03 March 2015, The Tablet

Lord Williams: voting goes beyond defence of ‘Christian values’

Lord Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, said that Christians should not vote for a candidate simply because they defend “Judeo-Christian values”.

He said: “Christian politics is not about defending ‘Judeo-Christian values’ or those forms of religious culture, it is about pressing again and again on these areas where trust is shrinking and humanity is shrinking with it and asking ourselves, so how do we carry our vision forward into every area of political discussion?”

Lord Williams, who after leaving Lambeth Palace became chairman of Christian Aid and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, was speaking on Saturday at the Faith in Politics day conference in London hosted by the charity along with The Children’s Society and festival organisers Greenbelt.

His remarks follow the publication of election guidance by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, and the Church of England’s House of Bishops.

Without becoming naïve, people needed to have greater faith in the “other”, Lord Williams said, and reject political and media rhetoric that fosters panic and mistrust of politicians, people in public life, organisations or charities.

“Our politics and our media really thrive on mistrust,” he said. “It seems the basic emotion we’re encouraged to feel by quite a lot of political and media rhetoric is a sort of mild, subdued panic.

“There comes to be a corrosive, circular, enclosed world in which what you are always longing for is a good reason to not trust someone. I don’t think that can be good for us.”

The foundation of Christian political engagement was the biblical encouragement that our faith in God carried with it God’s faith in us, he said.

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