Christians need to be involved in politics, the Archbishop of York has said.
It would be “absurd” to suggest that there are some areas of God’s world that are out of bounds to Him, Dr John Sentamu said.
In a message in The Mail on Sunday newspaper he writes: “Faith centred on Jesus Christ insists that concern for others’ wellbeing means political involvement (that is the deliberation and participation in how we are to be governed). That annoys some politicians and their supporters who want a monopoly over public affairs.
“When they pillory bishops and others for daring to invade the territory hitherto regarded as their private preserve, they are suggesting there are some areas of God’s world that are out of bounds to Him. That is as absurd as it sounds.
“God is creator of the Cosmos and that includes the Palace of Westminster and the White House. There are followers of Jesus Christ in all the main political parties in the UK. It is not for me to tell their fellow church members how to vote next month, but I will encourage them to use their vote.”
The Archbishop said that Christians are not excused suffering, and in many parts of the world are at greater risk because of their faith.
“In the midst of all this is the virtue of Christian hope, which comes from the contagious conviction that death, grim as it may be, is actually the prelude to something else. A comma, not a full stop, a pause, not the end.”
His comments came as he performed his now traditional open-air Easter baptisms, saying the water was “much warmer than normal”.
But some of the candidates who took part in the total immersion ceremony outside York Minster today did not agree with Dr John Sentamu’s analysis of the water temperature in the tank.
Christopher Pillai said: “When I first went in it was absolutely freezing and I thought ‘this may not end well’.”
I’m relatively new to the faith. Before then I was a little bit lost. It’s transformed my life.
His brother Christian Pillai said: “The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is to get up from there and smile at everyone.”
He said: “I’m relatively new to the faith. Before then I was a little bit lost. It’s transformed my life.
“Everything is more upbeat, everything is a lot better. This is a public declaration of my thanks, my gratitude and my love.”
This is the 10th year Dr Sentamu has conducted the baptisms outside the South Door of the famous cathedral.
Around 300 people gathered to watch the service as the sun made occasional appearances.
The Archbishop, who stood in the tank with the candidates, said: “It was much warmer than normal. I’ve been in that water when it’s absolutely freezing. And the sun was out.”
Dr Sentamu said: “They’ve not been in it before and it was cold but, nevertheless, a joyful day.”
Six people, including eight-year-old Amelia Scarlet Lennox and 15-year-old Abigail Long, took part in the total immersion part of the ceremony.
There were five baptisms planned but homeless John Youll asked if he could be included and the Archbishop agreed.
Dr Sentamu said: “The good thing about all of this is to simply say to people the whole message about the Christian faith is love.”
The service of baptism is organised by One Voice York, a network of Christian churches and leaders of different denominations working together across the city.