The thing that matters most

Oct 26, 2020 by

By Martin Davie, Reflections of an Anglican Theologian:

[…] In 1992 America was in recession and ‘It’s the economy stupid’ successfully communicated the message that the key issue in the election was the US economy, and that Clinton would do a better job of handling the economy than Bush.

What this piece of American political history reminds us is that any successful communications strategy has to have a clear focus. Those seeking to communicate need to decide what really matters in terms of the message they are trying to convey, and then work out how to get this across in the clearest and most memorable fashion possible.

What prompted me to think about this issue is the fact that in the past week the comments by Church leaders that have been reported in the media have been of a political nature. Earlier in the week the five British and Irish Anglican archbishops warned of the dangers, as they saw it, of the Government’s Internal Market Bill,[1] and yesterday there was an article in the Yorkshire Post by the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Manchester and Leeds highlighting the disproportionate effect of Covd-19  restrictions on poor people in the North of England and calling for a ‘collective, nationwide response’ involving ‘further injections of money to support poorer communities.’[2]

Church leaders commenting on political issues is not a problem. Indeed, Church leaders have an obligation to do so. The temporal well-being of human beings, i.e. their well-being in this life, matters, and so Church leaders need to warn against political policies which seem likely to cause people temporal harm.

However, a problem occurs when the messages coming from Church leaders focus primarily or exclusively on temporal matters.

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