“Spiritual influence” and democracy

July 2024 Forums General discussion “Spiritual influence” and democracy

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    Fom today's Times:


    Influencing voters is illegal, judge tells priests and imams

    Dominic Kennedy, Investigations Editor

    Religious leaders were told by a judge yesterday that it was unlawful to instruct their followers to vote for particular candidates in an election.

    Richard Mawrey, QC, an election commissioner, said that priests and imams could be committing the 19th-century offence of "spiritual influence" if they told their supporters it was forbidden to vote for a certain candidate.

    Mr Mawrey, a High Court deputy judge, gave the warning as the case opened against Lutfur Rahman, the mayor of the London borough of Tower Hamlets, who is accused of winning re-election last year by telling Muslims that it was their religious duty to vote for him. Mr Rahman is fighting all allegations against him.

    Spiritual influence in elections was last alleged in a British court against Irish Catholic clergy in Victorian times. They were accused of ordering their rural parishioners to vote for candidates sympathetic to Home Rule.

    I would have thought that Catholic priests have never stopped doing this, telling their flocks not to vote for candidates who favour contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc to this day.

    Obviously we don't like priests telling workers how to vote, but isn't making this a criminal offence against the principles of democracy? Once you start making it illegal for people to tell others how to vote, where does it stop? It's like the slippery slope those who shout "No Platform" want us to venture on to.

    Let priests and imans issue their calls on how to vote. And let us denounce and oppose them.


    Again it looks like to me an obscure law being resurrected for nefarious political purposes. What is the actual act that forbids it? Does it say? i can't see it specifically mentioning imams in the edict. Just how do those C of E bishops in the House of Lords stand then? One law for the established religion…another for the others.Wouldn't it also forbid members of the clergy from actually being candidates?And what about that political party…the Christian Alliance or whatever it is called?A slippery slope and i agree a ban on political discussion would be extended eventually to teachers and university staff…then medical professions …until anybody with any influence or authority are excluded. Well worth a press release from ourselves (and our candidates) being released in defence of political liberty. 

    sarda karaniwan

     What opiates the mind of the masses.sardaan Ordinarian



    Church of England leaders are set to urge members to take an active role in May's general election. In a letter to be released later, the House of Bishops is expected to call for debate on issues such as inequality and Britain's place in the world. It is expected to back the concept of a living wage and urge political parties to avoid scapegoating groups such as immigrants and those on benefits. The letter is the first of its kind to be issued by the Church.

    The get out clause is that they claim it is not party political and do not endorse a specific party….but it does exclude certain choices based on party manifestoes, doesn't it? 

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