Party Leaders
Democracy

This is how the 'Christian vote' now looks

 

During the run up to May’s General Election, we had a few polls that attempted to gauge what the Christian vote would look like. Carrying out such an exercise has a good deal of value as it’s well established that Christians are more likely to vote than the average member of our population, and even allowing for church decline, with church membership still around the 5 million mark, that’s a lot of votes that were up for grabs.

Christians are, in theory, of one mind when it comes to the divinity of Jesus Christ, but when it comes to political matters there really is no such thing as the ‘Christian vote’, unless you happen to live in the US and are a white Evangelical, in which case there’s a extremely high likelihood that you vote Republican. A well-researched report from the Theos think tank last year found that Christians here in the UK tend mostly to inhabit the political ‘middle ground’, with Anglicans and Evangelicals swaying gently to the right and Roman Catholics generally going in the opposite direction. The exception was for those who called themselves Christians but never attend church: these nominals are considerably more left-wing than those who are committed enough to go to church.

With this in mind, both Populus and Lord Ashcroft polls carried out research in February which found that Christians were broadly in line with the general population, with one exception: they tended to favour the Conservative Party. There was a lead of 3 per cent with Ashcroft, and 7 per cent with Populus. An Evangelical Alliance poll a month before the election gave the Conservatives a 2 point lead.

In hindsight, we now know that the vast majority of pre-election polls failed miserably in predicting the outcome, but this week ComRes has published results of a survey commissioned by Tearfund which asks church-going Christians how they actually voted. This was carried out the week after the election and released to coincide with tomorrow’s mass lobby of Parliament by the Climate Coalition, which includes a number of major Christian organisations. But it gives us the first post-election Christian voting data and also with all of the questions being open and unprompted, it gives a snapshot of views, avoiding any charge of respondents being steered in a certain direction.

Were Christians who were polled more reliable and trustworthy with their choices? The answer is mostly affirmative, with the numbers coming out roughly between the Ashcroft and Populus surveys. 28 per cent voted Conservative compared to 24 per cent Labour. But the surprise comes with the minor parties. The LibDems did much better among Christians, gaining 15 per cent – almost double the national share. Ukip ended up with 8 per cent, but were edged into fifth place just behind the Green Party which performed far better than their overall result.

When you probe a bit deeper, it leads to some fascinating findings. Roman Catholics in particular have moved away from their love for the Labour Party and are turning blue. The Methodists are now the only denomination to have Labour as their most popular party. However, Labour’s support amongst Evangelicals has collapsed: at 16 per cent, they are now one point behind the LibDems and one point ahead of Ukip.

Moving on to the main social issues facing us today, Tearfund’s survey finds that inequality and social justice come top. This is as might be expected given the tendency of many churchgoers to have an interest in these matters, not to mention biblical emphases and the churches’ ever increasing social action. Spiritual decline and the rise of secularism is next on the list, followed by immigration, poverty and the NHS. The economy is another four places down, but comes top as the reason given for supporting a particular party. The other primary reasons (in descending order) were: parties being closest to their own position or aiming to keep another one out of power; the qualities of an individual candidate; promotion of equality; and ‘Europe’. Issues which are supposedly more relevant to Christian voters, such as religious freedom, gay marriage, abortion and assisted dying didn’t get much of a look-in at all.

So here we have lots of numbers and statistics, but what does it mean? Well, if there were such a thing as the Christian vote, it would look pretty centrist politically, but the Conservatives are undoubtedly the party of the moment. Christians do care about a whole range of moral issues, but when it comes to who to vote for, like so many others, they want a government which they can trust to manage the economy. And the party deemed best placed to deliver that was the Conservatives.

It also indicates that the LibDems still have a lot of Christian friends, and chances are that if they avoid going down a more secularist route as a party (which is a real possibility) then they should retain that support. Labour, on the other hand, has credibility issues even among those Christian denominations which traditionally have supported them. When it comes to rebuilding confidence, they obviously have a lot to do, and it is seemingly only going to happen if they head back towards the crowded political centre-ground.

There’s been plenty of talk over the last few months about us experiencing a new form of politics, with the smaller parties gaining attention and increasing influence, while the more established ‘main’ parties struggle and mostly fail to keep the upstarts at bay. It’s also time to that accept as outdated the notion that political-social attitudes which arise from biblical inspiration should lead Christians toward Socialism. The relationship between faith and politics is more complex than that, and many committed church-going Christians are manifestly reaching different conclusions. A new, more intelligent form of political understanding needs to be developed within our churches, too. Church leaders who enter the political fray need to be careful to embrace (and learn from) the wider and changing political inclinations of their members. They need to speak into the current situation with clarity of thought and using the political vernacular. The gospel does not change, but society and culture do. If Christians are moving politically in one direction, church leaders would be wise to examine the reasons for this and respond accordingly.

