25 April 2005 — The launch, in London’s most deprived community, Canning Town, in the London Borough of Newham, came as other Christians in the main political parties, criticised the idea of a “Christian” political party.
The Lib Dem Christian Forum – the Christian grouping within the Liberal Democrats – suggested in a document produced for the election that such a party would be ineffective, ran the risk of marginalizing Christians and did not take account of the fact that Christians disagreed on political issues.
In so doing it echoed sentiments previously expressed by other similar groups including the Conservative Christian Fellowship and Christian Socialist Movement.
However, the Christian Party’s manifesto; “Life, Truth, Compassion” is rooted directly in the priorities for the General Election set out in statements by Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops and evangelical leaders.
The party says it is “intended as a radical statement of Christian social teaching in the European tradition of Christian Democracy.”
Some Christians will question how radical it actually is, being based on the teachings of institutional churches who have been previously criticised for endorsing systems and values which it has been suggested are at odds with the gospel.
Like Catholic bishops in their guidance for voters, the manifesto has singled out as a policy the defence of ‘traditional’ family structures, rather than focusing on their function and allowing for diversity.
“This is unashamedly a Manifesto for Marriage and families”, local CPA Councillor and CPA leader Alan Craig said. The document’s emphasis on tax and benefits measures for married families, he says, is a distinctive and vital response to the collapse of stable social networks in Britain today.
The CPA sets out 5 Priorities for Government; “Stable marriages”, “Moral values in schools”, ” an uncompromising pro-life ethic”, “Making Poverty History for Everyone” and “Compassion for Refugees”. It also urges that Christianity be recognised in the European Constitution.
However, like many church contributions, its focus may be seen as mediating the effects of existing policies rather than urging radical reform and change. It stops short of promotion of non-violent alternatives to military action, and easing of immigration controls. It urges instead a greater military role for the UN, and faster ‘more compassionate’ immigration and asylum systems with better security at ports.
CPA website: http://www.cpaparty.net [formerly: http://www.cpalliance.net – 09.09.2016]
© 2005 Ekklesia. Posted on Religioscope with permission. An initiative of the Anvil Trust, Ekklesia is a not-for-profit think-tank which works to promote theological ideas in the public square. Website: www.ekklesia.co.uk