Lichfield voters urged to use their European Election vote wisely

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Bishop of Lichfield has called on church-goers across the city not to vote for extreme parties in the European Elections.

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill was among a group of Anglican bishops across the Midlands to sign an open letter to church members, urging them use their vote wisely when they go to the polls on June 4

The bishops – representing the five dioceses of Birmingham, Coventry, Lichfield, Hereford and Worcester – cover 1,726 churches and have urged voters to make sure they do not support any party which promotes prejudices based on country of origin, race or religion.

In a joint statement issued to Anglican churches across the region, the bishops state:

“We wish to express in the strongest terms our distaste for any political platform which has the effect of destabilising communities through the use of misinformation, scare stories and inflammatory rhetoric.”

 The bishops are keen that apathy does not prevent people from using their vote and want to remind voters that decisions made in Europe are of vital importance.

Full statement from the Anglican bishops of the West Midlands: 

As leaders of the Church of England across the West Midlands, including more than 1,720 churches, our care is not only for our members, but also for the communities in which we live, work and worship.  We are charged with pursuing the common good of all people, but especially those who are in particular need and who find themselves marginalised and disadvantaged in our society.  We cannot stand by when groups and individuals are maligned, misrepresented and singled out for verbal or even physical abuse. 

In a democracy it is even more alarming when prejudices founded upon country of origin, race or religion become part of a political platform, and are offered to the electorate for endorsement.  Any prejudice against others should be deeply offensive to all Christians, who believe that all are equal and immensely valued in the eyes of God

So we wish to express in the strongest terms our distaste for any political platform which has the effect of destabilising communities through the use of misinformation, scare stories and inflammatory rhetoric.  Those should be resisted and not rewarded, be it via the ballot box, silent assent or public endorsement.  Issues of asylum seekers and migrant workers have to be addressed in an informed and balanced way according to the highest standards of civilised society and mutual respect.  Less than three per cent of the world’s refugees are hosted by the UK and as Christians we have a responsibility to care for the vulnerable and offer a welcome to strangers and foreigners.

Finally, we encourage you to vote in the coming elections, and to push back the tide of apathy that is seeing fewer citizens engage in the democratic process.  Apathy is always dangerous because it too often allows the unacceptable to creep under the wire.  Remember too that decisions made in Europe are of vital importance affecting a range of issues from family life to the environment.  Please use your vote wisely.

Signed by:
The Bishop of Aston –  Andrew Watson
The Bishop of Birmingham – David Urquhart
The Bishop of Coventry –   Dr Christopher Cocksworth
The Bishop of Dudley – David Walker
The Bishop of Hereford – Anthony Priddis
The Bishop of Lichfield –  Jonathan Gledhill
The Bishop of Ludlow – Michael Hooper
The Bishop of Stafford –  Gordon Mursell
The Bishop of Warwick –  John Stroyan
The Bishop of Worcester – Dr John Inge
The Bishop of Wolverhampton  – Clive Gregory

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

1 Comment

  1. Andy Granger

    31st May, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    There’s a group http://www.classcrisis.org distributing leaflets in Lichfield telling people not to vote!