Vol 11 No. 32 Election Time

Dear friends,

About every 5 years a federal election comes along, and I write a newsletter about praying for those who are in public life and office. Actually, this particular topic comes up more frequently than that, whether it be local, provincial or federal elections, or particularly crisis in the body politic.

Many of you will not know that we also write all the Premiers, Leaders of the Opposition, and Lieutenant Governors in Western Canada, all the federal party leaders in Ottawa, the Governor General, and Mayors of the major cities in Western Canada every Christmas to let them know of our prayers, and to thank them for their service and public life. We have done this for several years and it is truly a privilege and we trust an encouragement, that we do so. We have chosen, in our historical place of separation of church and state, to in-the-main not identify with particular political parties. There are examples, many examples, of people of profound faith and public life; there is not extensive room in this newsletter to mention them and it sometimes causes dissention to include some. So, I will forego.

Some of the present federal leadership hopefuls have an intimate connection with faith and have been comfortable indicating so. Some have not. Our personal homework in this area is easy enough for us to follow. It is important not only to pray for those in public life and all those who stand for election; it is also important to engage the issues. There are a considerable number of issues to weigh through an economic, political, and common sense kind of lens. Folk of a more conservative Christian perspective have usually fared poorly in post-election support of political leaders… for instance there are no Protestants (never mind Evangelicals) of any sort on the American Supreme Court… you will have noticed I have picked another country with the indignation of an outsider rather than choosing anything closer to home. If we are to think economically, politically and common-sensically about things, we should also consider some of the spiritual implications of those who seek our vote, whether it be their personal character or the political platforms of the party they represent.

There are issues around the poor, God’s creation, national security and individual rights, which all political parties have commented on, and which demonstrably all have their strengths and weaknesses. I mention that as a challenge that we do our homework.

A few last things:

Ron Orr, a CBWC Pastor from Clive, has just being elected (as a member of the Wildrose Party) to the AB legislature in the Lacombe-Ponoka riding. Another person with long connections with the faith (and for much of that with Baptist churches) is Annie McKitrick, who was elected in the riding of Sherwood Park, as a member of the NDP.

I have long history with both, a deep and abiding working relationship with Ron and Donna Orr, and, regardless of how any of us feel about politics, am profoundly proud of them both. (I wish to point out that I am not an Albertan, but that very statement says a lot in and of itself, doesn’t it, when someone from outside the province makes comments on politics within a province).

The takeaway from all of this is that we should pray for those who run for office, and we should be informed by our faith in how we reflect on the issues that influence our votes. And that scrutiny is far more complicated than many of us would like to believe. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: “If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.”

By the way – that is supposed to be a joke, not a political statement!


In Christ,