If you type ‘how should Christians vote’ into Google you’ll probably end up finding something like this US website or other similar ones telling you how anti-Christian the Democrats are and how you should only vote for candidates who openly oppose abortion and anything vaguely homosexual.
I’d like to think that Christians in this country are a bit more open-minded and are more interested in voting for the party or candidate that is going to do the best job for the people they are elected to serve. This is why I find party tribalism so hard to get on with. Going your whole life voting for the same party because that’s what you’ve always done or because your parents did just seems bloody minded and without meaning to be rude; not very intelligent. I’m not saying we shouldn’t stick to voting regularly for one party, but if we do we shouldn’t start hating the opposition or closing our minds or ears to other political points of view. Almost every party has something to offer. That’s why Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats all have a Christian branch to their parties. The question is which party is the right one to be in power now either locally or nationally?
In the past I’ve voted for Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal Democrats, although my political ideals have remained fairly consistent. Each time I vote I try to weigh up the options, listen to what’s being said, try to get past the spin and do my best to make a decision as to what is best for my community or country.
Most people unsurprisingly vote selfishly. “Who has policies that will benefit me the most?” As Christians though we should be turning this around. Jesus talks about putting others before ourselves. Sometimes I find myself supporting policies that I know will result in me paying more tax or losing income, but I do it because I believe that it will benefit others more.
If you’re voting this week, if you haven’t decided yet, please make the effort to listen to what the different parties have to offer and then make an educated decision. The Bible calls us to be wise and not ignorant and as always having a conversation with God about it is a very sensible move too.
In case you’re still trying to make your mind up, you can head on over to the BBC iPlayer where you can find all the party election broadcasts.
Categories: Bible, Elections, Party politics
Good comment. One point, those people who are of a religious denomination because their parents were or are come under the same premise you made: “Going your whole life voting for the same party because that’s what you’ve always done or because your parents did just seems bloody minded and without meaning to be rude; not very intelligent. I’m not saying we shouldn’t stick to voting regularly for one party, but if we do we shouldn’t start hating the opposition or closing our minds or ears to other political points of view. Almost every party has something to offer.” You could change the word party to belief. I know Christians will say that theirs is THE TRUE belief and all others are wrong…but you get my drift. I agree that we should analyse and think using wisdom and humanity. But sometimes its easier to follow the norm you’ve been used to.
I would suggest that it can be a good thing to stay loyal to one party, without being “bloody minded and … not very intelligent”. It is a good thing if one is an active member of that party and involved, even in a small way, in its policy decisions and/or leadership elections. Of course the point might come where despite your own efforts its policies become too different from what you can support, and in that case it would be right to leave. But Christians (indeed, anyone) are not going to have much political influence if they flit from party to party depending on the manifesto for a particular election.
efgd, I appreciate your analogy with the church. What the church needs, and I’m sure Gillan would agree, is not people who move from church to church Sunday by Sunday or even year by year, but people who stick with a congregation even through difficult times, and don’t quit every time they disagree with a leadership decision – although it might be right to quit over a major doctrinal issue. And I would say that politics needs the same, not just floating voters but committed activists.
Thanks Peter. I think you’ve clarified that well. In case my point didn’t come over quite the way I hoped it would, I’ll go over it again:
I f you’re going to choose to follow something whether, it’s a political party, religion or even football team then I always think you should be doing it for a good reason. A good reason isn’t hating all the other options. There should be a positive reason for following something. If I ask someone why they are a Christian, I’d expect them to give me some sort of reasoned answer and If someone asked me why I’d voted for a political party, I would make sure I’d be able to give an answer too.
I agree that if you constantly flit between parties you’re not going to be able to achieve much. I do have one party that I usually vote for, but occasionally I’ve voted for another party for tactical reasons.
When I decided to start this blog, I made the conscious decision to try to stay fairly neutral politically in the way I presented it. Unless I feel very strongly about an issue, I’d rather let people make up their own minds in an informed way.
I could have gone down the line of Archbishop Cranmer who is an outstanding blogger on faith and politics, but is clearly a right wing Conservative supporter and not ashamed of it. I wanted to run a site where Christians and others from any political background felt at home. The danger is that it makes me sound rather non-committal and possibly a bit two-minded, but that’s a tension I’ve given myself to live with.
Thank you, Gillan. Yes, I also see a good place for people like you who discuss the issues without a party political commitment. The analogy with the church breaks down here – I would not say the same about a Christian who wouldn’t commit to any local congregation. In fact I think many Christians have made a big impact in the Christian arena from a non-party position. I suspect that works better than Christian political parties – but I am about to read your new post about them.