Thursday, May 05, 2005

Today is a general election in the UK. Tony Blair's Labour Party look like they win big again despite the fact that it is impossible to find anyone who is really enthusiastic about them.

But which way should a Christian vote? First, let me say that we have a duty to vote and Christians owe it to society to make sure they get out and do so. Incredibly, some extreme Moslems have been threatening people who vote saying it is against Islam. Luckily, most UK Moslems think these guys are off their rockers.

On specific Christian issues, abortion does not loom large in the UK but its profile is getting bigger. The conservatives will make time to change the law to cut the limit to 20 weeks and for this the Catholic Church has said that its flock should no longer automatically vote Labour. Blair won't change the law and the Liberal Democrats don't know what they'll do.

Poverty and debt relief for the Third World are also big Christian issues. The aim of writing off third world debt and 'making poverty history' is shared by Catholics and Protestants. Here, the vote would have to be the Labour's chancellor, Gordon Brown, who is widely expected to take over from Blair as Prime Minister in the next few years. However, I am suspicious of the practical value to some of the projects in this direction and fear they encourage African dependency and bad government. Free trade in agriculture and raw materials would do the Third World most good but no party I know of is offering the dismantle EU and US subsidies.

On social matters, the Conservatives used to stand up for the family but have dropped most of this to try and become more 'inclusive'. But they are still the better party for civil liberties which Labour seem to want to trample all over (hunting, ID cards, house arrest) and Labour should be applauded for the support they give to children but sadly they don't do enough to make sure children have two parents in a married relationship.

On the Iraq war, Christians have generally been against in the UK and that means a vote for the Liberal Democrats, who were the only main party to stand against the war. For myself, I am not convinced the war was a mistake even though it is clear Blair misled us in the run up.

So, on balance, Christians will just have to decide what matters most to them. As will everyone else. But for God's sake, do vote!

Comments or questions? Post them at Bede's dedicated yahoo group.

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