Church of England seeks harmony with EU referendum prayer
LONDON—The Church of England waded into Britain’s increasingly bad-tempered European Union membership referendum late Tuesday by issuing a prayer for use ahead of the June 23 vote.
“God of truth, give us grace to debate the issues in this referendum with honesty and openness,” the prayer opens.
“Give generosity to those who seek to form opinion and discernment to those who vote”.
The ten-line prayer was released by the church four days after US President Barack Obama spoke in London urging Britain to remain in the EU.
Obama’s intervention has exacerbated tensions between the “Remain” camp, led by Prime
RYOSSI MEKELBERG Minister David Cameron, and the “Leave” camp, whose dominant figure is London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Some 54 percent of voters are on course to vote “Remain” while 46 percent will back “Leave”, according to an aggregate of the six most recent opinion polls by academics at the What UK Thinks project.
The Church of England has not taken a position on how people should vote in the referendum.
Although under a million people out of a 53 million population attend Church of England services each week, the church has a deep presence in English society, with churches in most towns and villages. —Agencies EFERENDUM fever is engulfing the British political sys tem. In less than two months British citizens will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to answer a simple question: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
Public opinion polls are too close to call, hence providing an extra impetus to both the leave and remain camps not to ease off their campaigns, mainly targeting those who are still undecided. The final decision whether to stay or leave remains entirely in the hands of British citizens when they cast their ballots on 23 June. However, it would be naïve to expect that international interests would stay out of this increasingly heated and divisive debate.
US President Barack Obama entered into this political brouhaha during his visit to London last week. His message was loud and clear, that as far as he was concerned the UK belongs and is better off staying in the EU. In what some might call candour, and others bluntness, he asserted that at a time of major international crisis Britain’s membership of the EU serves not only British interests, but is also crucial for US, EU and the rest of the international community’s interests.
For the British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose political career rests on winning, this intervention was desperately necessary. In return, the leave camp declared an open season on both