If you’re like me and have been paying attention to Canadian politics over this last
little while, you might be feeling a little trapped and a little bit caught between worlds.
I would argue this is a good thing. You see, as Christians, our ultimate political leader
is Jesus Christ and His call in our lives doesn’t really fit any one set of political ideals.
So how then as Christians do we decide whom to vote for?
One of the biggest things to keep in mind that we have often missed when
deciding our vote is that, as Christians, we believe Jesus Christ holds all political decisions in His hands. In fact, all earthly and universal destinies are ultimately in God’s
control. This runs directly counter to the way political parties think. Political parties
ultimately base their policies on what you want, what you think you need, and what
you think is important. Governments may certainly try to and socially engineer what
you think you want or need, but ultimately we the people are left with the decision.
This is the difficult part of being Christians in a democracy. As Christians, we
don’t get to decide what we think we need or want based purely on our own thoughts
and decisions. We are called within the boundaries of Scripture and submitting to
Christ as the beginning, end, and middle of it all. So when we are feeling particularly
fearful of terrorists, we don’t get to go with our gut and call for increased military
spending and unfair security policies. Because Christ has already told us what we are
supposed to do when faced with violence. We are called to take up our Cross, we are
called to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5: 39; 16: 24). When we are faced with an earnest desire to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone (because Scripture calls us to
it in Galatians 3: 28), we have to do that without abrogating Jesus’ declaration of marriage, or generally trying to sidestep God’s providence for our lives (Matthew 19; Mark
10; Ephesians 5). When the economy takes a downturn and we’re all afraid of losing
our jobs, we cannot let that fear keep us from our call to be caretakers of all creation,
a blessing to the nations, and friends of the marginalized and suffering in our world
(Genesis 1: 28,12: 2; James 1: 27).
The popular atheist and anti-religion columnist Bill Marr nailed it on the head
a few years back in his monologue on Jesus’ teaching. Marr declares that, “Martin
Luther King gets to call himself a Christian because he actually practised loving his
enemies...but if you rejoice in revenge, torture, and war, you cannot say you are a
follower of the guy who explicitly said you are to ‘love your enemies’ and ‘do good to
those who hate you...you’re supposed to look at Jesus on the Cross and think, How
canamansufferlikethatandforgive? You are not supposed to look at it and wonder
how to improve upon Roman torture techniques.
Ultimately, being a Christian in a liberal democracy will not lead us to any easy
answers when deciding whom to vote for. If our personal bias is more conservative,
we’ll have to wrestle with Jesus’ teaching on violence and wealth distribution, if our
personal bias is more liberal, you will try to and abstract Christian teachings on mercy
and equality over and above specific directives on how to live life under God’s divine
authority. In the midst of this, though, I would encourage all of us to name our bias,
and remember in the end God is in control.
Subverting Human Idolatry
in the Political System
By. Jesse Hove