Friday, July 02, 2010

Will Christians will be the kingmakers in the British election?

[Originally posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, April 24, 2010]

With talk of no party winning a majority in this month's elections in the United Kingdom, "swing" voters will be key.

Which is leading the B.B.C. to ask whether there is anything close to a bloc vote amongst the country's Christians, and whether their vote will be decisive.

Their story notes that trying to bring a overtly Christian point of view to politics, "doing God", has been viewed with aversion by most British polticians. But things seem to be slowly chnaging. There are two "Christian" parties in Britain, and one of the parties leaders is wondering whether he could be a kingmaker, not even necessarily by winning swing seats, but by causing one party or another to lose.

Several prominent Christian leaders have also signed what they call the Westminster 2010 Declaration , urging British Christians to recall their faith when making political decisions or policy:

Christians should work to ensure "religious liberty and freedom of conscience are unequivocally protected against interference by the state and other threats", while they "will not be intimidated by any cultural or political power into silence or acquiescence".

The declaration goes on: "We call upon all those in UK positions of leadership, responsibility and influence to pledge to respect, uphold and protect the right of Christians to hold these beliefs and to act according to Christian conscience."

Its website encourages voters to e-mail parliamentary candidates to find out their views.

More than 30,000 people have backed the declaration.

Paul Woolley, director of the Christian think-tank Theos, said: "The fact that the election looks very close will give a certain relevance to the question of whether Christians can influence voting."

He added that, despite a commonly held view that British public life is becoming ever-more secular, parties had been "working hard to make inroads into faith-based communities and organisations".

It's not exactly the sort of "Chrsitian politics" you might see in the United States, say, but if Christians start to become active in poltics, it may be an interesting--if under the radar--development for Britain.