Elections are in the air. Campaigning has moved into high gear in the USA as Barak Obama and John McCain begin to slug it out. We go to the polls here in WA this Saturday. Will we vote for more of the same last eight years or take a gamble on a hastily revamped opposition? Or will we protest again by voting for a minority party or independent?
Should church leaders seek to influence how those within their orbit should vote? Political parties of all brands are recognising the significance of what they call the “Christian” vote. Note the singular – as if there is such a thing as the mono-morphous Christian vote. Certain parties and lobby groups appear to target church leaders in the hope they will use their influence, powers of persuasion and authority to help voters see political reform through their particular lens.
I wll not reveal how I intend to vote, nor seek to persuade another in any electoral direction. It behooves each individual to ensure they are well enough informed on the many issues that have a multiplicity of colours that apply in different ways to different parts of the community. As a preacher under the rule of the God who is fully revealed in the Way of Christ, I can hold up a prism that displays these colours, but it’s up to each voter to use their powers of reasoning and discernment to decide how these colours fall on the choices they make. I can be no more directive than that.
And why should any voter’s responsibility stop after the poll? Recent times have seen the growth of online grass-roots movements that seek to monitor the activities and decisions of those who represent us. Rather than list them here, for all have biases that could leave me exposed to charges of favouring either the left or the right, I will simply point out one, Open Australia, which simply provides a very direct means of accessing and monitoring the parliamentary speeches of your representative in both houses of Federal Parliament and giving their contact details.
There is plenty of scope for Kingdom oriented learners of Christ’s way to test their understanding and influence in dialogue with their parliamentary representatives – no matter which way the vote falls on Saturday.