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'Challenge exaggeration, distortion and half-truth'

How should we approach the General Election campaign? A number of organisations are aiming to resource Christians in the run up to voting on 8 June - here's a flavour of what they've been saying


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The Joint Public Issues Team

The Joint Public Issues Team released a document called This is a Time. We now face questions as Christian disciples, it stated, not only about how we should vote, but what we and our churches should be doing and saying during the campaign.  
 
To help our thinking, the document offered six brief reflections on key biblical themes.

Election JPIT
 
It covered topics such as voter fatigue, disagreeing well, looking at issues other than Brexit, and the call on God’s people to be a prophetic voice beyond the election campaign, when the task of government begins again.  
 
One of the key principles that JPIT has sought to embrace as churches working together ‘is to challenge narratives, assumptions and policies that seek to stigmatise and misrepresent others’. JPIT has done this consistently through its campaigns in recent years, such as Truth and Lies and Enough. That message was here again:
 


‘During this election campaign, as a Christian people, what role do we have in challenging exaggeration, distortion and half-truth on the part of politicians and key media outlets?
 
‘How do we guard ourselves and others against the harmful impact of such narratives and claims?’

 
JPIT has also produced:
 
  • a guide for churches interested in holding a hustings or question time event before the election: http://ow.ly/J3xO30bfO7J
  • Faith in Politics: General Election 2017. This issues briefing explores four of the key issues around the general election and offers the opportunity to explore them in detail. Follow the link for more information and to download the resource.

On 1 June, a week before polling day, leaders of Britain's free churches issued a statement about the General Election. The statement encouraged us to pray, work and vote for a society in which all people are enabled to flourish and live life in all its fullness in the here and now too.

In addtion, JPIT has organised a free event for 16-23 year olds with an interest in social justice, faith and politics. The event - which will see the launch of the Ecumenical Youth Forum - will take place on 15 July.

Click here for all JPIT's resources.

 

Baptists Together


In this reflection, Baptist minister Phil Jump suggests we might engage in the forthcoming election campaign aware of three key realities: we are world citizens, we are people of truth, we are people of prayer

Phil Jump has also written 12 questions you might want to ask yourself during an election campaign.

Look out too for reflections in The Baptist Times:
   
 

Evangelical Alliance

The Evangelical Alliance said it is ‘hoping to provoke thousands of conversations on what kind of society we want as the UK heads to the polls on 8 June.’
 
The Alliance calls on Christians to fully engage in the election and across the four nations of the UK take the opportunity to speak hopefully, and with vision for the future.

Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said,


'As unexpected as this election may be, it provides a chance for Christians to take part in debating the future of our society.

'This is a chance for us to speak hope into a society that is so often searching for meaning. Between now and 8 June we can consider what the political parties are proposing, and what vision they are offering for our society.'


The Evangelical Alliance subsequently released What kind of society?, its election resources to help churches consider how the election provides opportunities and challenges for our society.

 

Tearfund

Global development charity Tearfund called on all parties to keep focusing on global poverty and the environment.
 
It said the election should be about more than just Brexit, and urged Christians to think about global poverty and climate change before voting.
 
Tearfund’s Head of Advocacy Paul Cook said,


'This election will undoubtedly be framed around the UK’s departure from the European Union.
 
'But, as crucial as the Brexit negotiations will be, we cannot allow them to overshadow other vital issues like tackling global poverty and climate change.
 
'Tearfund is calling on all parties to focus on helping the poorest people in the world by reaffirming their commitments to fulfil our Paris agreement promises on climate change and  continuing to support spending 0.7% of GDP on overseas development.

'This election is a great opportunity for Christians to remind their local candidates to deliver on promises made in the Paris Agreement on climate change and continue to champion international development by providing generous overseas aid.'

 


Useful links:

 
Christians in Politics: www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk/
 
The Conservative Christian Fellowship: https://www.christian-conservatives.org.uk/
 
Christians on the Left: http://www.christiansontheleft.org.uk

Liberal Democrat Christian Forum: http://www.ldcf.org/


Theos: The Mighty and the Almighty: How Political Leaders Do God http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/publications/2017/03/29/the-mighty-and-the-almighty-how-political-leaders-do-god
 
Churches Together in Britain & Ireland:
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland will be providing a website covering the response of the churches to the 2017 General Election taking place on 8 June 2017.
https://ctbi.org.uk/general-election-2017/
 
Its 2015 guide to planning a hustings meeting at your church is available to download here.

Election polling station
 
For election discussion about issues with other Baptists, visit the Baptist Collaboration Group on Facebook. There has been an encouragement to discuss the issues, rather the personalities.

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