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I'm a Christian and I want to remain IN

Sarah Dickson, Director of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum, writes why she wants the UK to remain in the EU and how her faith has guided her.

During Fairtrade Fortnight last week, I was reminded of one of Martin Luther King Jnr’s thought-provoking sound bites; the sort that stop you in your tracks to make you think a moment.

“Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world”

Seeing it on a poster on our office kitchen cupboard door every time I made a cuppa, it made me realise the reality of our world in its increasingly interconnected state. As we become more interconnected, we face more international crises from climate change to refugee crises. Our actions impact the lives of those across the world and people in other nations’ actions impact our lives more and more. This compels us to cooperate with our neighbours across national borders.

It is by working together that we can build and maintain peace; that we can stand up and inspire action against global inequalities; and that we can form strong inclusive communities. This is why I want to stay IN.

People within the Church community have been living out this outward looking vision for decades and the EU referendum on the 23rd June gives Britain an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to doing so too.   

Formed after 1945, the European Union was set up with the aim of building unity and peace between European countries. For the past 70 years, the EU has successfully made European war impossible because leaders have come together to negotiate and cooperate. I have grown up taking peace for granted and Europe is largely to thank! Through this cooperation we are able to tackle the climate change that is destroying some of the poorest people’s livelihoods and dirtying our air. We are able to stand up for people’s rights – protecting maternity and paternity leave, tackling human trafficking and expanding our aid reach to some of the most vulnerable.

For me, Jesus’ inclusive, borderless love can be best lived out by shifting our focus globally. Remaining part of Europe gives us a space in which we, in Britain, can expand compassion, social justice and reconciliation to a far further end than the British Isles.

There is no doubt that the EU needs reforms but it is not by walking away from the table that change happens. On the inside, we can be influencers. Britain is a leader in Europe. We can use our leadership to reignite a vision for Europe that goes beyond the economy to one of a vibrant, peaceful and compassionate community. The need for which, as our world is confronted with more and deepening international pressures, is overwhelming.

So, when you’re eating your breakfast, mull over the Martin Luther King reminder that the world’s structure is one of interrelatedness and it is by working together that we can truly love our neighbours.