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Christian involvement in politics

Christian involvement in politics

Every time an election comes round, be it European, Westminster, local government or even for the Northern Ireland Assembly, Christians are encouraged to use their vote. However, is it possible to for us to be involved between elections? Well, at the Evangelical Alliance we believe that political engagement between elections is as important as voting itself. We hope this information will be helpful to you as you consider what this might mean to you.

For further information on how to engage please read Get Involved.

Who is my MP?

There are 18 Northern Ireland MPs at Westminster although those belonging to Sinn Fein do not take part in debates or committees in the House of Commons. Below is a list of MPs and their constituencies:

Surname, First name

Constituency

Campbell, Gregory (DU)

East L/Derry

Dodds, Nigel (DU)

Belfast North

Doherty, Pat (SF)

West Tyrone

Donaldson, Jeffrey M. (DU)

Lagan Valley

Durkan, Mark (SDLP)

Foyle

Gildernew, Michelle (SF)

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Hermon, Sylvia (Ind)

North Down

Long, Naomi (Alliance)

Belfast East

Maskey, Paul (SF)

Belfast West

McCrea, William (DU)

South Antrim

McDonnell, Alasdair (SDLP)

Belfast South

McGuinness, Martin (SF)

Mid Ulster

Murphy, Conor (SF)

Newry and Armagh

Paisley, Ian (DU)

North Antrim

Ritchie, Margaret (SDLP)

South Down

Shannon, Jim (DU)

Strangford

Simpson, David (DU)

Upper Bann

Wilson, Sammy (DU)

East Antrim

 

Write to your MP at: House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA.

Stay informed

It is important that we stay informed about what is going on in the world and have an understanding of the issues about which we are concerned. You may have heard it said that Christians should live their lives with a newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. As we gather news information from radio, television, and newspapers or through the internet we should be thinking about what the Bible might have to tell us. It is not necessary to be informed about every issue but some may attract your attention. You can find briefing material on a number of issues which you also might find useful. 

Get writing!

Writing a letter to your local MP or government minister can be an effective way of influencing those who govern us. Unfortunately Christians have a reputation of being negative and writing only when they have something to complain about! Campaigning also involves positive action. We must ensure that we write to thank, congratulate, endorse and encourage - not only to complain or to criticise. You may wish about some legislation that is going through Parliament or even a local issue that is important to you. Whatever the reason here are some helpful hints

  • Be Polite: Rude letters are counterproductive. Just one or two offensive letters can undermine the good that many well-argued letters may have achieved.
  • Keep it short: Politicians are busy people and long letters may not be read. Keep letters short and to the point, if possible only one side of A4.
  • Write personally: Pre-printed or standard letters are often ignored. It is far more effective to express your concerns in your own words. Letters can be handwritten or typed.
  • Be accurate: You do not need to be a genius to write to your MP but it is important to have accurate information and to express your concern as clearly as you can.
  • Also, be sure you send your letter to the right person at the right place!


Make a visit

The idea of visiting your local representative might seem daunting, but they are only human after all. You can arrange a visit by contacting the local constituency office of your MP. Contact us on 028 9029 2266 if you don't know the right address. You will need to book an appointment during the MP's surgery hours and the local office will be able to inform you of these arrangements.

Again, make sure you have all the relevant information to hand and that it's well arranged. If you decide to go as a small group decide if one person will act as spokesperson or if each will ask one or two questions. Bear in mind that you will have limited time - probably no more than half an hour. Therefore aim to make a few points well rather than many points badly.

After the meeting do remember to write to the MP thanking them for their time. Be persistent. Make sure you get responses to the questions or concerns that you express.

Keep praying

Above all please keep praying for all our politicians both in Northern Ireland and across the UK. Pray that they might make wise and just decisions, conduct their business with humility and integrity and that they will effectively represent their constituents.