It is quite likely that the title today may concern some. Let me attempt in a very brief way to both reassure and at the same time, talk on this topic we are usually silent about. I grew up in a home that was comfortable talking about the then three topics to avoid; politics, faith and sex. I’m just reframing the politics bit for some scrutiny today.
There are several Scriptures that inform our attitudes about the Christian and the socio-political world. Some of these are: John 3:17(not to condemn the world); Micah 6:8(to act justly); Romans 13:1-7 (authority); I Corinthians 13(love); Matthew 22:21 (render unto Caesar). These are influential even pivotal texts, but does faith or the themes from these texts have any relevance on a Christian and how they vote? Let me start by saying some very simple things.
Many sincere Christians have found ways to justify voting from the left to the right and back again. So what.
There is no Biblical imperative or instruction to vote any particular way.
On any specific issue there are some political parties that are more Biblical than others at least some of the time; but never all of the time.
None of the five main parties in Canada have a legitimate call as a Christian’s political allegiance. They may think they do. Some Christians may wish they did. They do not.
If you vote for purely partisan or political reasons and do not seriously pray and contemplate your Christian faith and responsibility, then you are telling the Lord that your personal politics are more important than your relationship with Christ. That doesn’t mean to say we can’t have passionate, partisan and political views; of course we can. But our political views are subservient to our faith, period.
Yes, there are some wise philosophical questions to ask any political party about economics, social and personal responsibilities, the vulnerable and weak, and a whole host of other issues. But where do you begin?
As my own Province goes to vote on May 12, I will too. There is a serious theological contingent like Stanley Hauerwas that shuns voting; so be it; I disagree but respect. I will reflect on the issues, especially in these times when you need both compassion for the poor and an ability to have a sound economy (no, you can’t vote twice). I reflect on the passages I just listed and I also pray with thanksgiving that Alexander McKenzie (the second Prime Minister and a Liberal), John Diefenbaker, a Conservative and Tommy Douglas (and NDPer) are all Baptists from this clan. This year I will use a simple template for my vote. I will read Galatians 5:16-26, about the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. I will pray for my own transformation and I will vote for the candidate and perhaps the party that shows the greatest signs of the fruit of the Spirit.
So when your own impulse to hear from Christian friends from across the political spectrum or when you hear that impulse to vote from self-interest and not as a believer: resist. This time in the next municipal, provincial or federal election, this time, in the name of our Lord, vote after first having sought the will of the Lord.
I am not meaning to offend or argue but simply to encourage a re-rootedness.