Voting by faith

FROM THE BISHOP

By the Rt. Rev. Bruce Myers OGS

Later this month Canadian citizens will have another opportunity to decide who will represent us in the federal House of Commons, and what kind of government will be charged with making important decisions about our common life as a country.

As you discern which candidate will receive your vote, I’d invite you to try doing so through the lens of our baptismal covenant, which is one of the guideposts for our life in Christ.

For example, when you’re looking at a political party’s platform or listening to a candidate’s declarations, ask whether they advocate policies that will promote “justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” Do they advance an agenda that strives to “safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the earth”?

The Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission, which flow from our baptismal promises, can also provide some good questions to ask. Do any candidates propose to “respond to human need by loving service” or do they “seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation”?

When we vote, Christians do so as dual citizens. It’s our citizenship in a particular earthly jurisdiction—in this case, the federation that is Canada—that entitles us to exercise our franchise on October 21. But when we mark (or spoil) our ballot, we do so while also acknowledging that our “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

This means our decisions as electors will necessarily be informed and guided by our faith. We don’t leave our Christian convictions at the door of the polling station. Rather we try to live in the uncomfortable tension of being dual citizens of both an earthly country and a heavenly kingdom—always acknowledging that our primary allegiance is not to a state, but to Christ the King.

Our call as disciples of Jesus is to reveal something of that heavenly kingdom on earth, in our midst, here and now. Consider which party or candidate might best help us in that work, and then vote by faith.

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October 2019 Quebec Diocesan Gazette