The campaigns haven’t officially started yet, but the UK General Elections are just around the corner. Its the period in which the price of the political crack cocaine goes way down, and political geeks smoke the stuff like there was no tomorrow. For some a political tomorrow will not come… so why not.
But more seriously, according to Theos the christian vote is going to be an important one this time round. It seems like the parties are lining up to court with people of all faiths, rather less than those with non. That’s confirmed by the Archbishop of York on Ruth Gledhills Blog over at the Times.
To help their christian constituents and supporters a number of christian charities engaged with policy work have developed non-partisan websites to highlight a broad spectrum of issues which christians are concerned about. And no, unlike the tradition of the Moral Majority in the US, these are not narrow one problem pages. Rather they are about justice all across the board.
CARE has a fairly unique project called My Manifesto where they have asked church leaders, theologians, political thinkers, human trafficking campaign activists, mothers, teacher and others to come up with a short manifesto in areas they think the government should be prioritising efforts. CARE also offer a number of policy papers which outline the peculiar issues that CARE is particularly concerned about. At the moment they are highlighting the problem of commercial sexual exploitation.
Churches Together and the Methodists have put together a website which covers a number of policy issues in a more or less neutral way. They are aware that disagreement among their own members and of the denominations will mean that some will chose to take a different view than others. So they highlight, in fairly neutral terms, issues that have historically been ones Christians have a particular concern over.
The Evangelical Alliance also have a website, giving information about how the local church can be involved. They offer an overview of the political parties as well as their policies on a verity of issues.
Keep a look out for the Salvation Armies website. I am told it will be ready soon, and promises to be worth a peek.
What can the local church do?
All three websites mentioned have sections on Hustings where they are encouraging the church to be visible and willing to be hospitable to the candidates in constituencies all around the country. The Churches Together website is particularly good on this, as it offers a message board for people in all constituencies to contact each other and work together to put together events, which ultimately will highlight the differences and similarities between the various candidates in the local area. Hustings are a great way for the church to be a real witness, particularly because civic engagement is so low on the agenda these days.
What can you do?
If you are eligible, make sure you go and vote.