Moral fo­cus for Chris­tian vot­ers

Papakura Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - CHRIS HARROWELL

In the sec­ond story in our ‘Souls to the Polls’ se­ries, we look at what the lead­ers of South Auck­land’s re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties are do­ing to en­cour­age their faith­ful to vote in this year’s gen­eral election, on Septem­ber 23, and the po­lit­i­cal is­sues they’re fac­ing.

Vol­un­tary eu­thana­sia is one is­sue a church’s mem­bers will be asked to con­sider when vot­ing in the gen­eral election.

Manukau New Life Church pas­tor Stephen Miller says his con­gre­ga­tion will also ‘‘ab­so­lutely’’ be en­cour­aged to en­rol to vote and to cast a bal­lot on polling day.

‘‘We think if you don’t get out there and vote, and have your say, you don’t have the right to com­plain if you don’t like what hap­pens.

‘‘It’s a tremen­dous priv­i­lege to have a democ­racy. We al­ways en­cour­age our peo­ple to vote and we al­ways pray for our [coun­try’s] lead­ers, who­ever they are.’’

The moral is­sues church mem­bers will be asked to con­sider in­clude same-sex mar­riage and vol­un­tary eu­thana­sia, Miller says.

‘‘We look at the way each party voted in the past on these is­sues, as they will make our so­ci­ety a bet­ter or worse place. But we don’t tell peo­ple ‘you have to vote for this per­son or that per­son’.’’

Miller says about a week be­fore the election an an­nounce­ment will be made dur­ing a church ser­vice en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to vote.

Housing is the big­gest po­lit­i­cal is­sue faced by the church’s mem­bers, he says. ’’It’s huge. You’ve got young cou­ples who find it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to buy a house.

‘‘That’s a real bat­tle, and you get peo­ple who are rent­ing and [prices] have gone up and up and up and have got to be an un­bear­able level for them.’’

Politi­cians should con­sider what im­pact their poli­cies will have on fam­i­lies, he says.

‘‘Take Easter trading. It sounds like a busi­ness de­ci­sion, but it’s not, it’s a fam­ily de­ci­sion. Peo­ple want that time off, but now they have to go to work.

‘‘It puts pres­sure on fam­i­lies, just be­cause they’re [the Gov­ern­ment] try­ing to make more money in the econ­omy. Mar­riages break apart and chil­dren pay for it. Any time you break a fam­ily apart the so­cial cost is huge.’’

Go to elec­tions.org.nz to en­rol to vote or to check your en­rol­ment sta­tus.

CHRIS HARROWELL

Manukau New Life Church pas­tor Stephen Miller says mem­bers will be en­cour­aged to vote in this year’s gen­eral election.

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