Next week, on 12th December, the general election will be taking place and we will be voting to decide who forms the next government of our country. With that in mind I thought it might be interesting to look at the election from a Christian perspective.
One thing I observe is that Christians vote for a variety of political parties. I know Christians who vote for: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and the Brexit Party. Therefore, I think it’s fair to state at the outset, Christians have a wide diverse range of political views!
Who should I vote for?
There is no political party that is completely right on all issues. I’m sure that if you delve into each party’s manifesto you will discover various policies that you either support or oppose. The following pointers might help you in deciding who will get your vote:
1. Do not just think about which party will benefit you, but think of the country as a whole. If a party promises tax cuts ask yourself who will end up paying for this. Will it be funded by a cut in public services that will disproportionately effect the poorer members of society? Conversely, if a party is promising huge public expenditure but is not providing much detail about how this will be financed, it’s right to question from where this money is coming?
2. Do not just simply believe all the promises that are made during the campaign but question them. One party says that they will increase the number of nurses or police but how are they are going to fund this? Did they have a similar promise at a previous election and not act upon it?
3. Check out the manifestos that are published. It may not be possible to read them all but at least try and get a rough idea of their content. Find the issues that are important to you and then see what each party is saying on them.
4. If you get an opportunity to attend a public meeting, where the prospective candidates are answering questions, go along and observe. You may even, if you are feeling brave, ask a question yourself.
5. This might sound very obvious but pray before you vote. Just because you have always voted Conservative / Labour / Liberal Democrat etc does not mean that you should necessarily vote for them this time.
6. Remember that our political leaders are humans like you and me. Perhaps you think that one of the party leaders has a charismatic personality. However we should remember that they are fallible. All of them make mistakes and get things wrong. Yes even the one that you are planning to support! Only God is fully trustworthy and reliable.
Should I vote?
There are many places in the world where it’s not possible to have a fair and open election. Whilst I can understand those who are reluctant to vote for various reasons, I do think it’s important we take the opportunity presented to cast our vote. People have sacrificed their lives and fought for the right to vote so we should remember that if we are feeling apathetic about voting.
It does concern me that many people do not vote in our country. If you look at the last two general elections the turnout was:
• 2015 – 66.1%
• 2017 – 68.7%
That’s over 1 in 3 people not voting in 2015 and only slightly more voting two years later.
I wonder what the result would have been if the turnout was 100%? Would we have got a different government? Would Brexit have been dealt with in a timely fashion? No one knows this obviously but it does make you think.
Even if you live in a constituency that has a five figure majority for the party you do not support you should still vote. If you don’t like the result of the election but you did not vote, how can you comment on the result?
Politics can be a very divisive subject and there are certainly times when I avoid discussing it with family and friends. I think certainly since the Brexit vote in 2016 things have got worse in our country. It’s important as Christians that we aim to be salt and light in this area. We need to think and pray before we open our mouths. Just because someone has a different political viewpoint to us does not necessarily mean we are right and they are wrong. There might even be the possibility that we are wrong!
In closing pray about the general election and after the result is announced pray that the newly elected government might have wisdom to govern wisely and fairly.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, (1 Timothy 2:1-3)