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Mention of the election suggest just one other thing. Religious considerations, have bulked rather largely n this election, writes Mr. Chapman Cohen in The Freethinker, as I suggested some time back they would. There are quite a number of Non-conformist parsons putting up for Parliament, and some will certainly get in. Cardinal Bourne calls upon Roman Catholics to make a promise to put “Rome on the rates” – more than is the case at present, a test question, and to vote only for such candidates as will promise their help. Never mind any other issue, he says, let this one be decisive. Help the Church first, and let all other things come afterwards. That is all quite usual, so far as

 

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talk is concerned, but what part does genuine religion play in it? The Catholic Church has arranged the usual excursions to Lourdes and brought back its usual bath of “cures.” Not to be behind hand, certain sections of Protestants have tabulated their list of miracle cures. The Yorkshire Vicar thinks he can get good crops by praying over the fields. The Bath parson thinks he will help the tobacconist by blessing his shop. But none of these people even claim that the election figures will be decided by similar means. They tell you that it is God’s will you shall act in this or that manner, the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a prayer – at one penny a dozen which will inform God almighty what his followers expect from him, but none of them appear to place much reliance upon God in the matter of the election. They seem to place no more reliance upon God than did King George and Queen Mary during the Kings recent illness! Yet, surely, if God can help the fishing industry after the blessing of the nets, if he can boost a tobacconist’s business or procure good crops, surely, he can manage such a little thing as a general election!.

Perhaps, the real reason why these political gentlemen do not leave it to God, is that an election is a definite affair, and the result can be seen within a very short time. Recovery from illness, growing a crop etc., are things on a different footing. The element of uncertainty is present and where that exists religious opinion has always a chance. Besides, looking after the crops has always come within the province of the medicine man and something is to be said for the power of association. After all, we do not become intelligently reasonable by putting on trousers nor scientific by driving a motor car. The medicine man is a medicine man whether dressed in a black suit with a dog collar, or with a scanty covering of paint and feathers. To say that, means also that his followers, while following him in a change of dress, remain loyal to him in the continuity of their mental outlook. Savagery belongs to no particular time, but runs through all time, in diminishing quantity, one hopes, but it is there. And today all these primitives have a vote at least in this country.

- Revolt, 23 June 1929

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