Church of England Bishops try to counter Russell Brand appeal

Church of England bishops have decided to engage in politics in a bid to counter the “sex appeal” of comedian Russell Brand, who is encouraging young people not to bother voting.

They warned that people “feel detached” from politics, calling for a “fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be”.

In a pastoral letter, the first of its kind delivered ahead of a general election, the House of Bishops urged people to visit the polling booths in the UK on May 7, stating it was the “duty” of every Christian adult to vote.

It said that “worrying and unfamiliar trends” were appearing in our national life, adding there was a “growing appetite to exploit grievances, find scapegoats and create barriers between people and nations”.

Bishop of Norwich Graham Jame said it was intended to “counter” arguments that people should not engage with politics and vote.

“I think we hope that this will animate Christians to engage in politics. What we want them to do is to engage in the political processes.

“We’re conscious that there are a number of voices around, probably the most famous of which is Russell Brand, telling people that they shouldn’t bother with voting and shouldn’t bother to exercise their hard-won democratic freedoms.

“I’m conscious just going around some of our youth groups and speaking to youth leaders that that has had a more profound effect than I had anticipated.

“And while one may think that the bishops of the Church of England don’t quite have the sex appeal of Russell Brand, we think that we should counter it.”

The 52-page letter touches upon a wide range of topics including the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent, Britain’s relationship with the EU and the concept of the living wage.

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