My Struggle to Vote as an Evangelical In Canada
In just 48 hours Canadians have the privilege and responsibility to vote. And as an evangelical Christian I think this is one of the most difficult elections in which I have the responsibility to vote.
Talking about politics is an uncomfortable discussion much of the time. It is something we all have an opinion on, even if we might not know all that much about it. And the area I find the discussion about politics the most uncomfortable is when we discuss how to vote based on our belief system.
As a Christian, I believe we are to pray for our political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3) even if we did not vote for them and we should vote based on our conscious. But in my 15 years of having the responsibility and privilege to vote, this is the first time where I find it incredibly difficult to vote based on my beliefs.
If you spend any time on social media the impression you might get is that there is only one way to vote in Canada if you are a follower of Jesus, and to not vote for that party would mean you are not a follower of Jesus. But what if it was not that simple? What if in reality the party that is considered the best Christian alternative actually doesn’t promote as many biblical ethics as we might think?
I think in Canada this is the most confusing and difficult election to vote on in awhile based on our beliefs.
Biblically speaking there are many values that we as followers of Jesus should be considering that I sometimes think we don’t think of when it comes to politics. Here are just a few that I think Christians should be wrestling with:
Abortion: This seems to be the number one issue Christians gravitate towards. And I think we need to be more honest about it. The reality is that all of the four major parties are pro choice. The main difference for the Conservatives is that they are told the individual members of parliament can vote on this discussion based on their conscious, while some other parties take a party stance. But think about it, if the conservatives wanted to enact any laws to change the Canadian stance on abortion, don’t you think they would have done it when they had a majority? The have not done so, to me this does not tell me they are a pro-life party.
Gay Marriage: While there are varying views within Christian thought, for many that say abortion is the number one issue, this is number two. And again I would say all 4 major parties are for keeping the current legislation. So if this is a huge concern for you, is there really a clear voice for your perspective?
Immigration/refugees: Much of the world is concerned about the current Syrian refugee crisis. And rightfully so. The parties not in power say they would expedite the process for refugees and bring more in, while the party in power is saying the are concerned for local safety and not letting bad people in. I think this is an understandable point, but it plays on fear. So what does God say about something like a refugee crisis? Surprisingly a lot! But one important verse is Deuteronomy 10:19 “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” Fear and love are incompatible. That is not to say I don’t have fear about this current situation, I do, but I have more trust in God than I do fear of people.
Environment: For many christians who say abortion and gay marriage are number one and two, this is near the bottom of the list for them. This comes from a theological view that heaven is somewhere out there and we are to escape this horrible world, which I believe leans more on gnosticism than on scripture. Which is unfortunate because the first charge humans are given in scripture is to care for God’s creation (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:15). We are created to be stewards of Gods good creation, that is part of every persons calling because we are made in the image of God. It is for our use, not our abuse. So where do parties stand on such issues? Unfortunately, those that are seen as the best Christian choice seem to care least about the environment. A special shout out hear to the Christian Heritage Party, the only “real” Christian party, who believes CO2 emissions are not bad for the environment.
Poverty: The bible contains around 100 passages about our responsibility for the poor. Jesus himself told someone if he wanted to be perfect we need to sell all of his stuff and give the money to the poor. For me, this is usually the major issue that I focus on in politics. Thankfully, I truly believe all the four major parties have strategies, that they think are best to help alleviate and care for the poor in this world and locally. While some may seem better than others to me, and I will vote accordingly, I do believe each party has done what they think is best based on their ideological positions.
Freedom of religion: Now this is not really a party platform issue but it is coming up, and something important to discuss. We have one party, the Conservatives, that says some of the cultural dress some people where is inappropriate. We can say that it is not really a religious thing, but cultural, but we should not pick and choose when that is convenient for us as Christians, much of what we say is religious can be pointed to as cultural. While I might not agree with someone else religious practice and strive to help them know about Jesus, I believe we all have the freedom to worship as our conscious dictates so long as it does not infringe on other persons safety. Now it is not only the conservatives who I feel are making a point about the freedom of religion. The liberals have been told that if they vote based on their religious conviction around some issues like abortion they are not welcome in the party. And the NDP leader thinks my beliefs are un-Canadian, which is disappointing, because I love hockey and maple syrup. That’s how Canadian I am.
There are many other issues being discussed this year. What are some of the ones you feel are most important this year? I believe we should each prayerfully consider how we vote, and also be prayerful for our future leaders, even if the ones we voted for don’t get in.
if you are like me and unsure who to vote for a great resource is http://canada.isidewith.com/ to see which political party your views connect with best.