NOTE: If you don’t identify as a Christian, feel free to not read this letter. This is not an invitation for debate on Christianity or religion. Thank you.
Now that the Federal election is over here in Canada, I want to take the opportunity to share with you some of my perspectives on the vote. Now, let me start by saying that I am not going to touch on specific subjects, like immigrants, refugees, abortion, LGBTQ, and so forth. I’m going to keep this high level and general. The second disclaimer is that this is my perspective (my blog, my opinions; that’s how this works) and this post is not a hammer – it’s not a nail, either – but rather just something you might care to think about and consider. And yes, I am laying all this groundwork and being very gentle because I know how sensitive these subjects can get.
So! To start.
I am a minister’s kid, raised in a pretty traditional Christian home. In addition to teaching us those values and principles, my dad and his dad, and my mother’s father, all had very strong political views (Social Credit Party and Manning-ism). However, here are the basic, fundamental things I was raised to believe and live:
- We are called, first and foremost, to love God and love others (Mark 12:30,31). This is our highest calling, to be held as the highest priority in our lives, and to be lived without any “yeah, but”.
- We are to treat others the way we want to be treated (Luke 6:31); again, no caveats to this principle.
- THIS: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind.” (Luke 6:35)
- We are not called to live in fear. There are tons of scripture verses that support this statement, including 1 John 4:18,19, Psalm 23:4, Psalm 27:1, Psalm 118:6, 2 Timothy 1:7, and Romans 8:15, to name a few.
- We are not called to hate (see the points on our call to love). Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.”
- We are instructed to be kind, compassionate, humble, and patient (Colossians 3:12)
Now, I must add yet another disclaimer here, and say that I certainly do not pretend to have a personal handle on all of these things. These are aspirations. What I’m saying is that these are the things I was taught to cling to as personal values, and these are the things I see listed in scripture as the markers of a Christian (“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” John 13:35).
The way I approached my personal vote during the campaign was this: which candidate, and which party, best reflects these basic fundamental Christian principles? It’s important for me to step back and try to consider this as objectively as possible, because THERE IS NO CHRISTIAN VOTE. What I want, what I did on October 19th, is to put my “X”by the name of the person and party I felt offers opportunities to see the above-listed values and top priorities play out in society.
In my neck of the woods, there’s a distinct leaning of Christians toward one particular party. I understand how that happens and why that bent exists. And that’s cool; be fully convinced and committed to vote for the person and party of your choice. What I guess bothers me about what played out during the election, and what really, profoundly disappointed me, is:
- I saw people who identify as Christians espousing and even spreading hate and fear;
- I saw people who identify as Christians imposing their voting will onto others, and even using the bible as a club (as in “I don’t know how supposedly godly people can vote for so and so”);
- I saw people who identify as Christians getting into vicious arguments and cutting off friendships because of politics;
- I saw normally rational, thinking people posting memes and dubious articles on social media without fact checking, simply because the material contained therein supported their preconceived opinions and stereotypes;
- I saw pastors and spiritual leaders offering their personal political opinions, a clear abuse of their position of influence (thankfully, not mine).
As I say, these things really bothered me. I tried really hard during the election – and, as an outspoken, opinionated person, you should be really proud of my self-restraint – not to get into arguments that could damage relationships, because (see the list of principles and scriptures) I believe we should be first and foremost about relationship. If anything I said during the election did rub you the wrong way, please talk to me about it. We might not come to agree, but we can and should make sure our relationship is in tact.
I feel like the Christian church may have lost its way a bit in the political melee. There’s a lot I want to say about this but won’t; suffice to say that I hope we can now:
- Recognize and respect that Christians have a right to vote according to their consciences and that might mean different things to different people
- Spend time now repairing friendships and relationships that suffered during the campaign(s)
- Find ways to live out those top priorities and values
- Celebrate the decisions our new governments might make that reflect those top priorities and values
- Pray for the government.
I’m avoiding a bunch of “should” and direct statements about which parties did or said or stand for what, and that’s on purpose. I’m not telling you how to vote or which party you as a Christian should support (and please stop doing that to me); I’m asking the Christian church to use the list of values and priorities as a means test for our conduct and conversation in all things, including politics.
Last note: please don’t write to me telling me I should stand with such and such party “because sin”. I’m not at all interested in living an “anti” life and I don’t think it serves or benefits anyone if I am only known for what I am against.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.