By now you are probably fed up with all the coverage of the election. It’s everywhere isn’t it? TV, radio, newspapers, internet, emails. There is no escape. There’s now even a way for journalists to create their own brief broadcast through Twitter.
As a Christian we are not immune to feelings of frustration or apathy with the political process. How then should we think and act? Well there are a lot of great resources on the web and I’ve tried to list them below but this picture taken by Chris Parker of a church building in Oxford really sums it up: Think, Pray, Vote. Not everyone will want to vote but for those of us who do those three words are a good guide and I hope that some of the articles below might help.
Krish Kandiah writes very thoughtfully saying so often ‘we engage in politics to get a Christian agenda through.’ I don’t think there is anything wrong with that as long as that is not the only reason we engage in politics. When I talked to the Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth he said that the only time he heard from Christians was over matters of self interest – issues that Krish describes as the ‘hot-button topics such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.’ I find it sad that he sees Christians as basically selfish.
In contrast a report by the Evangelical Alliance called Faith in Politics (note the large sample size) says that 39% of Evangelicals vote the way they do because ‘it will best help others who are in need regardless of the impact on me.’ That is surely a great Christian distinctive – we are set free from from self interest so that we can think what is best for those in my community. Do browse the rest of that report. Some things that struck me are:
Evangelical Christians are more politically aware and involved than the average UK population: 80% will vote and 14% are likely to. Only 2% are unlikely or will not vote!
They are also much more politically active – in part that will be writing to MPs, Lords etc to make their views known.
There is a very slight tilt to the left with evangelicals, although it is neck and neck (p.22)
The party leaders were asked for a response to this report and it’s worth a read to see how they view Evangelicals.
Speaking of the EA they have a dedicated election website, why not browse it? In particular there is a helpful summary of each of the parties main policy pledges, which is great because if you’re like me you don’t have the time to read the manifestos from cover to cover.
If you’re feeling fed up or disillusioned with the whole political situation then watch this video from Steve Clifford, the director of the EA, where he argues that Christians should show up – ‘its a hard won privilege that we shouldn’t take lightly.’ Speaking of which Christians in Politics have made this video called Show up (we showed it at church a few weeks ago.)
CARE (Christian Action Research & Education) do a lot to inform and equip Christians and they have a dedicated election website. If you’re wondering whether you should vote then they have produced an article focusing on three passages in Scripture. If you interested in knowing where your MP stands on life issues then there is a link to a website. I looked up those standing in Leicester South and most of the questions are not answered, you would have to request more information. Have your say is a video of different people giving their views on why Christians will vote. ‘A vote is an invitation to trust people, I’ll bring the Bible to bear and I’ll see who I can most trust’ says Rico Tice. Tom Wright, who used to be Bishop of Durham, has made a video asking whether Jesus would vote. As a balance to some of this Greg Boyd, author and pastor, speaks from an American context on how we must make sure that we don’t suck Jesus into our politics.
Think, pray, vote – I really hope that some of the links on this page will help you to do all three.