How Would Jesus Vote? General Election 2024

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,  to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." (Luke 4:18-19)

WWJD—What Would Jesus Do? I remember proudly wearing this acronym on wristbands and badges as a child. While I look back and cringe at my younger self’s fashion choices, including my ‘Jesus is my homeboy’ hoodie, I still find the phrase ‘What Would Jesus Do’ a really helpful compass for navigating many of my actions today.

As the general election draws closer I believe it’s paramount for Christians to look at what ‘WWJD’ means to them in the context of their vote. How can we have political values and make political choices shaped by Jesus?

Above all, as followers of Jesus we’re called to love. This means seeking good news for the poor, taking a stand against injustice and oppression, uplifting the voices of those on the margins, and caring for those in our society who are most vulnerable. So, when we look at the choices we have to make in this election, we must think of how we can use our votes to show God’s all inclusive and radical love in action.

Here are a few key issues to think about as we pray and discern how to vote in this election.:

Fighting for an end to Poverty

Latest government figures show that after housing costs 21% of people in the UK were in relative poverty in 2023/24 [1]. This includes 30% of children. These figures have increased steadily over the last decade due to a combination of welfare cuts, the pandemic and the rising costs of living, which have pushed individuals further into poverty. In the past 12 months the Trussell Trust has given out over 3.1 million emergency food parcels to people facing hardship in the UK [2].

As individuals made in the image of God, everyone should have the opportunity to flourish. Yet, for many poverty denies them the opportunity to realise their God-given potential. Throughout his life Jesus consistently advocated for the poorest in society and gave a voice to those on margins. How could we use our vote to create a society where the needs of the poorest and those on the margins are at the centre?

Tackling the climate crisis

We need climate solutions fast. The world is already experiencing average temperatures above the 1.5C threshold agreed by the Paris Agreement. Globally, it is the poorest countries, those which contribute the least to the climate crisis, that are suffering the most.

Despite the introduction of the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, the Climate Change Committee’s most recent report noted a lack of urgency amongst UK policymakers [3]. We need specific plans and public investment across society so the UK can reach its target of reducing carbon emissions by 90% by 2035.

Our interdependence with the rest of creation means that the flourishing of humanity is directly interwoven with the flourishing of all the earth. Yet, humanity has fallen short of God’s calling to love and care for creation, misusing the earth’s resources for our own gain. How can we use our vote to work towards climate justice and the renewing of our earth?

Being Peacemakers

As war and conflict continues across our world, this will be of central concern for the next UK government. With a prominent place on the world’s political stage the UK has a platform to speak out against human rights violations, war crimes and ethnic cleansing which is taking place in Palestine and beyond.

Working for peace globally extends to proactively working to ensure that everyone has access to essential food, water, healthcare, housing and education. After being cut during the Covid-19 pandemic, UK development aid stands at 0.5% of National Income, below the 0.7% UN target for spending on reducing global poverty. The government’s own Impact and Equality Assessment conducted last year concluded that these cuts to aid would result in thousands of deaths from hunger and poor healthcare [4].

As Christians we’re called to be peacemakers, following after the example set by Jesus, the Prince of Peace. How can we use our vote to promote peace and reconciliation across our world?

This election is an opportunity for Christians to put their faith in action. By focusing our eyes towards the character of Jesus and shaping our political decisions accordingly, we can contribute towards building a society which reflects the values found within Jesus teachings, creating a world where all can flourish and reach their God-given potential.

Written by Josie. Josie (she/her) is a final year Social Policy PhD student, researching the impact of the pandemic on Covid. Previously Josie worked with the Joint Public Issues Team, an organisation helping Churches to work together for peace and justice.