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Religious leaders calls for a reassertion of Christian values in politics

Politics of the pew?

Over thirty Christian leaders including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, Cardinal Obrien leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland and the high profile African Caribbean minister Rev David Shosanya from the London Baptist Association alongside others such as Yaqub Masih , Chairman, Pakistan Christian Concern and Michael Nazir-Ali the former Bishop of Rochester have come together to launch the Westminster Declaration 2010.

The online petition has to date attracted over 30,000 signatories and calls for the reinstatement of Christian values within British politics. The statement sets out a Christian moral framework that seeks to influence prospective parliamentary candidates and secure their support for efforts to reinforce the role of Christian belief in shaping modern politics.

Calling for greater efforts to recognise and promote the role of family and setting out the fundamental principles of Christian conscience the document seeks reiterate the principle of religious freedom of conscience within the context of liberal democracy.

In part the petition can be seen as resisting the introduction of equality legislation and a misplaced concern about the perceived dominance of Islam in Westminster politics. In that sense the document does feel reactionary and reflects increasing Christian anxiety about their role and influence in society. Of course, these perceptions about declining political influence and the danger posed by new equality laws are for the most part largely unfounded.

The entrenched constitutional position of the Church of England ensures the continued theological domination of Christians in the life of Government.

Nevertheless, the declaration has attracted the support of over 80 MP’s and with such a high number of eminent supporters and signatories will be taken very seriously by all the political parties.


3 Responses

  1. I am a believer but also enjoy the benefits of living in a secular society. However, if there are two Christian commandments that can be brought into any political view, they are:

    Love thy neighbour
    Bear not false witness

    Didn’t Jesus say something about offering the other cheek also? That might be useful if the country ends up with a hung parliament.

  2. […] The Independent wrote an interesting post today. Here’s a quick excerptThe online petition has to date attracted over 30000 signatories and calls for the reinstatement of Christian values within British politics. The statement sets out a Christian moral framework that seeks to influence prospective … […]

  3. I’ve got mixed views about this simply because on the one hand the MP expenses scandal proves that most politicians need some form moral compass, so I would empathise with that sentiment.

    I’m also someone who has a heavy heart about many other issues they mention, including abortion, stem-cell research, caring communities, and a just society.

    Conversely, I think this reads more like a pressure group worried about their waning political influence, than an affirmation of their morals. Not once do they mention peace, love or forgiveness. This is astounding in itself given this comes from a Christian perspective, and that Jesus is known by many names, the ‘Prince of Peace’ being one of them.

    The speaker on the youtube clips mentions the “erosion of Christian morals” without the fundamental point of context: Christianity is generally on the wane in the UK (growing numbers in some denominations or churches noted).

    I think you could make a strong argument that Christianity is already respected in and privileged by politics:

    – Senior C of E figures have a seat in the House of Lords.
    – Senior Church figures have a lot more political oomph than you or I, even though we may be far more qualified to speak on the myriad of the issues where they get exposure.
    – Religious groups have had / and still seek exemptions to legislation we all have to abide by – what about business leaders who morally object to legislation on religious grounds?
    – Churches and other bodies use their financial weight to provide solutions in the community (particularly against crime or for young people) that they are often ill-equipped to deal with (with some exceptions), and
    – The Christian Party, i.e. unlike other faiths, they have a political party just for them.

    p.s. just to emphasise the point about peace. The Declaration does not mention war, which seems a strange factor to omit in a commitment against “any other act that involves intentionally taking innocent human life”. Given that 1000s of innocent human lives have been taken in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I love my Christian brothers and sisters but their institutions? Well let’s just say I forgive them.

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