Sir, - I wonder how many clergy voted Conservative in the
General Election. Quite a few of us did, I'm sure, although I know
none who would dare to admit it and risk the insulting and hurtful
comments that such an admission attracts.
Before I went to theological college in the late 1990s, I was
advised by a former member (my Labour-voting vicar) never to reveal
that I voted Conservative, or, as he put it, "your life will be
hell." When I got there, I soon realised that his advice was
well-founded, and consequently, I kept my head down.
In my first incumbency, I followed a vicar who spoke openly of
his Labour Party membership, and who made it clear from the pulpit
that it was simply not possible to vote Conservative and be a good
priest. Again, I kept my head down.
During the run-up to the General Election - and increasingly
since - almost all my clergy "friends" on social media who comment
politically have made it clear that those who vote Conservative are
at best uncaring and, in one or two cases, evil. When I was
ordained, I decided to engage only in single-issue politics that
directly affected the communities I served. Furthermore, I decided
to keep my voting preference a secret, thereby avoiding accusations
of using my position for party-political ends.
I am not an uncaring fascist, and resent that implication. But,
to avoid being ostracised by fellow Christians, or lumped together
with the English Defence League and other obnoxious parties of the
extreme Right, I have once again, wisely, I feel, kept my head
No party is perfect; indeed, I disagree with a number of
Conservative policies (not least the "bedroom tax"). I simply voted
for a democratic, mainstream political party whose leader actually
goes to church and whose leadership of the country, over five
years, has been democratically judged better than anything else on
offer. I don't expect to be applauded for this, just to be treated
with a little Christian courtesy.
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