8 May 2015New government must work to protect religious liberty and help the poorest in society
Statement from Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, following the general election result:
It's time for us to look beyond the party differences that divided us when we voted and work together for the future. I will be praying for David Cameron as he puts together his government and I encourage Christians across the UK to do the same.
Let's put aside cynicism and any distrust, and pray for our newly elected politicians that they might be honest, hardworking, fair and accountable MPs. Our new government has the opportunity to demonstrate the trust that has been placed in them. I hope we can see faith restored in politicians and in the wider political system. The failure of pollsters to predict the outcome shows how the political landscape is changing in the UK, and I would like to see this change draw politicians to work more closely with and engage the people and communities they represent.
Protecting religious freedom and helping the poorest in society were the two issues that had the greatest impact on evangelical voters at this election. The Alliance will continue to work with MPs and the government to press for a concerted effort to protect religious freedom and help those in greatest poverty. We will hold politicians to account for the promises they made in these areas and others during the campaign.
During the election campaign, churches led the way in engaging with candidates, holding hundreds of hustings and helping communities hear from candidates and find out what they will do for their constituency and the country as a whole. Now is the time for the Church to build on that. I would love to see churches up and down the UK investing time and energy in developing close relationships with their local MPs.
This is not the end of our democratic duty, voting is just the start of our political engagement. Churches already do a huge amount in their local communities, but I hope that Christians across the UK will look to how they can take the next step into leadership in public life. Ahead of the election our Show Up campaign saw over 40 organisations push for increased engagement and now the vote is over we need to continue to show up. Engaging in politics and public life is for all year-round and not just for elections, and it is a vital part of our mission. By committing to building authentic relationships with politicians, supporting them in their work and developing a culture of public leadership, it is my hope that we will see a more confident, effective and trust-filled political system in the years to come.Visit our Public Leadership website to find out more about how you can engage in public life: www.thepublicleader.com
Notes to editors
- The Show Up campaign, which the Evangelical Alliance initiated with Christians in Politics, produced two videos during the election. The second video, calling for ongoing engagement in public life, is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aa4canKcoYo
- The Faith in Politics? report issued by the Evangelical Alliance in February 2015 found that 71 per cent of evangelicals said policies protecting religious freedom were important and would affect their vote, 61 per cent said policies helping the poorest would do so.
The Evangelical AllianceWe are the largest and oldest body representing the UK's two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bring Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We're here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it's celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK –we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.