I was thinking about wrapping up my series on what annoys me about some of the parties in the forthcoming election with a general blog about some of the minor parties, but have decided firstly that the Scottish Christian Party (or simply the Christian Party south of the border) and secondly that there are a few things that annoy me about the SNP.
The latter later, but first… things that annoy me about the Scottish Christian Party.
Led by the former gay anthem producer George Hargreaves, the party claims it is “proclaiming Christ’s lordship” and is standing on a pretty right-wing, fundamentalist policy platform. I’ll not bother dissecting their policies right now, but instead focus on two major problems.
Firstly, they belong to the school of thought within Christianity that assumes that following the faith automatically correlates with particular views on ethical and moral matters such as religion in society and schools, abortion, homosexuality, and so on – all things which are in a way beyond politics and very much matters for individual consciences. Of course, other Christian standpoints on these sorts of issues are available, but the way that parties like this hijack the word “Christian” is arrogant and presumptuous, and creates a dangerous lingering association in the minds of non-Christians who are aware of their campaign.
Secondly, they have – in Inverness, at least – been playing a terribly cynical game with their posters. I noticed at church yesterday they had a number of posters on the streets around the building, and heard that it was the same in another church in town. Now I think about it, a number of churches in the city centre have their posters planted nearby. I am sure it is not with the blessing of the churches, who are all trying to play an impartial role in ensuring their membership gets involved and aware in the election.
Now, my particular problem isn’t that they seem to be targetting the church-going vote specifically; it’s quite understandable. My main issues lies, again, in the perceptions of non-Christians, who may associate those posters with those specific churches nearby, and think that somehow they are connected or that the churches in question endorse the party. This then by default suggests the churches are party political or have official doctrines lying in the same particular right-wing tranche of Christian thought as the Christian Party.
That is mischevious at best and deeply manipulative at worst, both harming the public’s perception of Christianity, and also offending those Christians who might not take the same political outlook on such big issues.
So in short, I find them a deeply disturbing party, and that’s even without beginning to discuss their policies.
The election is in four days now. I can’t wait…