Now they say you should never discuss religion and politics in polite conversation, but anyone who knows me will probably then say I am not particularly polite! With the forthcoming General Election, the young people from my church, some of whom would be voting for the first time this coming election, were given a briefing on how Christians can be involved in politics. Rather than be told “party x” have the best policies, they were encouraged to be more active in finding information about their local candidates, as well as knowing the issues which will affect them as Christians particularly. Some of these issues would be discussed in the next parliament, so it was important they were made aware of them. Whilst I’m not particularly young any more, I thought these were good issues to quiz the candidates standing for election in the constituency I live in, so I’ve sent the following to Andrew Dakers (Liberal Democrats), Ann Keen (Labour) and Alexander Northcote (Conservative).
Dear Mr/Mrs as appropriate,
With the forthcoming General Election, I am looking at the policies and mindset of each of the parliamentary candidates for the constituency of Brentford & Isleworth. Whilst policies on the economy, education, healthcare, taxation and transport are openly available, I am also concerned about moral/ethical issues. In view of this, I am interested in your opinions on the following issues, especially as legislation concerning them has either recently been put to parliament, or will very likely be put before the next parliament. If you would be kind enough to answer the following questions, that would be very helpful to me.
- Abortion – Would you favour a reduction in the term for “social” abortions i.e those done for any reason other than to save the mother’s life (at present 24 weeks)? Do you oppose late abortions carried out because of foetal abnormalities?
- Embryo research – Are you opposed to the use of human embryos for a) cloning; b) choosing a child’s gender; c) chimeras (human cells blended with cells of other species; d) hybrids (human cells implanted in other animals; e) gathering stem cells?
- Assisted suicide – Would you oppose any move to make assisted suicide easier (no longer an offence)?
- Euthanasia – Do you oppose the provisions of the Mental Capacity Bill which a) require hospitals to allow patients with little hope of recovery to die and b) require patients to be deprived of food and water if they fall into a coma or become too ill to speak for themselves?
- Religious hatred – Do you agree that the measure contained in the Serious Organised Crime Bill restricts freedom of speech, particularly for Christians?
- Civil Partnership – Do you agree that this measure weakens the sanctity of marriage and is misguided?
Would you also be willing for your responses to be made known to others?
Thank you for your time,
It will be interesting to see if I get any replies, and to read the content of those replies. You never know, it might even influence for whom I cast my vote…