Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Make THE CROSS Count


Last month I wrote the following letter to the candidates in my constituency.

I wanted to share this with others, to enable Christians in the constituency to be able to use the responses to assist in understanding the value each candidate places on specific areas.

Some have answered fully, others have skirted around the subjects, and I have simply reproduced their responses without redaction.


Please Christians do: Make THE CROSS Count




 

Dear Candidate,

I’m writing to all of the candidates in my area to help me and my congregation decide how to vote in the election. Firstly I would like to thank you for being willing to stand for public office, and assure you that if you are successful you will be supported in prayer.

I would be grateful for your answers to the questions below. Ideally within  day or so, because I intend to publish these to all of my congregation and other local churches. No response will assume lack of interest in the Christian vote.:

Family
- How should government promote a married mum and dad as the normal basis for family?

- Would you support the reversal of the same-sex ‘marriage’ law?

- Do you oppose the introduction of sex education in primary schools?

Liberty
- Are you aware of challenges faced by Christians in the workplace? What steps would you take in response?
- Would you back new laws to protect freedom of conscience and freedom of religion?
- How would you protect the freedom of Christian parents to bring up their children in line with their faith and to opt out of sex education in schools?

Foundations
- What influence does Jesus Christ have on your own life?


- How would you stop the ‘British Values’ drive being used to penalise Christian-based schools?

- How would you stop Sharia law being practised in the UK?

- What code of conduct would restore the link between the public and private morals of MPs?

Life
- What steps would you take to end abortion and the destruction of human life through embryology and IVF?

- What will you do to prevent legalisation of assisted suicide?

- Would you work to reverse the law that allows the creation of ‘three-parent’ children?


Thank you for taking the time to respond. If you have any questions for me please don't hesitate to contact me. As I said above, I'd very much appreciate an early response.

If you would like more information about issues of concern to Christians at this election You might try www.election2015.org.uk

Yours sincerely,


Rev. Keith Waters
9 Thirlby Gardens
Ely CB6 1EA

 

Conservative


Dear Keith,
Many thanks for your email.  I am sorry for the delay in replying. 


Family
I am married to David and we have two children.  I do not support the reversal of the same-sex marriage law.  I believe that sex education should be age appropriate.
Liberty
A number of people have written to me about concerns that they have as Christians.  I believe in equality and freedom to practise one’s religion, whatever that religion is.
Foundations
It is important that people who come to this country should respect our values.  That should not diminish rights to practise as Christians.  It is important for MPs to regain the public’s trust.
Life
Any decisions as to legislation which affect life must be taken incredibly carefully.
Kind regards
Lucy
Lucy Frazer QC
Parliamentary Candidate for South East Cambridgeshire (Conservative)
www.lucyfrazer.org.uk



 

UKIP


Dear Keith,

You ask a whole range of questions so I’d like to refer you to UKIP’s manifesto in which you will find the answers to many  http://www.ukip.org/manifesto2015
 

I am a practising Christian and as those who have seen me will know, I frequently wear a cross as a sign of my faith.


Some additional points which may not be included specifically in the manifesto:

- we had serious reservations with the way the same sex marriage act was introduced but it is unlikely we would repeal the act unless the people wanted to have a referendum on the issue, thereby allowing them to have a say which they were not able to have when the legislation was rushed through

- we do not support sex education being taught in primary schools and we believe all parents must be made fully aware of the sex education teaching materials being used and we respect parents’ rights to withdraw children from sex education classes if they wish

- we uphold freedom of speech within the law, and believe all ideas and beliefs should be open to discussion and scrutiny

- we uphold the integrity of British law, ensuring it apples to all equally and will not condone parallel or conflicting systems

- on issues such as assisted suicide and abortion, I personally don’t believe it’s for the government to dictate.  All life is precious.  However, I know there are some who argue there may be situations where assisted suicide and abortion may be appropriate.  I would very much like there to be a proper debate on these issues before any further changes to legislation and for people to be able to have their say.



Kind regards,
Deborah

 

07572 361047



 

Liberal

 

Dear Rev Waters,

Thank you for contacting me and asking these important questions from a Christian perspective.  I am strong supporter of the freedom to worship and witness and to maintain an active Christian position in the public square.

