Faith in politics but less faith in politicians, say Church young people
23 October 2014
- Conference tickets for Under 25s are available
The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Baptist Union of
Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church
asked Christian young people about their attitudes to voting and
politics. The young people were clear - they cared about politics,
their faith had a major impact on how they voted - but they didn't
think their voices were heard or have faith that politicians would
deliver positive change.
The online survey was conducted in preparation for the JPIT
conference, 'Love Your Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote', where
Archbishop Justin Welby will be the keynote speaker. The aim of the
conference is to enthuse and equip Christians to be active in the
run up to the general election. 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
Research carried out by YouGov in April this year indicated
that of the 3.3 million young people entitled to vote for the first
time in next year's general election, 7 May 2015, 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
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," Andrew continued, adding: "I'm really
looking forward to the upcoming JPIT conference 'Love Your
Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote'... 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."
Tickets are available for Under 25s to attend the 'Love
your neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote' conference, and workshops
will cover issues that the survey revealed matter most to the young
people - including poverty and social justice.
Rachel Allison, who co-ordinated the survey and worked with JPIT
to help the team improve how churches talk about social justice to
young people, 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."
"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. When voting we want to know that our voice will be heard and
that our vote can make a difference. If you want to find out ways
in which you can speak to politicians and how your vote can make a
difference, don't miss the 'Love Your Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote'
The 'Love Your Neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote' conference takes
place, Saturday 21 February 2015, Coventry Central Hall. Under 25s
can register for tickets
1. The Joint Public Issues Team combines the expertise of the
Baptist Union, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church
in the area of public issues. The Team aims to enable our three
Churches to work together in living out the gospel of Christ in the
Church and in wider society. It aims to promote equality and
justice by influencing those in power and by energising and
supporting local congregations. www.jointpublicissues.org.uk
2. Further details of the survey can be found on the Joint Public
Issues Team blog