  • Anton

    Tearfund published the results of their survey to coincide with a lobby of parliament by the Climate Coalition. Today the Pope’s forthcoming encyclical on this issue has been leaked, a few days early:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-warns-of-unprecedented-damage-from-climate-change-in-leaked-encyclical-document-10322156.html

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-letter-on-climate-change-leaked-draft-vatican-encyclical-released-three-days-early-10321801.html

    What Pope Francis ignores is that it has not got any warmer for nearly 20 years now although carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has continued to increase as China and India industrialise. The computer models are wrong. The most charitable interpretation is that he has been badly advised scientifically. But he still bears responsibility for his words.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Please, don’t touch anything TearFud do with a bargepole. They lost their way a few years back and don’t look like ever getting back to true Gospel work.

      • Watchman

        I wrote to Tearfund some years ago and asked them what they did that was evangelical. The reply said that they didn’t do anything because they were not a missionary society. Discernibly, their title describes from where they raise the money and has nothing to do with how the people donating it wanted it spent or thought it was being spent.

      • A friend of ours left a very substantial sum of money to Tearfund – and a number of other larger, evangelical Charities – in his Will.

        Letters were received from all the charities discussing a potential variation to the Will. The letter from Tearfund stood alone in it’s shockingly mercenary and avaricious content. Seems this might just be indicative of some deeper issues they have.

      • Dominic Stockford, would you please email me about this comment? And because I’d like to connect with you generally. I worked for Tear Fund myself, earlier in my career.

        http://JohnAllman.UK

  • Saleem Shady

    The Conservatives attracted a million votes from Britain’s black and Asian population. I can only see this increasing in the future as middle class ethnic minorities grow. But also attracted by the natural disposition of Asian and African / Carribean people towards small ‘c’ conservatism at odds with the loony left wing nonsense of Labour.

    • dannybhoy

      Those who come or came to this country to better their lives will usually vote for conservative policies, and will often achieve more than us indigenous Brits. I think (or rather I hope), we are seeing a shift away from the old Welfare State model to a far more sustainable targetted application of State help with an emphasis on getting people into work as well as looking after our most vulnerable citizens.
      I think the Conservatives now realise that the public mood no longer supports a something for nothing culture.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Less than 1 in 5 of those polled thought that that spiritual decline was responsible for the troubles we face. Which inclines me to think that less than 1 in 5 of those polled attend a church where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is presented as what it actually is, ‘The Way, The Truth and The Life’.

    No wonder Christianity is in trouble in the UK, most of it isn’t Christianity.

  • TrippingDwarves

    Here’s another way of looking at it:

    The Green Party are openly anti-Christian.
    The SNP are probably anti-Christian.
    The Labour Party are unwillingly Christian.
    The Liberal Party are fringe Christian.
    The Conservative Party are uncomfortably Christian.
    Only UKIP stood up for Christian values being part of this country’s heritage, though they are not quite sure what those values are in detail.

    And where the Church of England stands in all this is anyone’s guess.

    • The Church of England are reluntantly Christian

      • dannybhoy

        Lol!

    • Dominic Stockford

      That would be the same UKIP threatening court action against those who won’t allow them to take part in a ‘gay pride’ parade? Standing up for Christian values my foot.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    This is how the Christian vote will look in 2067: a big fat zero. Christianity’s enemies can congratulate themselves on a job well done. Perhaps things would have been different if Christians hadn’t been hamstrung by the command to love their enemy. With the benefit of hindsight, it wasn’t the shrewdest piece of advice Jesus gave but I dare say He never expected Christian countries to be so foolish as to welcome the followers of other religions.

    • Linus

      What? You mean even Christians realise that Jesus wasn’t omniscient?

      Well there’s a bombshell!

      So, given that your messiah didn’t know everything and couldn’t foretell the consequences his rules and regulations would bring down on the heads of his followers, what does that say about the nature of the Trinity?

      Is it a typical dysfunctional family where the father doesn’t tell his son anything, and the son keeps making a fool of himself when his entitlement syndrome pushes him to issue pronouncements about things he doesn’t fully understand?

      Perhaps this god of yours is more human than you realise. Could it be because he’s really just a reflection of you as seen in a very, very flattering looking glass?

      • dannybhoy

        Sigh..

      • The Explorer

        Point of info, Linus old chap. Johnny R is a contributor to this blog, but is not a Christian.

