Jesus and the Greens

“…for those who are disillusioned with the mainstream parties and looking for a fresh political vision, going Green on May 7th would be a profound delusion.”

So Gillan Scott writes in his Archbishop Cranmer blog.

When I read through the post, with its undertone that no true Christians would vote for the Green Party, never mind join, I wondered if I had indigestion. No – actually, it was a bowel-ward fire of indignation. Reading certain comments only added to the acid reflux.

The kind of thinking that informs this post and subsequent comments reduces Christianity to a tiny corner of life. A sort of holy box wherein only certain things must go and dissent must be checked at the lid.

Inside the box we have sexuality, right to life, and criticism of the nation state of Israel. Any other subject is an ideological free-for-all.

Any non-Christian observer inspecting this box might well assume that sex is the root of all kinds of evil and money is the root of all kinds of good.

I would like to set the record straight.

My dangerous journey in mixing faith and politics began with a book on theological economics; a dazzling work called ‘Root of All Evil?’ by Antonia Swinson. (A book strongly endorsed, I might add, by Keith Tondeur and Kevin Cahill.) The question the author asked was: “What has the Bible got to say about economics?”

I was expecting a treatise on personal spending, but what I read went so much further than that. The author examined the rules on finance and ownership in the Torah and asked – if we applied those same principles today; what would our economic policy look like?

Her conclusions stayed with me ever since.

The more I discovered about the Green Party, the more I realised that I might finally have found a political home for my theological conclusions. A party that has dared to paint a picture of world where our economy isn’t based on crippling personal debt; where the creation of money is democratised; where true economic equality is feasible; where the playing field for all people is level. I think I’d call it – not the American Dream, but the Mosaic Dream.

I believe that the love of money is indeed the root of all kinds of evil. As it’s a subject that’s one of the most important to Jesus, it’s one of the most important to me. And one of the key subjects that has informed my choice of party. This, alongside such wonderful ideas as:

  • Devolving and spreading out power as much as possible to the people, so that it corrupts as little as possible;
  • Prioritising creation care and preventing animal cruelty;
  • Reuniting families torn apart by visa rules that prevent spouses from joining their children;
  • A refreshing focus on what is best for people rather than best for GDP, which would – for example – allow parents to spend more time with their kids instead of being pushed out to work;
  • Having the teaching curriculum set by teachers rather than by government, giving educators the freedom to teach in the way they see fit, treating children as whole individuals rather than units of economic production.

Those are all things – along with prayer, advice and careful thought – that prompted me to stand as the Green Party’s candidate for the wonderful constituency of West Ham.

So, I encourage any Christian to decide who to vote for based on that party’s policies, and not on the demographics of their candidates.

 Rachel Collinson is the Green Party candidate for West Ham. FInd out more about her here.