committee can be take as promoting a particular sort of political future (Christian, perhaps evangelical), but I am not aware of the extent to which that is a "read in," as opposed to a “read.”
Still, important principles are there:
- Everyone ought to understand the political system, their voting rights, and how to get information on votes taken, and how to monitor elections.
- Everyone ought to take part in the political life of the nation – voting, running for office, being aware of the issues in elections.
- Everyone should resist being manipulated by political parties, high officers, etc.
Our election and governing processes in the United States are corrupted by money, money, money, and deliberately engineered to remove from our gaze any grim reality of the war that continues to beat down the poor, produce massive domestic and foreign corruption, and kill and wound. The discussion of inconvnenient truths concerning global warming, human rights for captives, returning caskets, aging in poverty and more, is almost non existent.
We need the our own Church to call us to the vocation of the political life and to do this in concert with others concerned. Some of what the Nigerian Church has stated and done in this seminar for the Standing Committee needs find its parallel in the Episcopal Church.