March 30: Like Wilberforce, Christians must exert political influence

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From: Julie M Burton, Park Lane, Bishop Wilton, York.

IN response to recent questioning of senior bishops’ comments on matters of government and politics, it’s important for Christians to exert influence. After all, topics affecting laws, government and politics are part of the teaching of God’s word.

In our so-called economic growth, why are we seeing a 300 per cent increase in the use of food banks? Loneliness is the third biggest killer behind cancer and heart disease, and there is growth in homelessness and in my local hospital, one in ten hospital admissions are alcohol-related. Many workers are receiving a minimum wage, and many companies are offering zero contract hours.

The rich are 64 per cent richer and the poor are 57 per cent poorer, as revealed by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) which analysed the changing incomes and savings of thousands of people, making us a more fractured country. Poor families have struggled to make ends meet, their incomes eroded by low pay rises, above inflation rent increases and the benefit squeeze. As the Archbishops of Canterbury and York suggest, Christians do need to get involved in politics to address these problems in an ethical way.

William Wilberforce wanted to become a priest but also had a passion for politics. If he hadn’t made a trip to London, he would not have met a lady who said by the grace of God, do both. Then history would not have unfolded and the abolition of slavery would not have taken place.

From: Roy Simpson, Shorthill Croft, Beverley.

MR RF Heys of the Calderdale Lib Dems (The Yorkshire Post, March 25) says coalition government is a risky business with which I agree. He also implies that this coalition is working but who for?

Certainly not if you work in the NHS and had your meagre pay rise blocked, or if your child requires help from mental health professionals. Nor do you benefit from the ‘jam tomorrow’ tax changes if you are on or below the so-called minimum wage or on a zero-hours contract. If the election requires a coalition, let’s hope it is with a party that has, and sticks to, its principles.

From: Mr D Birch, Smithy Lane, Leeds.

I CAN’T believe we are sending another military force to keep the Falklands in our possession. What are they worth to the UK? It’s time that we had fuller discussion with Argentina over the future of the people and the Islands and the future of oil.