Minister’s Reflection – Aug. 29,19
Rev. Dave Crawford
“Some Musings for the Journey Ahead”
Well, I guess we’re into it. It’s been weeks now. The campaign before the campaign! New government funding announcements. Old videos revived for use as political ammunition. News conferences and Tweets, slogans and placards, billboards and debates. Some are predicting it could be one of the nastiest national campaigns in recent decades, and the results quite unpredictable given the polls and significant societal shift. Climate change will likely be a major factor, and possibly social issues. Many think the Greens will gain seats and a larger share of the popular vote. Some claim the NDP is unprepared and mired in uncertainty. The federal Liberal machine appears formidable in central and eastern Canada (and BC?) despite numerous stumbles by their leader. The Conservatives hope for a solid showing but there’s a possible challenge on the right posed by Maxime Bernier’s PPC (not pictured above). Will Canadians choose to “get ahead” or “move forward” this time around? Is charisma important? Or party, vision, budgetary restraint, support for Energy, social policy?
You may have great interest in the coming election. You may have none. You may be optimistic about our country and the state of our democracy. You may be cynical about all of it, and who could blame you, or me?! But how does our faith inform our voting habits? Or does it? Every once in a while we hear the old refrain, “We need to keep religion out of politics”, or something similar, but can we really do that, as religious people, as Christians? …
One of history’s great non-Christians, Gandhi, is reputed to have once said, “Those who believe religion and politics aren’t connected don’t understand either.” There’s truth to that, surely, and yet perhaps context matters too, where we choose to engage one with the other, or choose not to.
About ten years ago at another United Church, during an election campaign, a church member called me two hours before Sunday worship to ask if the local NDP candidate could speak to the congregation. It struck me as inappropriate and so I declined. There was a difference, it seemed to me, between talking about how spirituality might impact political views and the Church actively endorsing one party over another. I didn’t regret the decision even as I believed, and still believe, our political convictions must be based in our worldview, which must be connected, at least partially, to our spirituality.
How do you sort it out? How does “love of neighbour” impact your views? How does “caring for the least among us” inform your politics? How does the life of discipleship and its implications inspire your vote? Does prayer play a part? And what about the leaders and their faith perspectives? Is that important? Trudeau and Scheer are both Roman Catholics, May is an Anglican, Singh a Sikh, and I’m not sure what Bernier and Blanchet are.
One thing’s for sure. The next couple of months won’t be boring.
Best wishes in your discernment!
May the Lord guide us, and our nation, in the weeks ahead.
Grace and Peace