WITH fewer than 100 days to go until the General Election in
May, the Archbishop of Canterbury is calling on Christians to see
voting as part of their duty to seek the common good.
In the foreword to Those Who Show Up, a new book by
Andy Flannagan, director of Christians on the Left, Archbishop
Welby argues that "politics is far too important to be left to
politicians", and endorses Mr Flannagan's demand for Christians to
engage "deeply and critically" with politics.
"Christians must be actively concerned with the pursuit of the
common good and the flourishing of all in our society - be it
local, national, or global. The most practical way of doing this is
through the political process." Although there are valid reasons to
be sceptical about politicians and Britain's democracy, Archbishop
Welby says that is no excuse for apathy.
This is echoed by the charity CARE, which has launched its
website, www.engaGE15.org.uk, to set out issues of concern, such as
marriage, assisted suicide, and human trafficking, as well as to
urge believers to vote.
New figures from a survey by the Evangelical Alliance have been
published which reveal that while 80 per cent of the 2000
Evangelicals surveyed said they were certain to vote on 7 May,
almost one in four had not yet decided who to vote for.
The chief executive of CARE, Nola Leach, said: "The Christian
vote matters more than ever. That's why we've launched engaGE15, to
equip Christians to make their vote count for this General
Election. "The website also has a database of MPs' voting habits,
dynamic video content, a regularly updated election blog, as well
as a hustings guide and a guide to chairing a hustings."
Similarly, Church Together in Britain and Ireland has released
its own election guide, "A 2020 vision of the Good Society". The
resources, which are available online at
www.churcheselection.org.uk, include briefings on issues such as
in-equality, children and young people, and the environment, as
well as information about how churches can host a hustings for
their local candidates.
The Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales will
publish its own guidance.