Freedom of choice
Charities, lobbying organisations, bishops and other public figures are calling on Christians to use their votes prayerfully this election time. With the date set for 6 May, and polls from ComRes and YouGov predicting a hung parliament, Christians are being counted on to stand and deliver at the ballot box.
Nola Leach, chief executive of CARE, said: ‘The election presents the church with a unique opportunity to play a part in shaping the kind of society we want to live in’.
If Christians don’t vote, who is voting? Muslims? Atheists? Christians are already in a minority. If we are not prayerfully using our votes, our country will be shaped by those who know not God.
While some Christians may believe that none of the three main parties represent them, it is a cause for praise that the UK still has democratic choice, and where even the smaller parties can reflect some ethical principles for some people.
A spokeswoman for the Green Party said: ‘We have met many Christians who have shown a deep concern for the environment and for ethical issues affecting our world’.
Then there are parties that stand specifically for Christian values. Coming from Germany, with its strongly Protestant political tradition, Christine West was surprised by the UK’s secular politics.
She said: ‘In this country, secularism sets the policy and Christianity is sidelined. Christians can’t just let the world go by: we need to come out of the Christian closet. There is a role for smaller Christian parties to make a stand’.
That’s why she set up the Christian Democrat Party. She’s not alone. The Christian Party aims to present candidates to stand in 120 seats in the election. Headed by Rev. George Hargreaves, it is calling on Christians to stand as prospective candidates or be part of a strategic Online Phone Bank Campaign.
Rev. Hargreaves said: ‘The Christian Party is not a proselytising organisation looking to establish a theocracy; it’s a political party made up of Christians who seek to serve their country and fellow citizens in the political arena’.
Individuals have the power to vote for what they believe in, whether it is a fair tax system, a robust environmental policy, or a hard line against crime. Andy Flannigan, director of the Christian Socialist Movement, explained: ‘Christians are happy to be good Samaritans and help victims, but we need to be out there making the Jericho road a safer place. Let’s tackle the causes, not just the effects. Now’s as good a time as any to get involved’.