        • dannybhoy

          Poor Linus, so eager to grasp at any straw..

          • The Explorer

            Nice chap, but he’s convinced I have it in for him.

          • dannybhoy

            Linus is a nice chap, but that won’t really show through until he realises that we’re not out to get him. It does make you wonder where he got this distorted image of Christianity from.

        • Linus

          Oh I see, so his heretical notions are to be classed in the same category as the Inspector’s then, just without the simulacrum of belief plastered over the top.

          Noted for future reference.

          • Inspector General

            Rotter!

          • The Explorer

            You said, “Your messiah”. Doesn’t apply.

      • Yawn!

        [I’ve ignored all your ignorant diatribes up ’til now because of the very sound piece of internet wisdom, “Don’t feed the trolls”. However, whereas your lame comments have previously acted as a mild irritant – like the precocious child at an adult party – now I just find them tedious & boring. We get it … you don’t believe it. But unless you can comment intelligently, insightfully – or even amusingly – like JohnnyR or DanJ0, then please just bugger off back to your bedroom and let the grown-ups converse in peace. This is the first & last time I’ll be addressing you]

        • dannybhoy

          “Don’t feed the trolls”.
          Point of order: who decides who’s a troll?

          If the site’s open to everyone then Linus can put in his two pennyworth the same as anyone else.
          As a matter of fact Danj0 and Sarky often vote his comments up…

          • Who decides? I do.

            Linus can indeed put his two pennyworth in – though I think that’s vastly overvaluing them.

            You’ve been around long enough to have seen the likes of Linus come and go in the past. (What ever happened to that Dawkins disciple, Chinley(?) … or whatever his name was … the one who used to get so irate about me misspelling his name?)

          • dannybhoy

            It don’t matter.
            To me at any rate.
            AC is a showcase of sorts for Christianity of all shades and opinions. Those who have a non Christian faith are welcome, those who have no faith likewise. As long as there is no toleration of outright blasphemy people can have their say.
            And without wanting to sound pious or pompous,
            (but I don’t know how else to say it!)
            I like to think that those of us who believe in salvation by grace and the process of sanctification will show tolerance and grace to those who don’t. That we will continue to listen and respond in the hopes that God’s Holy Spirit will do a work of grace in their lives too.

          • You old romantic!

            When dealing with trolls contributors like Linus I take the Biblical injunction prescribed in Proverbs 26:4. Though I absolutely reserve the right to use Proverbs 26:5 at my discretion.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, you softened your stance.
            Proverbs 15:1
            I’m sure Linus could care less what we think or say about him.
            But I do think the Lord does..

          • “A gentle answer deflects anger,
            but harsh words make tempers flare.”

            But in the RSV (Rebel Saint Version) “… And no answer at all saves everyone a lot of bother!”

          • dannybhoy

            :0)
            God bless you Bro.

          • carl jacobs

            Greg Tingey. He left a couple years back. I suspect he got tired of being ignored. Linus is 60 dB smarter than Greg. But he uses that intelligence for nothing but scorn and vituperation. You are right to ignore him.

          • Greg Tingley … well remembered. Ah, happy days. And not forgetting Graham Davis!

          • William Lewis

            Greg Tingey made a brief appearance on the Telegraph a few weeks ago but Graham Davis … now that is a blast from the past.

          • Pubcrawler

            Has he learnt how to take the caps lock off?

          • William Lewis

            Not really. He was still being rather, err, forthright in his comments.

        • Linus

          Jolly good then. Nice to know I’ll never be hearing from you again, although once the Christian troll opens its trap, experience has taught me it generally never shuts up, so I take the vow of silence with a grain of salt.

          But who knows? Perhaps you’ve vomited enough venom to calm your digestion down for a while…

          • Nope. not taking the bait!
            [Can you see what I did there?! I think I’m going to give myself an up vote for being so amusingly ironic].

          • Linus

            And once again, a Christian cannot be trusted to keep his word.

            Your first comment was supposed to be the first and last you would ever address to me.

            I knew it wouldn’t be. Christians just aren’t capable of standing by their promises. That’s why their religion has been so utterly discredited. They make false statements they have absolutely no intention of honouring, and then act all surprised and offended when the rest of us treat them as unreliable, hysterical and attention-seeking.

            “Parole de Chrétien” indeed…

          • Look, here I am breaking my word again. I really am a very naughty boy. Conclusive proof that there is no God, Jesus was not divine, and we have no need of a saviour.

          • Linus

            Conclusive proof that you’re incapable of keeping your word.

            If your statements of intent cannot be trusted, nothing else you say or do can be either.

