The relationship between civil society politics and religion is an ambivalent one. On the one hand politicians can warn faith leaders to ‘stick to saving souls’ or to confine themselves to statements about personal morality, particularly when they are critical of government social policy. We saw an example of this in 2013 and 2014 when Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke passionately about the vicious return of poverty in the UK since the 2008-9 financial crash. Welby criticised the UK government’s social policy in strong and clear terms. On the other hand successive UK Prime Ministers from Tony Blair onwards have recognised the enduring social capital possed by faith groups, especially in socially excluded communities, and sought to draw on this in relation to social cohesion and social inclusion policy agendas.
Last May I wrote an article entitled ‘A Spoke in the Wheel of Injustice’ for the online journal and forum ‘Public Spirit’ in which I ask what role faith groups should play in the face of institutional injustice and endemic inequality. What happens when ‘the common good’ is jusy not good enough? Given the result of the May 2015 UK General Election these issues are beginning to raise their head again. With this in mind I thought the article might offer some resources for reflection in this new political era. Have a read of the article by clicking on the link and see what you think….