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House of Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on the 2015 General Election

February 17, 2015

The Prime Minister reacted with anger to the Bishops’ letter published today, see: http://www.welfareweekly.com/cameron-rejects-bishops-warning-against-scapegoating-people-on-benefits/ as did other Tories see, http://www.capitalbay.com/news/715836-church-tells-christians-how-they-should-vote-including-scrapping-trident-nuclear-deterrent.html.

It is true that the letter (see https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2015/02/house-of-bishops%27-pastoral-letter-on-the-2015-general-election.aspx for summary) broke the ‘rule’ that politics and religion do not mix, but did so in as non confrontational way as possible, not naming any party in particular. It is though a much needed attack on the ‘Westminster Village’ as a whole.

If there is one criticism I would make against the letter is that it fails to highlight the role of the mainstream media (including the BBC) in limiting the scope of political debate. Christians should be encouraged to seek other sources of information of which there are plenty.

The press release says,

‘In a pastoral letter from the House of Bishops to the people and parishes of the Church of England, the Bishops urge Christians to consider the question how can we “build the kind of society which many people say they want but which is not yet being expressed in the vision of any of the parties?”

The letter also encourages church members to engage in the political process ahead of the General Election and to put aside self-interest and vote for ‘the common good’: “The privileges of living in a democracy mean that we should use our votes thoughtfully, prayerfully and with the good of others in mind, not just our own interests.”‘

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