            Do you really believe in this religion you profess, or is it just another self-serving lie?

          • Must. Resist.

            Doh! I’ve done it again.

      • Johnny Rottenborough

        @ Linus—I don’t know the Christian teaching on Jesus’ omniscience; I’m only a fellow traveller of Christianity. The command to love the enemy puts Christians at a severe disadvantage when sharing their country with the other Abrahamic faiths, both of which are far too worldly-wise to aid the enemy and must view Christian self-sacrifice with some amusement. I think Christianity embodies the highest moral principles so it is bitter to see it brought low, not least by its own leaders’ ill-fated love affair with diversity.

    • The Explorer

      Formerly-Christian countries, now PC countries. Remember that in cultural- Marxist thinking religious minority = ethnic minority = part of the new proletariat in the new-style class war against the white, heterosexual male.

      In Labour terms, future Labour voters. Bring ’em in and give ’em voting rights asap.

  • dannybhoy

    I think how Christians vote has a great deal to do with where they live, how they live and their exposure to other lifestyles and cultures.
    Given that many Christians are somewhere in the lower middle class or higher, tend to be aspirational and well educated, it is likely that their worldview and concerns will be different to a Christian single mum with two three kids living on a sunk estate..
    Having lived in both rough and smooth areas of the country, I found that the most idealistic, socially inclusive multiculturally supportive Christians were the ones who had never lived in rough areas or deprived areas where cultural and social values were very different.
    Consequently they will vote for the party which most describes the country and economy they wish to belong to.

  • carl jacobs

    As with every other article Gillan Scott has written on the subject of Christians and politics, this article suffers from a singular fault – an overly broad definition of ‘ Christian’. A Christian is not properly defined as “Someone who claims to be a Christian.”

    • That’s a good point Carl. ‘Christian’ is often used in too vague a way when it comes to this sort of thing, but unless you ask people whether they have repented of their sins and declare Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour, it’s hard to get to the full truth of what Christians (in the literal sense) think and believe and how they act.

      • Inspector General

        Don’t worry about Carl’s definition of a Christian. His pass grade seems to be around 90%. More than we mortals can manage…

        • grutchyngfysch

          The Lord’s was 100% (Matthew 4:58), but that’s why even those of us down at the 10% mark are utterly dependent on His magnificent grace. Jesus is our 100%.

          • Dominic Stockford

            thank you, grutchynfzjfpaw;lmsf;

      • Martin

        Gillan

        You probably won’t even get a good view if you ask if they’ve been born again. However you mention Roman Catholics which immediately destroys your position.

  • Phil R

    All in the pic it seems condone murder of innocents as acceptable and would vote for it to continue tomorrow.

    As would Gillan I suspect.

    That is why they and he are not Christians.

    There is no such thing as a Christian vote in the UK because most Chruch leaders in the UK have no idea themselves what it is to be a Christian.

    • sarky

      And your twisted version of christianity is christianity how?

      • Phil R

        The one in the Bible “mate”

        • sarky

          The one in the bible. Well there’s the rub. Every christian reckons their faith is the one in the bible. Why is yours different?

          • sarky

            P.s. god doesn’t seem to have a problem with the murder of innocents. Hosea 13:16

          • The Explorer

            In that case, sarky, be relieved that you are not innocent.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            None are innocent and this is a punishment visited upon a nation for their sin, much like the one coming to our nation.

          • sarky

            Ok, so infanticide is ok if god does it. I really don’t like your god.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Seeing that God takes everyone’s life, it is hardly infanticide. Remember, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

          • sarky

            Like I said, I really don’t like your god.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Of course you don’t. In fact you hate God, that’s your problem.

          • sarky

            I can’t hate that in which I don’t believe.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Precisely, so you know God exists.

          • sarky

            Not getting into this with you again! !

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You will continue to hide from God.

          • sarky

            No, I will continue to not ‘believe’ in god.

          • Martin

            Since you already know God exists, you don’t believe God & you hide from Him.

          • sarky

            No, I’m most definately an atheist and I actually think that your zeal towards me is an outward expression of your own inner doubts. Come on Martin, free your mind the world is a wonderful without the constraints of an imaginary friend.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            On the contrary, since you know God exists you cannot be an Atheist, you just pretend to be such.

          • The Explorer

            As Carl says, there are those who call themselves Christians, but don’t believe in the Bible. The thought that their faith was the one in the Bible would appal them: as bad as saying that religion is about belief in God.

          • Phil R

            For a liberal Christian. The Bible is what ever you want it to be.

            For a liberal Christian. God is whatever you want him to be.

