Monday, October 21, 2019

How Would Jesus Vote?

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God’s people are called to faithfully engage with the world around them to help shape a space for the kin-dom of God to become manifest. Many of our communities of faith serve those who are vulnerable, feed those who are hungry, house those who are homeless, and advocate with the most vulnerable. In these actions, the churches answer God’s call. Choosing to vote is another way for individuals to answer that call.

United Church of Canada

As we were getting ready to head out the door to vote this morning we listened to a funny piece on CBC radio by the guys who brought us the late, great This is That. It was a supposed interview with the creator of Vote Butler, an app which allows us to vote by proxy for just $3.99. The faux inventor spoke of the inconvenience of voting, having to walk a block to the neighbourhood school and then wait in line for three or four minutes to cast our ballot. We laughed out loud and then walked a block or so to the Lutheran church where we had no line at all. The entire arduous experience took all of twenty minutes.

We know that Canadians tend to be apathetic about exercising their democratic right to vote, although nearly five million did so in advance polls, including a record number of college and university students. 

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It's important to remember that women weren't given the right to vote in Canada until 1918. Indigenous men were allowed to vote in federal elections while they were in military service during the world wars (how generous!) but so-called Status Indians weren't granted the vote until 1960. It's outrageous that members of First Nations were non-persons for so long when it came to electing leaders. 

Is voting a Christian duty? Jesus certainly didn't have the right to vote, but the notion of a democracy was rare in the ancient world and really didn't take hold until the 18th century, and at great cost. There are Christian groups such as the Amish and Hutterites and Jehovah's Witnesses which don't vote. Others, such as the Roman Catholic church, our United Church, prepare guides to help their members make informed decisions based on their Christian values. There are resources for worship and prayer as well. 

I do think voting is both a privilege and a duty, and always encouraged members of congregations to get to the polls, regardless of their political leanings. Christianity is a religion of hope and Jesus encouraged us to love our neighbours as ourselves. So, apathy and cynicism are not options for those who follow him. 

Get going on loading that Vote Butler app... 


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