March 25, 2010 / 4:21 PM / in 8 years

Church issues prayers for confused UK voters

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The Church of England has published prayers to help confused and cynical voters ahead of Britain’s upcoming election.

Britons are due to go to the polls this spring with many voters disenchanted after a parliamentary expenses scandal that saw lawmakers from all the main parties make excessive claims ranging from bath plugs to moat cleaning.

Voters also have to decide which party would be best to tackle the country’s record deficit.

The CoE, the Anglican mother church, has published a series of prayers which remind voters they can make a difference.

“(The prayers) ask that the concerns of all may be heard and seek protection from despair and cynicism,” the church said.

One says: “Thank you for caring about how our country is run, and that we have the right to vote for our politicians and government.” But it goes on to say: “Sometimes I wonder whether there’s any point in voting, whether anyone cares what I think.”

“Help me not to be cynical about politics and politicians, help me to remember that my vote can make a difference.”

Some ask for guidance to choose the party which can protect the poor and vulnerable and which will make “our nation a place of fairness and peace.”

Another urges that “truth may prevail over distortion, wisdom triumph over recklessness.”

Labour, which has been in power for the past 13 years is neck-and-neck with the main opposition Conservatives in opinion polls ahead of an election expected on May 6.

The church traditionally steers clear of politics, but it has found itself in conflict with various governments of different hue.

Most recently, it has opposed Labour’s plans to introduce an Equality Bill, while in late 2008, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams likened the government’s fiscal stimulus package to an “addict returning to a drug.”

A predecessor of Williams, Robert Runcie, had criticized the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, blaming her policies in the 1980s for high unemployment, which he said had created “despair about the future.”

Writing by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison

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