            For a liberal Christian. Evil is preferable to God

    • CliveM

      Just for clarity are you saying that Gillan isn’t a Christian?

      I noticed in regards a belief you attribute to him the word suspect, in which case you don’t know and have no right to judge.

      This post is simply based on prejudice.

      • Phil R

        Can you love God but hate little children so much you condone murder in the womb ?

        Liberal Christians love it seems what God hates. So …do they love God?

        • CliveM

          Again I point out you used the word ‘suspect’ with regards a view you attribute to him, but aren’t able to prove. If you could you wouldn’t have used that word.

          I think it’s called bearing false witness.

          • Phil R

            It is his post. He knows what we are writing here. He is free to refute. What does the silence tell you?

          • CliveM

            Absolutely nothing.

            However your refusal to acknowledge that your accusation is built on insinuation and not evidence says a lot.

          • Phil R

            See comment made to Carl above

          • CliveM

            I respect your comments to Carl, its honourable of you.

          • carl jacobs

            Clive is correct, Phil. You have no evidence for your accusation. You need more than “He supports abortion.” And that in itself is a supposition. I have never seen any evidence it is true.

          • Phil R

            I have looked through Gillan’s blog. It is incredibly difficult to find a definite view on anything which presumably why he is so interested in politics.

            This comment is interesting

            “When you see an unborn child through God’s eyes, you have to give it
            value and respect. There are more than enough good reasons to lower the
            abortion limit below 24 weeks, but even if that does happen sometime in
            the future it won’t solve any of the arguments. Only
            a realisation that the unborn child’s interests must always come first
            will do that”

            Unless he argues that the unborn child’s best interests are to be killed, then I will assume that he is anti abortion in all scenarios.

            So my comment is withdrawn and apology issued.

          • Just to say that I have a life away from this blog, which means I don’t always get time to read all of the comments. I’m not sure where you’re coming from Phil – I have absolutely no love at all for abortion. The routine murdering of innocent children is never justifiable.

        • sarky

          Like I pointed out below. Hosea 13:16

          • Phil R

            So what they were guilty.

            It is called corporate responsibility.

            It is reality

          • sarky

            So god sanctioned murder of kids is absolutely fine, but abortion is evil. Don’t be such a hypocrit.

          • Phil R

            Different context.

          • sarky

            Same outcome!!!

            There is no way you can say its any different. “Pregnant women being ripped open”, please explain the difference?

          • Phil R

            In the morning

          • Phil R

            If someone becomes a murderer, or a liar, a thief, an adulterer etc. It is very rarely the actions of that individual alone.

            What I am saying is that if an individual grows up where murder goes unpunished he may be more prone to murder. If he grows up where lying and thieving are normal he is more likely to lie and thieve. If he grows up where fidelity is not the norm he is more likely to be sexually unfaithful.

            People are a product of their communities. We like to think otherwise, but in reality a community is punished for the sins of an individual. Yes even today — think about it.

          • sarky

            Rubbish. You have just given the “Neurenberg defence”.
            The problem is you are trying to defend the indefensible. You are taking a faith position on abortion, yet this very faith condones the dashing of infants on rocks and the ripping off the unborn from the womb.
            As a ‘bible’ believing christian how can you not see the contradiction? Or are you like most christians, you just pick and choose the bits that fit your own worldview?

          • Phil R

            We will not escape the problems that society has or is storing up for us in the UK.

            Otherwise, can I pay less tax as a Christian as in the main Bible believing Christians have a lower level of divorce and do huge net contributors to the £42,000,000,000 plus annual cost of family breakdown in the UK

            No unfortunately we have a collective responsibility. Unfair I am sure you agree.

          • sarky

            How does any of what you have written refer to your contradictory stance on abortion?

          • Phil R

            I am just showing you (which you dismissed), that society pays a collective price for sinful behaviour.

            If you don’t like this try this one. God created these people, he is God, they are his to dispose of as he thinks fit.

            When we kill a defenseless child we are assuming the role of God.

            Therefore completely different. I prefer the argument that if one sins, everyone is affected and to some extent everyone is culpable for that sin.

          • sarky

            Still not an answer. You are ignoring that god condoned that which you are against.

          • Phil R

            God can. that is the point. Because he is God. We are not God so we cannot.

            BTW. It was a punishment/natural outcome of sin in the case of Hosea whereas it is a lifestyle choice for us today.

            There is really no comparison.

          • sarky

            There absolutely is and if you can’t see it you must be blind or choosing not to see.

          • Phil R

            Isn’t!

      • sarky

        To be fair, most of his posts are! !

