Evangelicals and the Conservative Party in the UK Election
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:35:54 AM EST
As the British General Election approaches, several articles have explored links between evangelical Christians and the Conservative Party. The Conservative Christian Fellowship is increasingly prominent, and one MP works with a lobbying organisation that in turn receives support for the Alliance Defense Fund. There is also a think-tank which has played a significant role in Conservative policy-making, and its head, who is also running for election, is revealed in today's Observer as regarding homosexuality in terms of "demonic activity".

A February report in the Financial Times sets the scene:

A Conservative MP was stage-whispering in the leathery, dark Pugin Room of the House of Commons late last year. With a view of the Thames, teacup in hand, he hissed at me: "They've campaigned to change the processes so that they can bus in their voters, stuffing the selection meetings with their people. They don't outnumber us, but they can out-organise us. They're taking over the party."

"They" are evangelical Christians.

Today's Observer has further details:
Lowering the abortion limit is one of the key aims of [Nadine] Dorries [MP] who, as the New Statesman discovered, has received support and briefings from Christian Concern For Our Nation. The little known but well organised group claims it "exists to serve the Church by providing information to enable Christians to stand up publicly against a tide of unchristian legal and political changes in the United Kingdom". Accounts reveal it received more than £265,000 in gifts and donations last year.

Its sister organisation, the Christian Legal Centre... runs a number of initiatives with the Alliance Defence Fund, a hugely powerful US Christian group... One of the ADF's biggest donors is Erik Prinze, founder of the highly controversial US private security firm, Blackwater, now the subject of lawsuits over the actions of its employees in Iraq.

Earlier this year, CLC and ADF supporters met at Exeter College, Oxford, to discuss how British Christians could answer the "call of today's worshipful warrior".

As I noted here, links between Dorries (who has been described as "the UK's Michelle Bachmann") and CCFON were first noted by a British television documentaty in 2008; Sunny Hundal, who wrote the New Stateman article, provided more information about Dorries' anti-abortion views here. I wrote a blog entry about the ADF's recent visit to Britain here.

The Observer also highlights an electoral candidate, Philippa Stroud, who heads the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), which claims to have formulated 70 Conservative policies. Her husband David Stroud is a minister at a neo-Pentecostal Newfrontiers (written as "New Frontiers" by the paper; this was an older branding) church. She appears to subscribe to "spiritual warfare" beliefs:

Stroud wrote a book, God's Heart for the Poor, in which she explains how to deal with people showing signs of "demonic activity". Stroud, who declined to talk to the Observer, writes: "I'd say the bottom line is to remember your spiritual authority as a child of God. He is so much more powerful than anything else!"

The paper features quotes from ex-members of the church which suggest that she applied this belief to homosexuality. The article on Stroud also says that Newfrontiers is "allied to the US evangelical movement", which is so vague as to be meaningless - evangelicals and neo-Pentecostals see themselves as belonging to a broad transnational movement, so of course there are US links, but the Newfrontiers grouping was founded by a British Christian, Terry Virgo, and emerged from trends within British Christianity (particularly house churches). However, the specific US links are interesting: the grouping apparently received an endorsement from Paul Cain, one of the controversial and authoritarian "Kansas City Prophets". Mark Driscoll (whom I blogged here) has also spoken at Newfrontiers events. Virgo regards the grouping as "apostolic", although there are no obvious links with the US "New Apostolic" movement.

Stroud's election fund has received a donation from Michael Farmer, a businessman. The Observer profiles Farmer and another Christian businessman named Ken Costa, although the paper unfortunately sensationalises the subject by claiming that they are "secret donors" when their donations and their support for the party are in fact completely out in the open (and not particularly controversial).

Sunny Hundal's New Stateman piece includes a quote from Dorries:

"Historically, there have been splits in the Conservative Party over religion. But the vast majority of the new MPs will be social Conservatives who have similar opinions to myself," Nadine Dorries tells the New Statesman. "I can think of half a dozen Conservatives that don't agree with me, but they're leaving at the next election - people like Andrew MacKay and David Curry. The new MPs that are coming in are all social Conservatives - people like Fiona Bruce, Philippa Stroud, Louise Bagshawe."

He adds:

...It may be hard to believe that Britain will turn into Jesus-land, but social attitudes are always in flux. And developing a sense of victimhood is an essential part of the religious right's strategy to fire up its base. After all, it has been used to great effect in the US.
Sunny has more thoughts here.

Well it sounds like the New Apolostic Reformation (NAR) is making some progress in England.  

They seem to be moving right along with their plans to take over the world lol.  
Become a zoned out, uptight puppet, watch Fox so-called News.
by Rick Lester on Mon May 03, 2010 at 06:56:25 AM EST

Election Day is the day wherein a person can fully have the right to choose who he really wants to be the leader of a country that would lead it to progress. Obama  has been chosen as a president of United States several years later from its election and he has already passed a health care law. The Health Care Reform Bill is under attack once again. The American Spectator, a conservative political journal, discovered that the Health Care Reform Bill might actually be horrible to the American tax payers. Just before they could publish their results they were squashed. It appears more and more like we are hearing that many Americans are against this bill. If the people are in opposition to this why does it seem to be getting through? I question why the press is one-sided and only typically shows one side of the argument. You have to search hard to get all aspects of the bill, so in case you are researching this bill I wish you luck!

by Lyndsey on Tue May 04, 2010 at 05:19:23 AM EST
How shocking that the American Spectator, a conservative political journal (i.e., against President Obama), is against the Health Care Reform Law!  And their "research results" were "squashed", huh?  Downright conspiratorial.

"Horrible" for American tax payers. . . hmmm.  Does it occur that the reason that many Americans - 53% of the electorate - specifically elected President Obama because they believed in his agenda - which always included health care reform?

I do not believe that "so many are in opposition" to health care reform on its face.  I believe they are a relatively few in terms of those who don't believe that health care is a moral imperative for all Americans, but they have loud mouthpieces.  Many of us were disappointed that the bill did not go far enough, and our disappointment showed up in polls, too, although for completely different reasons.

by Austin on Tue May 04, 2010 at 11:32:00 AM EST

I can tell you why the news is one-sided.  It's simple, almost all of the TV, newspapers and magazines are owned by the mega corporations.  

The very rich have an agenda, namely to serve their own self interest, which means the Republican Party, which is in the business of serving the wealthy and s(expletive deleted)ing the rest of us.  

The very best example of this is Fox News.  Who owns Fox News - billionaire Rupert Murdock.  Guess what he wants his network's agenda to be?
Become a zoned out, uptight puppet, watch Fox so-called News.
by Rick Lester on Tue May 04, 2010 at 01:02:37 PM EST

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