The Church and the federal election

The Church and the federal election

One of the quintessential questions for some Christians over the centuries has been: What is the relationship between the church and the state; faith and politics? The question remains, for some, as contemporary and relevant as it is ancient and historical. The wide variety of Christian denominations have different “takes” in answering such questions. One thing is clear, there is no avoiding politics—those who claim neutrality are also making a political statement, there is no room for quietism and indifference (I still have not, received any comments or correspondence from the Church of Sweden on my last post and wonder what their lack of response means concerning the issue that I raised). Although I believe it wrongheaded for the Church to endorse any political party—indeed such endorsement can lead to tyranny and oppression, as the dark pages of church history have hopefully taught us—nonetheless, as citizens in the world, it is our right and responsibility, our duty and privilege to be involved in politics as stewards of creation and servants of justice and peace in the world. In our democratic society, we do this by showing up at the polling stations and voting.

So, dear readers, are you intending to vote in the upcoming federal election? If so, what are do you think are the most pressing issues in this election? What do you think of the 2011 ELCIC Compassionate Justice Election Resource? Click here.

What do you think of the KAIROS federal election kit focussing on the three topics of climate change, indigenous rights, and migrant justice? Click here

Do you think these resources are helpful for church folk in educating them on the most pressing election issues? Did reading these resources help you or change your views on certain issues? Are you going to vote in the 2011 federal election? If not, can you explain why you are not voting? I’d love to hear from you.

About dimlamp
I am, among other things, a sojourner, a sinner-saint, a baptized, life-long learner and follower of Jesus, and Lutheran pastor. Dim Lamp: gwh photos:

3 Responses to The Church and the federal election

  1. Wallace Jans says:

    The Apostle Paul instructed us to pray for those in authority over us and by implication I believe that in a democracy we should support the system of government to assure it works. For democracy to work, the people must exercise their right to vote. How can we in good conscience pray for a government by the people if we fail in our duty as one of the people? I don’t think political apathy is an option for a Christian.

  2. Dim Lamp says:

    Yes, indeed, I agree with you. We cannot take our democratic system of government for granted; one of the worst sins is that of political apathy/indifference. Thanks for sharing your comments.

  3. Donald Hansen says:

    I agree with your statement that it is foolhardy for any Christian faith group to endorse or appose a particular politician or party. As you say, it historically has led to various levels of tyranny and oppression.

    I looked closely at both the ELCIC Compassionate Justice Election Resource and the KAIROS federal election kit. I agree with the issues both groups raise and I will of course vote for the candidate that best reflects my views on the issues (which is usually the NDP).

    I find it politically refreshing to find Christian political study guides that do not reflect the issues of the Christian Right (allowing for continued discrimination of LGBT persons, taking away a woman’s right to reproductive choice, and mandatory prayer and religious instruction in our public schools etc.) that encourages Christians to vote right wing. Nevertheless, it is obvious to me that both the ELCIC and Kairos in their study guides are pushing people in their study guides towards the “left.”

    Both groups (the ELCIC and Kairos) will of course deny any attempt to lead people towards a particular party or candidate with these study guides (which they are of course lying if they make such a defence). I think it is obvious to even a child that both resources push the reader towards issues of particular interest to those on the left and their solutions to these issues or as they call themselves today “the progressives.” To those who claim the two statements do not attempt this, my reaction to them is simply to smile and say “yeah, okay, whatever…”

    I do not care what Kairos does. I do care what my ELCIC does. Like you, I think it is foolhardy for the ELCIC to endorse or appose any particular politician or party. However, this is exactly what the election study package is attempting to do.

    Our denomination’s leadership is entering into the messy world of partisan politics with this study guide. If they want to do this, they need to remember that politics is like war, if you back the loosing side, you are left to the mercy of victors as to how you will fair after the fight (which may be downright unpleasant). If you back the winners or actively co-operate with them, then you run the risk of becoming tyrannical and oppressive, no matter how benevolent your intentions were at the beginning.

    Even though I am left-wing, this I know from history: that secular politics and Christian leadership is a dangerous mix which will lead to oppression and tyranny if Christian leaders achieve secular political power or help put their “friends” into power. It has in the past, it is happening now, and it will happen again.

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