      • Martin

        Clive

        Is there any evidence that Gillan is a Christian?

        • CliveM

          In the context of the discussion I think this question absurd. So I’m not going to answer it.

          I will make a more general point however. If a person self identifies as Christian, in the absence of evidence to the contrary I will accept it.

          With regards who can be Christians, I have found Christians in all denominations, whether it be Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Orthodox or Prespyterian. It may even be that there is a Calvinist Christian out there as well. Who am I to say.

          • carl jacobs

            It may even be that there is a Calvinist Christian out there as well.

            Et tu, Brute?

          • CliveM

            Apologies Carl in my irritation I forgot!!

          • Martin

            Clive

            The question has to be asked, to whom do you preach the gospel? Many a time I’ve met someone who claims to be a Christian but during conversation I’ve felt uncomfortable about their claim to be a Christian. Of course the opposite is also true. If someone is a member of an organisation that clearly does not have a biblical basis of faith, why are they still in that organisation?

            It is a question that MUST be asked.

          • CliveM

            I don’t suppose you remember telling people (pre disqus days) that you don’t preach? You didn’t feel that’s where your talents lay. So why are you asking me?

            Likewise I am not going to ask others on this forum do they preach (it is not a question I have to ask), neither am I going to ask them for a statement of faith before I decide if I believe they are Christian or not.

          • Martin

            Clive

            I distinguish between preaching, as in standing in the pulpit & teaching, and preaching the gospel, which is what every Christian should be doing.

            You don’t usually need to ask for a statement of faith, it usually comes out sooner or later.

  • Inspector General

    What! No mention of the new ‘Women’s Equality Party’, founded and apparently headed up by professionally unfunny malcontented porker Sandi Toksvig. Going to be a great presence in Anglican ladies circles, one fears. Amazingly, there are some men on board too. Willing emasculees, no doubt.

    • CliveM

      I wonder if they’ll have all men short lists to ensure diversity?!!

      • dannybhoy

        Or even all short men lists..

        • CliveM

          :0)

          • dannybhoy

            I think I’d qualify. I can bearly see over the top of my wellingtons..

          • CliveM

            Oh well you can’t all be 6 foot 2, Greek God like me.

            Ahem……….,,,.,.!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • dannybhoy

            (Muffled but damnably attractive mail voice)
            Wot?
            Can’t hear yer.
            Me socks are covering my lugs..

          • CliveM

            Oh nothing, don’t worry!

          • Jesus Christ would be the male role model. He had and displayed all the attributes of maleness. Then there’s Saint Joseph and Saint Peter.

            When did military metaphors leave the Church? Remember the days of: “Onward Christian Soldiers”? When we would fight and die for the Church? What happened to talk of spiritual warfare? When did Jesus become “our friend” more than our God, Creator and Judge? When did it become improper to be men of action and talk of God’s ferociousness and instead talk and behave “pastorally”?

            Men are drawn more towards a religion that provides purchase for their intellects to grasp, distinguish, and, finally, submit to. We don’t like that is all touchy-feely in method and devoid of intellectual content. We’re more likely to place an accent on God’s transcendence as opposed to the the feminine accentuation on His immanence. Wimpish Christianity is not for men.

            For there is one religion that has no problem attracting and keeping male followers. Its wholly transcendent God doesn’t desire spiritual conjugality with His people. Its leaders don’t preach mercy, or celibacy, or strength through weakness; they do not have to contend with the paradox of the Cross. And the zealous adherents of Islam do not turn the other cheek.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for that Jack. I was hoping somebody would make the connection that our Lord embodies all the manly qualities, and to follow Jesus is to develop our own manliness.

          • blestsense

            It’s incredibly frustrating when people try to give authority to ideas that stem from social conditioning and cultural representations of masculinity that change with time by making them out to be ‘biblical truth’ because it suits whatever inegalitarian notions they favour. Who is to say your representation of masculinity is a one-size fits all, devoid of cultural bias and pre-conceptions? All of us see the world through a certain filter and we should have enough self-awareness to question whether these are always correct. Rather than regurgitate the world’s narrow and often suffocating expectations of masculinity (that often don’t leave room for the so-called ‘feminine’ attributes of vulnerability, humility and admitting to one’s errors; essential to the Christian faith) we should question how these patriarchal norms are actually keeping men out of the church, challenge them and offer a different narrative.
            Plus the insinuation that to engage one’s intellect is a primarily masculine preoccupation is insulting to say the least. The problem is that society’s expectations of men and women are different and people react to and often reinforce these expectations and the stereotypes they engender, rather than they being biologically pre-determined. I’m not saying there’s no place for the innate but I think we attribute a lot more to biology to justify socialised gender ‘roles’ than might actually be true. Unless we actually ask these questions and have a proper dialogue instead of trying to hold onto one’s (fragile?) sense of masculinity by repeating these generalisations, they’ll just continue to be perpetuated and it will do us no favours drawing men to church.

