APRIL 28TH, 2015
In a few months, Canada will be having a federal election and from my perspective, those who claim to follow Jesus as disciples need to pay attention.
More than many times in our history, this election will be critical in determining the future quality of life in Canada and in our relationship with the rest of the world. It feels like a kairos moment.
I’m really concerned for all those who will continue after I am gone and indeed, for God’s creation itself if we continue on the same path we have been going.
Or…. at least it seems that way to someone wanting more and more to make a difference in God’s social evolution project that Christians call “the Kingdom of God”.
What I would like to do is to start a discussion about how people decide to vote and if their religious faith has any relevance to that decision.
To begin with, I want to just list some of the ways I have observed over the years:
1. People decide not to vote because they are disgusted with the whole process and cynical about any kind of positive change.
2. People vote against the party in power because they are unhappy with decisions, corruption, lies and the sense of entitlement incumbents often have.
3. People vote for the local candidate that impresses them the most. Sometimes it is from public debates and their eleoquence; More often, I think, it is intuitive about integrity, trust, or even something as superficial as hair style and smile.
4. People vote for the leader of the party with the greatest charisma that gives them hope.
5. People vote ideologically- left, right or centre- based on stated party commitments and platforms.
6. People vote the way others in the family have voted( parents) or with their current partner so as to not cancel each otherout.
7. People vote for patronage reasons- to secure favors or appointments
8. People vote for election goodies; the promises made during or leading up to a campaign.
9. People vote for those they think will win based on polling, the number of signs on lawns, or media reports to ensure their MP is in the governing party.
10. People vote strategically, based on polling, in order to keep the party they don’t want to win from forming a government through vote splitting.
11. People vote for the party whose values most closely represent theirs. Sometimes these values are shaped by religion.
12. People vote according to their stand on a particular issue- ( legalizing marijuana, government surveillance, abortion or same sex marriage, gun registration, elect or abolish the senate, environmental concerns)
So…. My first question is
a) Can you think of other ways that people use to decide how they vote?
My second question is
b) Can the church or faith give us any help in deciding which of the above reasons we should favour?
The United Church of Canada has just published an election kit.
To see it, hit this link.. www.united-church.ca/getinvolved/take action/election