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EU Referendum Opinion

I think Christians should vote for the UK to remain in the EU.

What follows is a Christian rationale for remaining in the EU. Someone expressed an opinion to me along the lines, “Staying in the EU will result in increasingly evil, secular government of the UK”. As a Christian, that person (correctly) feels that despite God’s complete sovereignty over government (Rom 13:1) it is important to use their vote to promote God’s kingdom. This is right. But here are some things to consider:

The EU lets us show Jesus’ love and sacrifice

Immigration from the EU provides a steady influx of people who need to hear the good news that Jesus loves them and gave himself up to repair our damaged relationship with God. This influx is wonderful, because the mission field comes to us. Every Christian should seriously consider learning foreign languages applicable to their neighbourhood, whether Polish or Arabic, as it might be your evangelistic duty to do so. Apart from extending our mission field at home, the EU allows our missionaries to travel more easily to places in Europe where God has called them.

“Tighter border controls” are in almost all cases an argument for increased selfishness, imperialism, and racism. As Christians, we have a duty to love and care for the least, the last, and the lost. We have an opportunity to care for those fleeing evil wars in their homeland, and that incurs a biblical duty to reach out a caring hand to any foreigner, without judgment; “He loves the foreigners who live with our people, and gives them food and clothes. So then, show love for those foreigners, because you were once foreigners in Egypt.” (Deut 10:18-29)

Preventing immigration is often about preserving our quality of life and limiting the amount of tax we pay. These are both things which we should be willing to sacrifice, to prefer others who do not have as much as we do. We should, as Christians, always choose to suffer if it can glorify God, which it does when we give up what we have for others. God is our all-satisfying treasure.

In short, we should steer away from anything powered by fear, ungenerosity, and personal concern. We should steer towards options that give us a greater reach to love others and glorify the Risen God.

God will not judge you because your country is in the EU

This world is corrupt in all its parts: in every civilization, on every continent. You can look at the EU and say “that’s an evil, ungodly government” and split it down into component parts. Now look at the UK, and you’ll say “that’s an evil, ungodly government” too. Maybe your local council is small enough to be a sufficiently god-fearing institution and should secede from the UK? But no, it’s not. My point is that you cannot split the world down into any unit and say “that is good” because this is a fallen world. Here’s what you can control: You.

Faith cannot be imposed at government level. And if God’s law is imposed at government level, it does no good to the non-believer (because the law can’t save them). The Christian cannot make themself responsible for all behaviour of non-believers in their nation… there is a kind of pessimistic Christianity which fixates on God’s judgment of a nation due to the evil of her citizens, and it’s a trap. You are asked only to humble yourself and pray. You are not asked to make everyone else obey the law. God exercises perfect justice in all things.

On a practical note, your vote to leave the EU may be to regain moral control of the country, but it will not mean that to our government! Do not imagine that there will be a swing towards biblically centred laws because we leave the EU.

What would Jesus do?

Christianity is the imitation of Jesus. That’s all. Take a look at a breakdown of what Jesus spent time doing and caring about, and see his priorities. In his ministry, Jesus allows government and tax to be marginalised by the real issue - on which he spent the vast majority of his time - which was showing God to be an all satisfying treasure. Whenever asked about government or tax, Jesus generally shrugs it off as something ephemeral, taken care of, or without lasting impact or value. Jesus was a revolutionary and yet he never once debates politics or even discusses the government. His one, central, political warning is “beware the yeast of the Pharisees”.

And what is the yeast of the Pharisees? It’s legalism.