            And in regards to radicalised Islam, we’ve seen recently young women being drawn to it even when there seems to be nothing in it for them.

            Archbishop Cramer’s right of centre inclination clearly seems to attract people of like-mind. And I don’t know why the idea of Christianity and Socialism going hand in hand should he ‘outdated’. Just look at the early church in Acts. And ask the 100 or so people who joined Christians on the Left within weeks of the general election.

            Shalom x

      • Busy Mum

        Two grammar schools near me share a chaplain – a chaplainess rather. The boys’ school says a female chaplain is essential to demonstrate gender parity to the boys. The girls’ school says a female chaplain is necessary as a positive role model for the girls. In other words, for the post of school chaplain, only women need apply…. in the name of equality! And nearly 2000 11-18 year olds who have passed the 11+ swallow this….not to mention the staff!

        • CliveM

          And how many times do we hear that boys lack positive male role models? Particularly in education (although primary is worse).

          • Busy Mum

            I am sure there is a de facto law forbidding positive male role models. The only male role models that are actively promoted always feature at least one of the ‘protected’ identities…..

          • CliveM

            We’ll certainly positive, male, white heterosexual role models.

          • Busy Mum

            Exactly – the only white male heterosexual role model we have had lately is a paralympic sportsman, so he ticked the box for ‘disability’ under the Equality Act.

          • CliveM

            I have nothing against this individual being a role model. He is probably a good role model. Indeed I think he deserves the respect of being treated for his worth and not because he ticks a diversity box.

          • Busy Mum

            Yes, but it’s all unrealistic aspirations, and achievements which are celebrated out of all proportion to what they actually contribute to society. I would far rather that the children got to meet, for example, a man in the village who has struggled with internal injury ever since a road accident but he takes himself to work, day in, day out, as a painter/decorator.

          • sarky

            Rather have my kids shoot for the stars 🙂

          • Busy Mum

            I hope you are honest enough to tell them they have barely a one in a million chance of hitting….

          • CliveM

            Busy Mum

            Even if a child can’t become a great scientist (say), to be inspired by a great Scientist to become an average one can still be worthwhile.

            The purpose of a role model isn’t so the child becomes the role model, it is to inspire the child to do or be better then they would have been without them.

          • Busy Mum

            That is certainly the purpose but is it fulfilled? There are so many role models actively promoted in schools, one would have thought this generation would be as near perfect as possible!
            I do not agree with proactively promoting individuals as role models; the craze for doing this assumes all children will be inspired by the same people and it takes a very brave child to say that they actually didn’t find anything amazing about the person whose praises had been sung that morning in assembly.(Was much simpler when assembly was about praising God and no other…)
            Because, of course, it is just another session of telling the children what to think…if the govt/school/teacher says this person is amazing, then they must be amazing and of course, vice versa….no dissent allowed!

          • sarky

            At least they are aware of that chance. ..

          • dannybhoy
          • CliveM

            Oh dear, where were his parents. Deeply, deeply depressing.

          • dannybhoy

            Jonny Wilkinson!

        • dannybhoy

          I wonder if this gender equality stuff is (deliberately) responsible for the increased feminisation of men.
          I consider myself to be a gentle sensitive fellow -in a boisterous and loud sort of way.
          Yet the amount of hugging and hair gel type tearfulness one now sees is a bit off putting..
          Boys need real male role models to emulate. Not louts or oafs mind you, but ‘chappish’ types.

          • Inspector General

            I say Danny, the Inspector needs hair gel to keep his full head of grey black hair in order. Thought you should know this. Might add, one never gets tearful over it…

          • dannybhoy

            I had you down as a baldy man..

          • Inspector General

            Your man here is of the Irish…

          • dannybhoy

            Confession is good for the soul Sir.
            You could get counselling..

          • Inspector General

            You know the Irish. The fellows who brought Christianity to you pagans…

          • dannybhoy

            (Adjusts wellingtons, sticks out tongue, and launches into own version of RiverDance finale…)

          • Busy Mum

            I wonder too – in fact, I’m pretty sure; it’s clear as daylight in one of the current national curriculum books – There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Toilet by Louis Sachar. I went into school and complained about it.

          • CliveM

            Remember hair gel is only the up to date equivalent of Brylcreem!!

