Young UK Christians have faith in politics but less in politicians

(Photo: REUTERS / Ben Gurr / Pool)speaks to students at a reception being held at Downing Street, as part of the government's ongoing programme marking the centenary of World War One, in London July 1, 2014.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have asked Christian young people about their attitudes to voting and politics in Britain.

The young people were clear: they cared about politics; their faith had a major impact on how they voted.

But they did not think their voices were heard nor have faith that politicians would deliver positive change, the Christian think tank Ekklesia has reported.

The online survey was conducted in preparation for the Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist, Methodist and Reformed churches' conference, "Love Your Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote.".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the symbolic leader of the 88-million strong Anglican Communion.

The aim of the conference is to equip Christians to be active in the run up to Britain's next general election in May 2015.


The churches believe that the online survey shows that while many young people care deeply there is a need to heed their concerns about the political process.

In the UK voter turnout amongst 18 to 23 year olds is extremely low.

Research carried out by the YouGov polling agency in April indicated that of the 3.3 million young people entitled to vote for the first time in next year's general election, on May 7, more than 2 million of them will not be voting.

Andrew Weston, Fellowship of the United Reformed Youth moderator elect, said: "It is a great shame that so many young people lack belief in the political system, fearing that their voices will be ignored."

The young Christians asked by the churches said they would be more likely to vote if politicians engage directly with them.

They also said that they are not given sufficient information with regards to policies and key issues, and that one way of overcoming this could also be through better political education in schools.

"It is vitally important that young people take the opportunity to have their say next May," Weston said.

He noted, "I'm really looking forward to the upcoming JPIT conference.


"To have a space for young Christians to engage with key issues, including poverty, climate change and international affairs, in the context of their faith and the upcoming general election is so valuable."

Rachel Allison co-ordinated the survey and worked with JPIT to help the team improve how churches talk about social justice to young people

Allison said: "There are important questions to be asked about how politicians can engage with a seemingly untapped generation who could have a massive impact on the result of the election and the future of society."

Megan Thomas, Methodist youth president, said: "There are many issues facing our country today that specifically impact on children and young people.

"We live in a country where housing is unaffordable, child poverty is on the increase and where there are constant financial challenges in education."

He said, "Young people are passionate about politics and care about the key issues in our country, but it is important that we have all the facts."

The "Love Your Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote" conference takes place on Saturday February 21, in the Coventry Central Hall in the center of England.

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