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Lack of suitable candidates for Christian voters could see election turnout plunge even further

Letter of the day: poll fears

In preparation for the election on March 2, the media has given a voice to the views of all those who are seeking election. They have, however, given little voice to one of the largest section of the voting populace: non-voters.

Voices have been expressed in the Press from individuals and groups "urging evangelical Christians to vote for those candidates who will make the honour of God their priority". They cite the danger of amending the abortion legalisation and the prospect of legalising same-sex marriage.

The religion correspondent, Alf McCreary (Saturday Review, Feb 25), rightly reminds us that there is much more to Christian values than both abortion and same-sex marriage and admits he will vote "with a heavy heart". The Moderator, Dr Frank Sellar, urges Presbyterians to "approach the upcoming election prayerfully and to vote".

Christians who are pro-Union and have an enlightened conscience are facing a dilemma. They want to honour their responsibility to vote and also honour God in their choice.

For many from the unionist tradition, the dilemma is stark. Their Christian conscience has been challenged, not just by issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, but by the association of unionism with paramilitaries. For example, feeding the crocodile of paramilitarism under the guise of 'community workers'. This doesn't sit well with the enlightened Christian conscience.

It is, for many, difficult to find a unionist party, or individual, who not only opposes new abortion legislation and same sex-marriage, but also has no truck whatsoever with paramilitaries.

In the past, they have "held their nose" and voted negatively to keep the others out, but many are tired of this.

How does the enlightened Christian conscience of the pro-Union voter cope with this dilemma? As the voting paper does not allow one to vote for 'none of the above', some will exercise their responsibility by spoiling their ballot.

Others will, no doubt, be joining the non-voters.

REV BRIAN KENNAWAY

Retired Presbyterian minister

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