Mansfield vicar backs Church of England letter encouraging people to vote

Rev Keith Hebden has been refused permission to erect a security fence around his property to prevent syringes being thrown onto his garden
Rev Keith Hebden has been refused permission to erect a security fence around his property to prevent syringes being thrown onto his garden
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An outspoken clergyman in Mansfield has backed a controversial open letter from the Church of England urging people to vote in the upcoming General Election.

The letter, penned by the House of Bishops, said politicians need to deliver a ‘fresh moral vision’ and said it was every Christian’s duty to go to the polls.

Rev Keith Hebden, vicar at St Mark’s in Nottingham Road, said: “The church is great at social care but needs to use that integrity to shout about social justice.

“We’re great at pulling drowning people out of the river but not so good at going upstream to see who’s pushing them in.

“This is a welcome intervention from the Bishops who will have their ear to what is happening in parishes as we try and engage with the terrible consequence of austerity.

“This includes low wages, evictions, increased violence against minorities and disabled people, increased suicides, hunger and more are all taking place against the backdrop of a greedy minority who get wealthier every year. Jesus was all about politics and the church should be all about Jesus.”

The 52-page document, which is an unprecedented intervention by the church, covers the economy, Europe and defence.

The letter has been welcomed by PM David Cameron but has been criticised by others with one Tory MP describing it as ‘naive’ and others saying it was a left-wing document and an attack on the coalition Government.