          • dannybhoy

            Lol!
            I used to apply that stuff to my golden locks at boarding school. ‘Hair jipper’ we called it. Jipper was our generic name for all things greasy or oily..
            Ewwwww!

          • Anton

            Rev Prof Leslie Francis found in a survey a decade or so ago that male Anglican ordinands were more effeminate than average and female ones were more masculine.

            Men won’t follow a woman, but women will follow a male leader.

          • dannybhoy

            Interesting.
            Are they more effeminate in the sense of ‘girly/cissy’ or gentle/quiet and perhaps lacking leadership qualities I wonder?
            I think the equality agenda is having the effect of de-masculinizing young men, and encouraging perhaps more passivity; or else a distorted more aggressive macho violent male persona that ends up abusing women and weaker men.
            Many of my generation admired the John Wayne personality type, even though we may have recognised the sometimes overly ‘tough guy’ image he projected. He was a man you could admire and a man you could follow. Whereas the Jimmy Cagney/George Raft types do not appeal to most ‘decent’ men.
            Jonny Wilkinson has many of the qualities that elicit admiration from both men and women -although the perfectionist ‘beat myself up’ trait causes concern. But a lovely bloke nevertheless.

            We have a lady curate in her middle years, of whom I am quite fond. She loves the Lord, she’s intelligent, she’s feminine and you want to encourage, support and even protect her.
            (It’s okay, my wife knows)
            I would support her in her leadership role because she listens to people, has nothing to prove, and (I think) likes being a woman…
            My relationship with our vicar who is quite blokish, is also good humoured and supportive in a blokish sort of way..

            You can’t push people into a mould, but I think if you’re unsure about your own gender identity it causes problems in your relationships with your own and the opposite sex.

          • dannybhoy

            Further to this post, I wonder what folk here would regard as the say, six qualities desirable in a good decent man?

          • Martin

            Danny

            The answer is to grow a beard & let it run riot, no fancy trimming!

          • dannybhoy

            What!
            The outer man is more important than the inner?
            This cannot be..
            No one can help their basic physical appearance.
            (John Wayne never wore a beard…)

          • Martin

            Danny

            John Wayne was an actor.

            And the outer gives an indication of the inner. If you don’t scrape your face with a rusty blade to look like a woman …..

          • petej

            Certainly in my workplace women are paid less than men for doing the same

            I don’t think hugging is a particularly female quality(?!) In fact the bible encourages all of us to greet each other with a holy kiss. I think maybe what has happend is that our culture has become less emmotionally restrained.

          • A DIX

            Exactly. What is happening to the male ID in our society? The heavy industries that once employed nearly all men in our society – almost all gone.

            The push for women bishops: another Synod vote forcing the issue almost a year after the original in November 2012.

            Our worship songs sounding as, almost, ‘love songs to Jesus’ – no disrespect to worship group leaders & members here – one hears little of, eg, ‘Arise, arise good Christian men’.

            The change to the rules of succession to the crown when the OT makes it clear that a male should always be the first to succeed to a title (as our Christian Constitution is based on the WHOLE Bible, not just the NT, that the Queen signed up to at her Coronation).

            I rest my case.

  • Pubcrawler

    I suppose one can take comfort in the absence of George ‘Cat* in the Hat’ Galloway in that photo montage.

    *Or something that rhymes with it

  • CliveM

    It would be interesting to know if there was also a breakdown by age and if so what it is.

  • Martin

    Gillan

    So how do you know who is a Christian? It’s quite clear that self identification is an inadequate tool for discerning, indeed Jesus pointed out that many who may think they are Christians are not. Indeed, I would classify neither Theos nor Tear Fund as Christian organisations.

    Certainly I doubt that the Climate Coalition is made up of Christians organisations, simply because Christians would have better things to do with their time than worry about pseudo science, and my views on the church of Rome are well known here.

    All in all I suspect that real Christians despair of the political parties and vote for a) a good candidate sympathetic to their views, or b) vote for whoever they think will do the least damage.

  • SidneyCordle

    If only the Christian Peoples Alliance had candidates in every seat. Then you would find out truly how many Christians care abut marriage, abortion, persecuted Christians and the poor. The fact is these issues were not on the political agenda in this General Election because CPA did not have enough candidates and Christians couldn’t vote for them not because they didn’t want to.

  • CliveM

    I noticed today in a report that over 65’s voted 47% in the GE for Conservative as opposed to 25% Labour (it was pretty much reversed for under 25’s, but they are much less likely to vote). Is this partly what we are seeing here. Is this a religious trend or a generational trend (understanding that over 65’s are more likely to identify themselves as Christian)?