'While walking down the street one day a Member of Parliament is tragically hit by a truck and dies.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St Peter at the Pearly Gates.
'Welcome to heaven,' says St Peter.
'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see MPs around these parts; so we're not sure what to do with you.'
'No problem, just let me in,' says the man.
'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.'
'Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,' says the MP.
'I'm sorry, but we have our rules.'
And with that, St Peter escorts him to the lift and he goes down, down, down to hell.
The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly and nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the lift rises....
The lift goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
'Now it's time to visit heaven.'
So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St Peter returns.
'Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.'
The MP reflects for a minute; then he answers: 'Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.'
So St Peter escorts him to the lift and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the lift open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.
'I don't understand,' stammers the MP. 'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?'
The devil looks at him, smiles and says,
'Yesterday we were campaigning.. ...
Today you voted!’
Brian commented, 'If only I wasn't so cynical....' Well, it's hard not to be, isn't it? A pastor I know writes all politicians off, so that you think, 'I might as well not vote.' It's true there's a limit to what they can achieve, but it's not true that they can't do any good or change society for the better. That's why we're told to pray for those in authority. Personally, I'll be asking canvassers where their man or woman stands on assisted suicide and care of the dying - you'll not be surprised to know. I was sent details of the Westminster 2010 Declaration which lists some major moral issues for our politicians to face; it's based on the premise that our society is based on Christian values and that we're in danger of losing them (www.westminster2010.org.uk).
And I must say, as a counter to cynicism, there are those in Parliament who are not in it for the power or the money but 'to serve and not to seek for any reward save that of knowing that they do your (God's) will'. I guess we should pray and vote for them!