Monday, June 20, 2016

What is the morality of remaining in the EU?

During my A-levels I had to write an essay on whether membership of the European union undermined Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom. It was clear to me that time that the answer to that question was an undeniable yes. Acceptance of EEC membership and the Treaty of Rome also meant accepting that all past, present and future European legislation would supersede anything passed by the UK Parliament. 

Thus a constitutional principle was sacrificed: that no one UK parliament can bind another. The fact that the executive arm of the EU is unelected removes democratic accountability. The European Courts also take precedence over UK Courts. We have given up ultimate moral control over our country, we may be able to pass laws and make decisions in courts but they can be appealed through the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights and overturned. A nation must be able to govern itself according to the law of God. The basis of the God-appointed role of civil government (Romans 13) is to promote good and restrain evil (in accordance with God's law). Yet our nation has said that not God's law but European law is supreme.

These are simple facts however anyone wishes to spin them. They can say that we have traded sovereignty for something else but we have certainly given it away. Only recently, however, I came to see that this is not merely a political point and a matter of civil liberties but a moral question.

Our relationship with Europe has no moral basis. It is based on an oath but an oath must be true, just and righteous (Jeremiah 4:2).It must be an oath that is true and must commit us only to things that are just and righteous. It is altogether wrong for individuals to make an oath that commits them to implicit, unquestioned and automatic obedience whether the matter is right or wrong. If we are giving our word to submit to any future European legislation then this must potentially include things that will be morally wrong - it is therefore swearing falsely. If we are swearing with a mental reservation and intention that we will not keep our word if it does in the future commit us to anything morally wrong - we are also swearing falsely.

It is only acceptable to make an oath concerning something that we are able to perform and we know to be morally right to perform. When Herod made an oath to give his step-daughter anything she wanted it was not a morally acceptable oath. He ought not to have kept it when it was clear that it committed him to that which was morally wrong but he certainly also ought never to have made the oath in the first place (Matthew 14:7). [I am indebted to an address "Should We Be A Member Of The European Union? - A Biblical Assessment" by Rev. David Silversides for crystallising some of these points].

We do not have a legal basis or guaranteed opt out for picking and choosing European law if it proves to be morally wrong in the future. The time has come to release ourselves legally from an oath that has no moral basis by voting to leave the EU. It is one of the many threats to the moral security of our nation. Release from this dangerous oath will not solve our moral problems, nor will it guarantee our moral security. But in a straight choice between whether our nation ought to be ensnared in a morally false oath or not, our moral duty is clear. Vote Leave.