Bishop of Lichfield urges to people to use their vote

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Bishop of Lichfield has urged everyone to make sure they vote at the forthcoming general election.

His comments come as churches across the Diocese of Lichfield recieve briefings on organising hustings events.

Churches are told to remain politically independent – but are urged not to invite extremist parties such as the British National Party (BNP) to debates.

In a foreword to the guidance, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, sayid:

“An election is a time for asking ourselves if we are satisfied with the kind of society we have produced and for dreaming big dreams about the kind of world we wish to provide for our children, and then to translate the vision into practical politics and debate them robustly.

“It is understandable that some people do not bother to vote if they feel they are given only pseudo-choices, but they are wrong.  For all its shortcomings our democracy is something for us to be grateful for – use it or lose it!”

As well as urging people to have their vote, the Bishop also calls on individuals to question the policies and experiences of all parties.

He explained:

“Before the Election we all have an opportunity to question those who would govern us.  What has happened, for instance, to the eight Millennium Development Goals agreed by our government to lessen world hunger and poverty?  Why are our children the unhappiest in Europe ?  Why have successive governments weakened marriage and family life when all the evidence shows these are vital for community?

“Christians, along with very many others, believe that every human being is unique and precious and created by God to love and be loved, to respect and be respected.  If we believe, as we do, that individuals can be redeemed, so we should pray that our national life will be enhanced by our next Government.

“I am glad that the vast majority of the last two dozen MPs in this Diocese have been conscientious and good people and pray that the next two dozen will also put the welfare of our citizens first and work hard with all of us for a better world.  A government cannot do it alone, without our co-operation; voting for them is just the first step.”

The guidance says that churches should avoid inviting all candidates if candidates from parties such as the BNP are standing.

The briefing, written by diocesan director of communications Gavin Drake , explains:

“It is wrong to provide a Church platform for individuals to preach a gospel of hatred.  We should not give an air of respectability or signify acceptance to parties or individuals who use the democratic process to attack people based on the colour of their skin or their ethnic origin; or who seek to bring fear and hatred to communities.  There is no legal obligation to invite all candidates to take part in a hustings event.”

The guidance, together with a constituency listing of hustings events, is available online at lichfield.anglican.org/chadnet/politics.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

1 Comment

  1. john

    17th April, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Keep voting for parties that relish in wars and are doing very little about Abortions.
    Very good advice from a man of the cloth, I must not say.