Churches produce Faith in Politics briefing for Christian voters
Published on 11 May, 2017
With the General Election just a month away, The Church of Scotland has been working with three partner churches to create a new election briefing, Faith in Politics: General Election 2017.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland came together through the Joint Public Issues Team to produce the briefing, which seeks to look at some of the issues facing voters in a nonpartisan way, through the lens of our shared Christian faith.
Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council said:
"This resource from the Joint Public Issues Team highlights some of the key issues for the General Election and for the future of the UK. Whether you have already made up your mind about who you will vote for or not, I am sure that you will find this resource, and the information and questions it contains, helpful to reflect on as the 8th of June approaches."
Focusing on four key topics, the briefing doesn’t seek to advise on how to vote, but it offers key facts and some questions to aid reflection.
The four topics it singles out for deeper scrutiny are:
- The UK’s relationship with the European Union
- Migration, forced displacement and the UK asylum system
- Poverty and economic inequality in the UK
- The UK’s role in the world
In their introduction the authors of the briefing say:
“Every General Election presents an opportunity for citizens to participate critically and constructively in the democratic process. It may be a cliché to suggest that there has ‘never been so much at stake’, but there is an element of truth to this saying:
“We are living in an unprecedented political moment. There are many things that are uncertain about the future of our country, and this is an important opportunity for you to challenge and scrutinise the policies and rhetoric of politicians.
“As a Christian people we believe that not only has our world and those who live in it been made by God, but the systems and structures that hold us together are part of God’s purpose too.
“We are called to draw attention to the needs of the oppressed, to speak out with the marginalised, and perhaps to highlight issues that are overlooked by mainstream coverage. We need to ask “who is our neighbour?” when we vote.”
The briefing acknowledges that while some have welcomed the election, others see it as an unwanted burden.
“Perhaps that means it’s even more essential that Christians recognise their responsibility to think about what this election means for our communities and the situations where we want most to see change.”
It also urges us not to avoid discussion with those we differ from, but to disagree respectfully.
“Christians will always hold contradictory viewpoints about politics, and that’s ok,” it says.
“What is essential is that we do not let these differences affect the way we treat each other.
“We should be willing to listen respectfully to views that may not be our own. But it is also important not to try to avoid conflict and stop talking about these important issues for fear others will disagree or be offended.
“This General Election, can we model disagreeing well?”