I am also a strong believer in the importance of family life, marriage and the value of effective parenting.  As a Christian myself, I do believe that man is made in the image of God.  Of course, I also respect the views of those who do not have my faith.

With my family, I attend St Andrew's Impington and I am also a trustee and Council member for the Keswick Convention (established in 1875).

I am not minded to see assisted dying or legalised euthanasia admitted onto the statute books.

Thank you again for contacting me.
With best wishes,
Jonathan

Published and promoted by Lorna Dupré on behalf of Jonathan Chatfield and South East Cambs Liberal Democrats, all at 55 Market Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 4LP, 01353 664348. Printed (hosted) by NationBuilder.

 

 


Labour
 
Dear Huw Jones
I’m writing to all of the candidates in my area to help me and my congregation decide how to vote in the election. Firstly I would like to thank you for being willing to stand for public office, and assure you that if you are successful you will be supported in prayer.

I would be grateful for your answers to the questions below. Ideally within a day or so, because I intend to publish these to all of my congregation and other local churches. No response will assume lack of interest in the Christian vote.:

Family
- How should government promote a married mum and dad as the normal basis for family?
Nothing is more important than raising the next generation. Children need stability and a loving, nuturing environment if they are to thrive. Families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they all need support. Labour brought in SureStart, a scheme designed to support families targetted at deprived areas and aiming to break the cycle of disfunctional families raising children who go on to become the next generation of disfunctional parents.
- Would you support the reversal of the same-sex ‘marriage’ law?
I understand that some Christians have grave concerns over 'same-sex marriage'; I do not share those concerns. The labels put onto a relationship are less important than the love and support shared within a relationship.
- Do you oppose the introduction of sex education in primary schools?
Schools act on behalf of parents and children. Any form of sex education without a leavening of relationship education will be doomed to failiure. Personal health and social education (PHSE) must always be age appropriate, the school must be open and honest with parents regarding the content of PHSE. As a school governor I know that parents have the right to withdraw their child from sex education and i would vote to keep that right in place.
Liberty
- Are you aware of challenges faced by Christians in the workplace? What steps would you take in response?
- Would you back new laws to protect freedom of conscience and freedom of religion?
- How would you protect the freedom of Christian parents to bring up their children in line with their faith and to opt out of sex education in schools?
Every politician has a debt to the Christian non-conformists of the sevententh and eighteenth centuries who fought for freedom of conscience. The last Labour government enshrined human rights in law and these rights include freedom of concience, a right to family life and the right to freedom of expression. These rights and protections are important in ensuring that you have the right to proffess your faith, to bring your children up in accordance with your values and to gather together with your fellow Christians to openly declare your faith and engage in a meeting of ideas with others. I strongly disagree with those who talk of 'human rights gone mad'; human rights protect us all from persecution.

Foundations
- What influence does Jesus Christ have on your own life?
I was raised in a baptist tradition but I have not found faith in my life
- How would you stop the ‘British Values’ drive being used to penalise Christian-based schools?
I cringe every time someone talks about British values; there are values. You and I may share many values and disagree on others. British values is a phrase devoid of meaning; I'd guess you share more values with Christians from across the world than with some of your fellow citizens in the UK. I personally favour non religious schools and to leave faith to the realm of the family.
- How would you stop Sharia law being practised in the UK?
There is one legal system in the UK. It must be applied to all citizens equally irrespective of religions or traditions
- What code of conduct would restore the link between the public and private morals of MPs?
It is for electors to pass judgement on their MPs.  The electors should have the power to recall MPs when things go wrong.

Life
- What steps would you take to end abortion and the destruction of human life through embryology and IVF?
None. I find the implicit criticism of IVF distasteful.
- What will you do to prevent legalisation of assisted suicide?
I cannot imagine any circumstance where someone should be allowed to help someone end their life without facing the law. I can understand that a jury and judge, hearing the circumstances of an individual death might be moved to mercy. Conversely, where a court hears of greed as a motive in assisting a death, the court would impose punishment. The key is to keep the situation where a jury could ultimately examine the facts and come to a judgement.
In my own family, my father had a series of mini-strokes that left him unmanned; happily he was put onto suitable medications and returned to us with full faculties. I fear a future where, had he signed a 'living will', a doctor might suggest that a patient had indicated a wish to die and be unprepared to prescribe expensive drugs.
- Would you work to reverse the law that allows the creation of ‘three-parent’ children?
 No

