The chief executive of a leading evangelical charity has delivered an embarrassing public rebuke to MPs, including the chair of Christians in Parliament, and said that the government could have taken moral leadership over Trident.
“The billions of pounds spent on arms could be spent alleviating world poverty” World Vision chief executive Charles Badenoch said. “Then we would not only have a more just world, but a more secure world.”
His comments came at the launch of the ‘Blow the Whistle’ campaign which was introduced by the chair of Christians in Parliament, Conservative MP for South West Bedfordshire Andrew Selous.
Andrew Selous supported the Government and voted for a renewal of Britain's nuclear capability. He is also recorded by the web site www.TheyWorkForYou.com which looks at the record of MPs, as having voted strongly for the Iraq war.
The new campaign, run by the Micah Challenge coalition of churches and Christian charities, will put pressure on the Government and the international community "to look at the half-time scores and resolve to turn the match around so that extreme poverty and hunger really are halved for the world’s poor by 2015."
The campaign comes at the halfway point for the Government to meet the promises it made in 2000, when it joined other world leaders at the United Nations’ Millennium Summit to set the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve global poverty by 2015.
Progress has been made – for example, on debt cancellation – but more needs to be done on issues such as sanitation, trade justice, education, climate change, HIV and Aids, campaigners say.
‘Blow the Whistle’ will also mobilise Christians to get involved by finding out more about the issue of poverty, writing to the Government and challenging their MPs.
Christians will also join ‘Blow the Whistle Sunday’ – a major church event on May 20 - and literally blow whistles on June 2 in central London, just prior to the G8 meeting in Germany.
Rudo Kwaramba of World Vision, who formerly headed World Vision Zimbabwe, said: “I am praying for Christians to realise that we cannot just leave the work of lifting masses out of poverty to world leaders.
“World leaders must keep their promises and ordinary citizens, including Christians, must hold them to account.”
Tearfund chief executive Matthew Frost: “Blow the Whistle is a point-in-time campaign. We want to get the word out, to get many, many more Christians involved.
“We are encouraging people to engage their local MPs and their churches on this issue.”