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REX/Markus Lange / imageBROKER
UK News

Black churches speak out ahead of election

A document titled 'Black Church Political Mobilisation - a manifesto for action', has been published under the auspices of the National Church Leaders' Forum (NCLF) - A Black Christian Voice for Britain's African and Caribbean Churches.

In it, the church leaders raise concern that the UK is "encroaching ideological imperialism" over the issue of the aid budget.

Responding to concerns that British aid could be used to coerce countries to change their viewpoint, the Manifesto reads, "We believe that by making assistance 'conditional' in this way, so that weaker nations are forced to 'follow the leader', the master-slave relationship is reinstated and ultimately our home nations are no longer free from British rule."

The report also highlights concerns over same sex marriage and calls for a commitment to protecting and promoting the biblical view of marriage - the permanent union of one man and one woman.

It also encourages politicians and churches to look at particular challenges for the black community including:

- Policing, criminal justice and prisons (e.g. 'on average, five times more Black people than White people in England and Wales are in prison').
- Mental health (e.g. 'Black Caribbean and Black African men aged 13 - 24 years have the highest suicide rate of any group').
- Youth and education (e.g. 'by the age of 22 - 24, 44% of Black young people are not in education, employment or training').

The manifesto is believed to be the first ever political manifesto issue by Britain's African and Caribbean church movement.

Operation Black Vote estimates that the BME vote could decide the electoral outcome in up to 168 marginal seats.

Speaking as the document was published, Pastor Ade Omooba, co-chair of the NCLF, said: "I am excited that for the first time the black church movement has been able to speak into the electoral debate in this way, highlighting concerns but also proposing positive steps to take.

"I hope that our political leaders who have expressed so much interest in the black community's vote are now prepared to listen and discuss these recommendations."

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