Thank you for taking the time to respond. If you have any questions for me please don't hesitate to contact me. As I said above, I'd very much appreciate an early response.
You and I may share many values and disagree on others. Your values are important to you as my values are important to me. Clearly we will differ on some aspects but I hope that all in our community can respect each others values and find common ground to make life better for all

If you would like more information about issues of concern to Christians at this election You might try www.election2015.org.uk

Yours sincerely,


Rev. Keith Waters
9 Thirlby Gardens
Ely CB6 1EA



Green Party
Dear Mr Semmens,

I’m writing to all of the candidates in my area to help me and my congregation decide how to vote in the election. Firstly I would like to thank you for being willing to stand for public office, and assure you that if you are successful you will be supported in prayer.
I would be grateful for your answers to the questions below. Ideally within  day or so, because I intend to publish these to all of my congregation and other local churches. No response will assume lack of interest in the Christian vote.:

Family
- How should government promote a married mum and dad as the normal basis for family?
I don't think it needs to promote it; it is the norm. The subtext of this question is presumably that the government should deprecate any other basis, and I think that would be a very bad idea: other arrangements exist, whether we like it or not, and it would be unfair to the children involved to portray their families as second grade.
 - Would you support the reversal of the same-sex ‘marriage’ law?
No.
 - Do you oppose the introduction of sex education in primary schools?
No.

Liberty
- Are you aware of challenges faced by Christians in the workplace? What steps would you take in response?
I'm aware of the challenges faced by Muslims, Hindus, Jews, atheists etc. in the workplace too. I'm against any kind of discrimination on specious grounds. I don't think legislation - beyond what we have already - can really help much. What really can help is open discussion of the issues, to which I will continue to contribute - obviously with more effect if I'm elected to parliament.
 - Would you back new laws to protect freedom of conscience and freedom of religion?
Again, I don't think new laws are necessary. I can see a subtext here again - with which I do NOT agree.
 - How would you protect the freedom of Christian parents to bring up their children in line with their faith and to opt out of sex education in schools?
I wouldn't, unless there is provision to ensure that alternative arrangements are made for the children's education on sex and relationships. Simply ignoring sex and relationship education is a recipe for BIG problems.

Foundations
- What influence does Jesus Christ have on your own life?
Obviously I'm familiar with the story of Jesus Christ, and I think very highly of his teachings.
 - How would you stop the ‘British Values’ drive being used to penalise Christian-based schools?
Here's my bit about "British Values": http://clive.semmens.org.uk/Politics.html?BritishValues
- How would you stop Sharia law being practised in the UK?
Some of its practices (such as stoning to death for adultery) are already illegal in this country. Such of its practices that are not illegal here generally don't need to be stopped - there may be a few individual practices that are undesirable but not currently illegal, but they need to be considered individually. Some of its practices (such as prohibition of charging interest, a policy of which Jesus Christ would obviously have approved) would be a very positive contribution to our body of law.
 - What code of conduct would restore the link between the public and private morals of MPs?
An expectation of integrity would be a marvellous thing. How to achieve this I don't know. Our media could help enormously, but their work in this respect is very erratic. Political interference in the media is itself fraught with difficulties, of course.
 

Life
- What steps would you take to end abortion and the destruction of human life through embryology and IVF?
Sex education would help a lot to reduce the demand for abortions. I wouldn't attempt to end abortion completely. Embryology and IVF don't destroy human life: quite the reverse, they enable parents to have children who might otherwise be unable to.
 - What will you do to prevent legalisation of assisted suicide?
Nothing. I would require very strong safeguards to ensure that this didn't form the top of a slippery slope to euthanasia however.
 - Would you work to reverse the law that allows the creation of ‘three-parent’ children
No, although I'd like to see a moratorium on it until further work has been done. Whether it should then be allowed should, in my opinion, depend on the results of that work - not only on the biological and genetic safety of the technique, but on the psychology and social psychology involved.
 
Thank you for taking the time to respond. If you have any questions for me please don't hesitate to contact me. As I said above, I'd very much appreciate an early response.

If you would like more information about issues of concern to Christians at this election You might try www.election2015.org.uk

Yours sincerely,


Rev. Keith Waters
9 Thirlby Gardens
Ely CB6 1EA