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Daily Telegraph: Harriet Harman and David Cameron asked to face Christian voters in special election hustings
Harriet Harman and David Cameron asked to face Christian voters in special election hustings
Leading politicians including Harriet Harman and David Cameron are being asked to face Christian voters and justify their stances on moral issues at special election meetings chaired by an outspoken bishop.
By Martin Beckford
Published: 7:30AM GMT 12 Mar 2010
The architect of Labour’s controversial Equality Bill and the Conservative leader are among the MPs whose constituencies have been chosen as the sites of a series of hustings hosted by religious pressure groups.
The events are also being planned in the Parliamentary seats of Labour’s Dawn Primarolo and the Liberal Democrat Evan Harris, both of whom have clashed with Christian groups over embryo research and abortion laws.
The MPs will be invited to take part in panels along with candidates from rival parties and be challenged about how their policies will affect churchgoers, many of whom feel they are being marginalised in public life.
Should they appear at the “Christians and Candidates” events to be held in the weeks leading up to a general election expected on May 6, the senior politicians are also likely to be asked whether they support tax breaks for married couples, as well as tightening up laws on abortion and assisted suicide.
Some of the meetings will be chaired by the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, one of the leading traditionalists in the Church of England who believes that the decline of Christian values over recent decades is destroying Britishness and creating a “moral vacuum” that is being filled by radical Islam.
The former Bishop of Rochester said: “Many groups disproportionate to their size have had major influence on politics in this country and the political process and now is the time, in the run up to a General Election, for Biblically-minded Christians to get together to listen to, and then confront their would-be MPs with their questions.
“The specific issues of real concern arise from the development of laws passed over recent parliaments. The state of marriage, and the breakdown of family life affects not just our individual lives but our life as a community and nation.“The dignity of the human person, and the implications of laws to effectively end life at its early or final states is of huge concern.“Then there are very real concerns by deeply committed, publicly-minded and spirited Christians who are finding their Christian faith coming increasingly under pressure at work.
“Some are being banned from wearing even the cross, others from praying for people at a very real time of need, and others, by virtue of their Christian views and convictions about marriage, are being prevented from serving on Adoption Panels or from being Civil Registrars if they do not sign up to the latest equality legislation.
“Christians are being marginalised in the market place commercially and from serving in public office.
“These events will give Christians an opportunity to make their voice known.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, a director of both Christian Concern for Our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre, organisers of the meetings, added: “Christians are not interested in easy-fix, voter-friendly solutions to simply get any elector to tick the right box.
“They are interested in supporting a Government which will work for the good of all, bring in laws which are based on just and right Judeo-Christian principles, and want to be treated with the same respect as other groupings in society.”
Another church group has already planned a hustings in Witney, the Conservative leader’s constituency, and discussions are continuing as to whether it will be merged with a “Christians and Candidates” event led by Bishop Nazir-Ali.
The candidates are unlikely to confirm their appearance at the meetings until the election date is announced.
Source: Daily Telegraph
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