Here I am in a coffee shop, and all that glares at me is how the recent polls indicate a Conservative majority in Canada. I am a “conservative” pretty well in all my views, other than when it comes to social programs, where I have an affinity with the Liberals and the New Democrats and the Green Party. I am completely at odds with the Conservative foreign policy and with the economy as well. As a Christian I am faced with a few serious issues with serious ramifications.
I believe strongly in the sovereignty of God, and that as much as we may believe it in the West, God is on the Throne and He decides who leads nations, and not the electorate, and certainly not the political big shots behind party doors, and nor the economic power brokers that rule the nations. God alone determines who rules, so why worry or fret! This cuts to the deep issues of where our heart loyalties lie. In Scripture we find people engaged with the socio-economic power structures of their societies, as well as the political power brokers, even if they were kings, tyrants and dictators. In Romans 13 in particular we are called to submit to authorities and those that rule in the civic arena. This was no democracy, but an empire ruled by tyrants. Nero was on the throne in Rome and ruled, when Paul called on Christians to submit to the political authorities, and to pray for them, and to obey the laws of the land. Hmm… Where does that leave us here in Canada?
I personally felt betrayed by Harper and how he has governed since elected in the last election. I felt betrayed by a wimp who refused to do the right thing when it came to challenging the same sex marriage issue. He got a lot of votes from the “moral values” community, and from many from diverse religious groups. How do they vote this time, if at all? I for one had not voted since the defeat of Kim Campbell by Jean Chretien in 1993 until the last election, and to this day I regret that I ever did vote. My intent is to not vote this time around.
My convictions lead me to consider the fact that democracy is foreign to Scripture, and it is pagan in origin from the man centered philosophies of Greece, and later developments during the Enlightenment and the American and French Revolutions. Nothing Christian about any of it, so why do Christians wrap themselves in their national flag, and why to they attempt to get what they think is the will of God for their nation, by using the political machinery of their nations, and the manipulation of the electorate through media, and propaganda, so that the best “Christian” leader can bring social change to the nation? I thought God was in charge, and ruled the nations, and placed the people in their seats of power? Is He or is He not in power? Is He or is He not sovereign over the hearts of men and the affairs of state and economic power? I am resigned to the fact that He is, and as such my vote means nothing, and even less in a flawed political system as it exists in Canada.
John Howard Yoder in the Politics of Jesus argues that Jesus was the most political character in history and challenged the society of his day, that ran the politico-socio-economic order of the day, and it eventual rejected his Messiahship altogether, and got rid of him, as his views mean a radical upside down Kingdom rule which was antithetical to their own rule and perceptions of power and how we engage as a society. If Jesus died for the sins of humanity, he also died to restore the Kingdom of God and how we engage with each other in society. How we engage with power, poverty, economics, social justice, pacifism, and all the other “isms” that afflict our society reveals our heart’s true allegiance. We either belong to God and act as agents of grace in our contact and interaction with society or we are hypocrites.
Perhaps Bono from U2 has it down pat after all. Engage with men and women regardless of political party, and do all that can be done for social and economic justice and peace, no matter what it takes. Perhaps it means for me, less active participation in the political process, and yet more social activism in causes of poverty, social justice and the anti-war movement.