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Do not wait for fate but create your destiny

SHOULD THE CHURCH be involved in politics? For many of us, politics is a dirty word, a synonym for dishonesty, misused power, patronage, self-interest, pressure groups, propaganda, and ideology. A phrase such as “An honest politician” is commonly seen as an oxymoron! Hence a lot of people in the Church hold the view that the Church should keep away from issues of politics and let politicians deal with them. 
 
There are also politicians who share similar views, although for a different reason. They view the Church as a threat to their careers and projects, and therefore do not want the Church to interfere with political affairs. Politics and faith shouldn’t be mixed up, they argue. History is a great educator. It tells us that root of many of the human disasters of the past were results of failure in politics. Tyranny, wars, ecological disasters and anarchy are all results of bad politics.
 
However, with that being said, something else needs saying: the Church, although holy, consists of sinful people. Similarly, politics is in its concrete life, like the Church, is full of sin and self-interest. Therefore, like the Church, politics demands our involvement. No Christian or concerned human being is afforded the luxury of avoiding politics since no one is afforded the option of avoiding community. 
 
We are essentially social beings, meant to live with others. Our involvement in politics therefore, is not a choice but a responsibility. Without effective politics, we are the helpless victims of chance, fate, loneliness and an unpredictable future. Over the past couple of weeks various Church communities in Hong Kong joined hands with the rest of the people of the city and sung in unison, Sing Alleluia to the Lord, in letting the government know that the political affairs of this city are indeed matters that concern us. 
 
Twenty-two years have passed since Hong Kong became a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.  Worries over its future from two decades ago have come to the fore with the unfolding of a series of events over the years. The denial of promised rights to universal suffrage, proposed of educational reforms to the school curriculum—so-called national education—viewed as a propaganda tool and lately, the proposed extradition bill are all seen as signs of the Central Government’s attempts to increase control over the affairs of the city. 
 
The people of Hong Kong felt helpless for a long time because they watched the political developments in the region from a distance. Helpless because they were alone, not effectively linked with others, unable individually and in their small families, coffee and Church circles to have much impact. But, when faced with the threat of losing freedom of speech, religion, movement and assembly, and faced with the omnipresence of injustice and economic imbalance, people came to the realisation that “it is not good for man to be alone!” This deep-felt helplessness and frustration explains what drove over two million people out onto the streets on June 12.  
 
What do we aspire to? We shall not wait for our fate, instead we create our destiny. We mustn’t shy away from being politically involved for as Edward Schillebeeckx says, “what we dream alone, remains a dream. What we dream with others can become a reality.” jose