The Bishops of The Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese) have issued a statement today as the European Elections on May 23 get ever closer.
A week out from the elections, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley and Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster together urge people to exercise their democratic right to vote; particularly to ensure ‘politicians who thrive not on building unity but on fostering division’ do not flourish due to a low turnout.
The Bishops say: “As the Anglican Bishops who serve Lancashire, we see it as our prime responsibility to pray for the people of our county and, especially at this time, to ask God to heal divisions and help us build stronger communities.
“We feel a particular call to pray as the nation prepares for the European elections.
“The people of Lancashire voted by a large majority to leave the European Union at the referendum in June 2016. They voted this way out of a sincere and heartfelt belief that this was in the best interests of our national life. We therefore understand those who feel frustrated at the current political deadlock and who may wish to express their frustration by withholding their vote at the forthcoming European elections.
“Nonetheless we would urge people to exercise their democratic right by turning out to vote on May 23rd. By voting, we honour those who in the past have made great sacrifices to preserve the democratic traditions of our nation.
“Moreover, we feel there is a danger that, when turnout is small, there is a benefit to politicians who thrive not on building unity but on fostering division and this would seriously impact the wellbeing of our local communities.
“We feel it a huge privilege to be serving this wonderful, diverse and beautiful County in Christ’s name. We pray that our elected representatives may soon find a way out of the current deadlock so that we can focus afresh on building a County and a country where all can thrive.”