THE Christian vote in the General Election could be decisive,
leaders of a new campaign have said.
Speaking before the launch of Show Up, a cross-party movement
that seeks to encourage Christians to get involved in politics,
Mark Scott, from the umbrella group Christians in Politics, said
that the election in May was the most unpredictable in recent
"If Christians do get out and vote, they could genuinely have a
profound impact," he said on Tuesday. Christians on the Left, the
Conservative Christian Fellowship, and the Liberal Democrat
Christian Forum have all backed the Show Up campaign, which has
released an animated
video arguing that God is just as concerned about politics as
he is about the family or education.
The campaign has also designated 25 January as "Show Up Sunday",
and wants churches to dedicate that day's service to impress on
their congregations the importance of voting, and how else they can
get involved in politics.
Mr Scott said that dozens of organisations had joined the Show
Up coalition, including the Evangelical Alliance, Chur-ches
Together in Britain and Ireland, the Catholic Social Action
Network, Christian Aid, Tearfund, and the Bible Society. The Church
of England, as well as the Free Churches' Joint Public Issues Team,
had also signalled its support.
"In the past, Christians have often been said to be critical, or
taking up only a commentary position," Mr Scott said. "We wanted to
unite behind this single mes- sage about positive engagement, and
have a united Christian voice. Putting God's Kingdom before party
Getting people out to vote is only part of the campaign's
ambitions, however. Mr Scott said that Show Up wanted to use this
year's election to generate lasting interest in and concern about
politics among Christians.
"It's about encouraging Christians to meet up with their local
representatives, join parties and different campaigns. We are also
working with 24/7 Prayer to do a week of prayer over the week of
the election," he said.
The director of Christians on the Left, Andy Flannagan, said:
"We have been overwhelmed by the response from so many Christian
organisations and church networks who have got on board.
"They, and we, want to see a positive Christian contribution to
public life which combines truth and grace rather than settling for
the shouting from a distance which we have seen in the past. Voting
may just be the start. By 2020, we could be the people answering
questions at hustings rather than just asking them."
Seeking to address disillusionment is also a vital part of the
campaign. Mr Scott said that Christians in Politics frequently came
up against churchgoers who insisted that "politics is too messy and
full of corruption and compromise."
"We want to encourage Christians to see politics as another
mission field - another area to get stuck in, despite its not
always going exactly as we would want it to," he said.
The director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, Dave
Landrum, said: "There may be glaring flaws with our political
system, but the simple matter is that decisions are made by those
who show up to vote."
Christian Aid, which is part of the Show Up coalition, has also
released a document, Contract with the World's Poor, in an
effort to draw the political parties' attention to issues such as
tax avoidance, climate change, and international aid.