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Stand up and be Counted

This month, votes cast by 20% of the world’s population will be counted. Rev. Phillip Dawson considers what role our faith plays in the democratic process. 


In June, the result of India’s three-month long general election will be revealed. The population of Mexico goes to the polls in an historic election widely expected to return the country’s first female President; and voters in the European Union will elect a new parliament.  


It is interesting to see how prospective political programmes are prioritised. In India, Narendra Modi’s BJP begins with promises to Garib Parivar – the poorest families, followed by guarantees on women’s empowerment, support for young people then senior citizens. The manifesto of the main opposition Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi is organised into ‘Pillars of Justice’, beginning with ‘Equity’ - promising reforms for those oppressed by India’s caste system and freedoms for religious and linguistic minorities.

 

Writing in 1942, Archbishop William Temple prioritised the reasons why Christians should engage in politics:

1. Because we are concerned with the plight of those who are poor;

2. Because we are concerned with people’s lives and their values and both economics and politics affects these;

3. Because we are committed to justice for all;

4. Because nothing is exempt from the work of God.

 

Guidance which may be useful as the manifestos of the parties vying for our votes in the forthcoming General Election here are released over the next few weeks?

 

There are a number of online and in person events taking place this month focussing on the intersection between faith and politics. Details of the ‘Festival of Public Theology’ organised by the William Temple Foundation on 21st and 22nd June can be found at this link. Modern Church and the Church Times are jointly hosting two seminars; ‘A Political Faith?’ takes place on Monday 3rd June at 6pm. ‘Participating in Democracy’ takes place on Monday 10th June at 6pm.

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