Why did I join the Green Party?

Posted on August 25, 2009 at 10:10 pm,

Having said in my last post that there is no party that entirely reflects Christian values, that raises the question of why I chose to join the Green Party. The answer lies not in policies, which change over time, but in values, which tend to be stable for much longer.

Of the six national parties with enough support to obtain Euro MPs, there are two that I consider to be particularly in conflict with Christian values. The first is the BNP – who are both racist and fascist. Their whole ethos is direct conflict with the core of the gospel. The second is UKIP. Whilst their central policy is an issue which is morally neutral, the party seems to be dominated by those with a “little Englander” mentality.

Of the remaining four parties, the Green Party’s values seem to me to match Biblical values a bit more than the other parties. They also match my political instincts, which may well colour my judgement.

So what are the values which attracted me to the Green Party?

Ecological Wisdom

The first, and most distinctive, of these values is the party’s commitment to the environment. Whilst Labour and the Tories talk about this issue a lot and the Lib Dems have a few good environmental policies, the Greens are the only party which considers how we treat the Earth as an issue of first importance. This is particularly important as we live in an era where climate change is one of the biggest dangers to the future of human civilisation.

This commitment to the environment is very close to the Bible’s teaching about how we are to relate to the rest of creation – we are to be good stewards of it, and practise what is increasingly being called “creation care”.

Social Justice

The Greens are strongly committed to the cause of the poor, both in this country, and globally. Unlike Labour, whose current leadership has downplayed its socialist roots (which, incidentally, largely lie in Christian Socialism), the Greens still put the welfare of the poor as a matter of high priority.

This commitment is, of course, a major theme of the Bible. If you don’t think that God hates injustice and oppression of the poor, then you either haven’t read the Bible or haven’t understood it.

Long-Term Perspective

The Greens are the only major UK party whose policies plan for the long term. The big three parties are particularly guilty of not doing this. Their policies, when they actually have any, seem to be driven primarily by short-term factors – being geared towards the next election, or making a splash in the press. The Greens may not take as long-term a perspective as God does, but they certainly aren’t as short-sighted as the other parties.

Nonviolence

The Green Party is committed to non-violent solutions to conflicts. Whilst I believe that some wars (such as World War 2) are a necessary evil, I believe that this approach to conflict fits far better with what Jesus taught (turn the other cheek, bless those who curse you, etc.) than the pro-war stances that Labour, the Tories and, to a lesser extent, the Lib Dems have taken over the last couple of decades.

Grassroots Democracy

Unlike the big three parties, the Greens are run from the bottom up. There isn’t central vetting of the activities or decisions of local parties, which means there are more opportunities to get involved at a practical level, and that local candidates actually have roots in the communities they seek to represent. It also means that the leaders aren’t behaving like the rulers that Jesus condemned in Luke 22:25, and imposing their leadership on the membership.

Focus on Community

The Greens are big on the value of community when it comes to economics. The major parties all agree that particular economic indicators (particularly economic growth) are the main measure of a successful country. The Greens, however, take a wider view, considering non-economic factors to be equally important. Society is viewed from a holistic viewpoint and not primarily in terms of how much money it produces.

Overall Values

Whilst there are certainly factions within each of the big three parties that tend towards most of these values (the Compassionate Conservatives in the Tory Party, the grassroots socialists in the Labour Party, and the Social Democratic wing of the Lib Dems), I believe that the Green Party reflects the Biblical view the most. There are areas where Greens tend not to be as much inline with Biblical values, and other areas where they don’t particularly stand out. However, in the 21st Century Western world, it is my belief that the values I have outlined are particularly important. The major challenges of our era demand this kind of approach to politics in order to find solutions. And that’s why I chose to join the Green Party rather than any of the others.

2 Comments

  1. Posted August 30, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Well done for nailing your colours to the mast!

    I think that the church does itself a dis-service by failing to get involved in society politically. Or at least individual christians. Here in the UK we have a rich tradition of non-conformist politics emanating from the churches, both in disobedience and obedience. Go back to The Peasant’s Revolt and the English Civil War and you find a rich tapestry of radical faith, sometimes orthodox, sometimes heretical!

  2. Stephen Gray
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Chris,

    I absolutely agree about the rich tradition of radical faith we have in this country. My biggest non-biblical hero is William Wilberforce, who pretty much embodies the political side of that tradition, I’d say that it goes back as far as the days of Celtic Christianity.

    God Bless,

    Stephen

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