Eric Malloy is our guest blogger this week. Eric currently works with Eastern Gate Discipleship Ministries out of Halifax, NS. (The views expressed in this blog are of the writer)
Canadians will face another federal election on October 21, 2019. Please prayerfully and carefully participate with your vote and voice. For discerning and determined Christians the Scriptures will guide, inform, educate, and influence our assessment of candidates, political parties, platforms, and voting decisions.
Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding…Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Prov. 14:33-34).
Many (most?) voters cast their ballot based on how they (and/or their parents) voted historically. The old adage, “we’ve always voted that way” has consequences, some good, some far from good. In the lead-up to the 2015 federal election, Global News published an article, The psychology behind irrational voting. The question was posed, “Why do some people keep voting for the same parties or candidates even after they repeatedly lie to them or waste their tax dollars?” Various insights are given, then the article notes, “instead of acting rationally in line with their beliefs or opinions, many people will actually modify their beliefs or opinions after the fact in order to conform to their decisions and actions” (i.e. their vote). To the question above I would also wonder why voters, especially Christian voters, cast their ballot for candidates and parties whose platform openly opposes much of what they say they believe and hold dear? This is a critical issue with extraordinary implications at the ballot box and for the nation!
Another common myth is the need to separate faith and politics. Nothing could be further from the truth. For Christians, biblical faith needs to inform and guide political ideas and actions. We actually need more qualified and committed Christians to influence and be involved in the political process. Over five decades I September 2019 2 have observed that many Christian voters under-value social, religious, and family issues within political platforms and priorities. Favouring fiscal and foreign policy, education and health, environment and resources, tolerance and human rights, these voters often appear willing to abandon the very principles most clearly addressed in the Scriptures – e.g. Judeo-Christian foundations, family, life, and moral issues. Each voter needs to pray, ponder, and prioritize before walking into the voting booth.
Canada’s Judeo-Christian heritage is beyond question. Our founding fathers intended it that way. More recently, both the Canadian Bill of Rights (Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, 1960) and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, 1981) acknowledge the supremacy of God. “The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God…” and “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of the law.”
There are basic questions that we need to wrestle with. The considerations below are as important for our political decisions as for any other part of life. The biblical idea of fruitfulness will help our election decision-making.
OBSERVING AND INSPECTING FRUIT
What can be observed, analysed, and understood about the candidate or parties’ position on issues?
HANDLING AND HARVESTING FRUIT
How open, accessible, and truthful are the candidate or parties’ position on issues?
What is (or will be) the result of these positions?
YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUIT
Every party is known by its own history and what it produces. They can be evaluated accordingly.
SEEK FIRST GOD’S KINGDOM AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
This is the ultimate guide for Christians and must direct our response to the specific political issues and categories.
COMPARISON OF FRUIT
Based on the above, voters are equipped to select the party that is most likely to produce fruitfulness that best honours God and His Scriptures.
Voters need to consider the national (and international) political landscape and exercise great discernment. For example, to ignore the existence and activity of the two Communist parties – the Communist Party of Canada and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, is to our own peril. Their lack of seats in parliament masks their insidious influence. Also, in light of the fact of over 100,000 Canadians being killed through surgical abortions each year (four million since 1969), have we really considered the consequence of our vote and voice? With traditional marriage being decimated and the proliferation of sexual identity chaos permeating our classrooms and colleges, should this not affect how we vote and for whom we vote? Parts of government, academia, media, and medicine have become fountains of all sorts of political and social evil. Do we Christians care? We better care and we better be engaged!
In Canada’s national political spectrum, of the five parties with seats in parliament today it could be said that typically liberal includes the Liberal, NDP, and Green parties (with notable variations of course); while typically conservative includes the Conservative Party. I have not included the Bloc Quebecois since its aims are primarily limited to Quebec nationalism and sovereignty. Some small or new parties promote strong conservative platforms but have not yet gained enough electoral support to win seats (e.g. Christian Heritage Party). The new People’s Party is as yet an unknown entity. Each party has their own platform and policies as can be seen from their communications and websites. According to the Elections Canada website there are presently sixteen registered federal parties in Canada, five of which won seats in the 2015 election.
Some estimates show 19 million Canadians identify as Christian, only half of which vote in federal elections. Why? Good question! A partial list of issues of importance to Christian voters includes:
- Judeo-Christian foundations of Canada (e.g. Bible, God, public expression of faith).
- Social, Family and Life issues:
- Pro Life/Choice (abortion); reproductive rights;
- Traditional marriage; parental rights and responsibilities;
- Educational content in schools;
- Alternate lifestyles and gender issues;
- Assisted suicide; euthanasia.
- Rule of and respect for law; justice and the courts (including criminal justice).
- Democratic constitutional freedoms; Human rights and accompanying responsibilities; anti-Semitism.
- Freedom of religion and speech (specifically).
- Religion, Education, Healthcare.
- Economy; finance; the environment.
- Government over-reach, intrusion, control.
- Foreign policy; Israel.
- Immigration; refugees; Indigenous issues;
- Legalized marijuana.
- Comparison and contrast of key issues to Christians is possible through a number of ways.
- Speeches and other communication from party leaders and spokespersons.
- Written policies and positions in official party publications, much of which is available online.
- Current and historical actions and positions taken in parliamentary debate, legislative activity, and court decisions.
In today’s political, social, religious, academic, medical, business, media, and philosophical climate of ultra-deception Christians need to be informed on these and other key issues and be Biblically discerning! Some parties are characterized by platforms and policies that directly and consistently contradict and/or oppose Biblical teaching/Christian values, while others demonstrate a greater tendency to at least partially respect Biblical values and truth. Our voting decisions need to reflect the latter. While it is true that no party represents 100% adherence to Biblical (or any other) standards, when viewed through the lens of God-honoring fruit, many people will need to change their vote. This is no time to vote for the candidate or party regardless of their platform and policies. When comparing and contrasting parties in preparation to vote, the Christian should always vote for the party that “most” reflects Biblical/Christian values, even when it does not do so completely. The day of voting as we always voted is over for discerning Christians.
By allowing party positions and actions to speak for themselves certain conclusions become self-evident. If it were possible to objectively evaluate or score each party on items like the Judeo-Christian foundations of Canada, social, family and life issues, democratic constitutional freedoms, limited government, Israel, and legalized marijuana, the Conservative Party of Canada would score the highest, by far. This is less a statement of political preference than simply stating the obvious. There are decisions and actions discerning and determined Christians can take.
1. Spend time in specific prayer about key issues, candidates, parties, and most importantly God’s will, plans, and purposes as presented in the Scriptures.
2. Ponder and do your homework through reading, listening to trusted others, attending candidate meetings, and in some cases speaking one-on-one with candidates or representatives. Never, ever blindly trust mainstream “news” media or the self-proclaimed “educated” opinions of others!
3. Prioritize based on #1 and #2 above and the lens of God-honoring fruit.
4. Take action by voting and getting involved in productive ways.
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity (1 Tim. 2:1-2).“
Rev. Eric J. Malloy
Eastern Gate Discipleship Ministries