GIVEN that those who go to church are statistically more likely
to vote than those who don't, it's hardly surprising that the
political parties have been working hard to woo "the Christian
Some of these attempts have been more shameless than others.
Miliband, Farage, & Co spoke passionately to the National
Churches Trust about their favourite places of worship, while
Cameron declared to one of the largest gatherings of UK Christians:
"I look out to this crowd, and I see someone who will take my role
and become Prime Minister for this great country" (News, 24
Dodgy Easter messages, parish visits, and "I'm one of you,
really" rhetoric aside, what does a "Christian" vote actually look
Some would claim that there's a straightforward answer: a
Christian vote is a vote for religious freedom (for Christians, at
least); for marriage, and traditional family values. It's a vote
against abortion, euthanasia, and gay rights. Some pressure groups
at least would say that a Christian vote is still more to do with
what people do with their private parts than what they do with
But what if the Christian vote was not a question of issues as
such, but one of priorities?
In previous months, national Church leaders have urged us to
vote, not with our personal priorities in mind, but with an eye to
the interests of our neighbours.
Our neighbours might not look like us. They might not talk, act,
or think like us. They might be the kind of Christians with whom we
disagree. They might be Muslims, humanists, or atheists; gay,
bisexual, or transgender. Perhaps our neighbours are awkward,
difficult, or unpleasant people.
Whatever the Bible may have to say about the key issues that
some Christians are highlighting ahead of the election, it is
absolutely unequivocal on God's priorities: "bringing good news to
the oppressed, binding up the broken-hearted, proclaiming liberty
to captives, release to prisoners, comfort to those who mourn"
Whoever they are, whatever they do or believe, our neighbours
might be hungry. They might be struggling to pay their rent, or to
find a good education for their children. They might feel that
their voice is drowned out in the crowd, that no one really gives a
damn about their existence.
This election time, how closely do our priorities really match
up with God's?
Anna Drew is an Anglican blogger, broadcaster, and press