SCOTLAND’S most senior Christian figures have come together to urge the country to vote in May’s elections.
The church leaders are encouraging the public and politicians to examine their faith as they prepare to vote in the Scottish Elections.
Churches and Christian organisations have produced a shared election resources website: www.churchesvote.org to inform potential voters about Parliamentary and election processes; to collate information about party policies and inspire Christians of all political persuasions to participate in the debate.
The website is a joint initiative between the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office, Catholic Parliamentary Office, CARE for Scotland, Evangelical Alliance and Christians Count.
It is supported by the Baptist Union of Scotland, CARE for Scotland, Christians Count, Church of Scotland, Congregational Federation, Destiny Church Network,
Evangelical Alliance, Free Church of Scotland, Methodist Church in Scotland, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Roman Catholic Church, The Salvation Army, Scottish Episcopal Church, United Free Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church.
A joint statement in support has been issued by all of those organisations.
At a launch in Edinburgh today were:
- Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Right Reverend John Christie.
- Cardinal Keith O’Brien, president, Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.
- The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
- Rev John Humphreys, Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland United Reformed Church of Scotland.
- Rev Fred Drummond, National Director for Scotland, the Evangelical Alliance.
- The Salvation Army: Lt Col Alan Burns, Scotland Secretary
- Rev Alexander MacDonald, Free Church of Church of Scotland
- Methodist Church in Scotland, Rev Lily Twist, chair of the Methodist Synod in Scotland
- Destiny Church Network, Andrew Owen, senior pastor
In a joint statement, the church leaders said: “This website is about encouraging people to use their vote and helping them to understand the process involved. It provides information and links to individual churches resources.
“This is an initiative of a wide range churches and Christian organisations that are united in their commitment to encourage informed participation and real debate on the Scottish Election in May.”
The full statement issued on behalf of all the church leaders is as follows:
Church Leaders’ Statement ahead of the Scottish Election in May 2011
Elections to the Scottish Parliament take place on 5 May 2011. Church Leaders and representatives of Christian organisations across Scotland have come together ahead of these elections to challenge candidates and voters alike to remember that elections are community events in which ‘my’ vote is not only for me but also an opportunity for each of us to express the needs of the whole community. Let us look beyond the selfish and fearful parts of ourselves and aspire to build a society where everyone has equal access to opportunities and can live with dignity.
A fair and just society must place the value of every human life at the centre of its thinking. This is only possible in a society which respects human life at every stage and supports the family in which life is born and nurtured. Families have a right and a need for sufficient material wellbeing to flourish; the right to sustainable work is an essential part of satisfying this need. Human choices are not value free; when making far reaching choices about the future of our economy we must understand the moral consequences of our decisions before we act. In our roles as consumers, workers, employers, investors and shareholders we must strive to create fair economic mechanisms that, while acknowledging that profit is a valid form of economic activity, place human outcomes above the need for ever greater financial rewards. Our current levels of consumption cannot be sustained. As a society we must aspire to a future in which, as a society, we live within our means and learn from the past.
There is a deep need for those with political authority to be a part of the communities which they serve and to act in the best interests of that community as a whole. Politicians must be accountable for the morality of their decisions and when we hold them accountable we must remember that we serve each other and not our own self interest. While many politicians work tirelessly in their communities there remains considerable scepticism in relation to political institutions and politicians. An awareness of human failings should not tempt us to abandon the political system. Dissatisfaction with politics should prompt Christians to be more involved in shaping political life so that it better serves the whole of society.
For generations, Christians have served society and been at the heart of civil and political life, a tradition we are committed to continuing. Motivated by faith, Christians are particularly aware of the need, found at the heart of the Gospel message, for a just social order where the government and economy function properly in contributing to social harmony. Electing a government that is capable of doing this in a way compatible with the dignity of each human person is therefore a task of utmost importance. Churches and Christian organisations have produced a shared election resources website: www.churchesvote.org to inform potential voters about Parliamentary and election processes; to collate information about party policies and inspire Christians of all political persuasions to participate in the debate. It is up to us to respond to the needs of our communities, to be informed about the decisions that will be taken after this election, and fulfil our duty to vote.
Note to News Editors:
- Baptist Union of Scotland: Rev Alan Donaldson, general director
- CARE for Scotland: Bill Baird, manager
- Christians Count: Andrew Witty, mirector
- Church of Scotland: Rt Rev John Christie, Moderator of the General Assembly
- Congregational Federation: Rev Malcolm Muir, chair
- Destiny Church Network: Andrew Owen, senior pastor
- Evangelical Alliance: Rev Fred Drummond, National Director in Scotland
- Free Church of Scotland: Rev James Maciver, Clerk to the General Assembly
- Methodist Church in Scotland: Rev Lily Twist, chair of the Methodist Synod in Scotland
- Religious Society of Friends (Quakers): Leslie Stevenson, representative friend
- Roman Catholic Church: Cardinal Keith O’Brien, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
- The Salvation Army: Lieut-Colonel Alan Burns, Scotland Secretariat
- Scottish Episcopal Church: Most Revd David Chillingworth, Primus
- United Free Church of Scotland: Rev Robert O Owens, Moderator of the General Assembly
- United Reformed Church: Rev John LI Humphreys, Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland
For more information, please contact Stuart Wilson, head of Communications at the Church of Scotland.
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