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Pastor Tim, who are you voting for in the upcoming federal election?

Signed, Weye Bawther

Dear Weye,

I am going to vote for the candidate and/or party that I feel most moved by my Christian convictions to vote for (or perhaps least convicted to not vote for).  I'm not trying to avoid answering your question (as if I were running for office or something).  Rather, as a pastor I feel it is important to not risk alienating people in our church and city who may be of a different political stripe than I am.  After all, the Word of God applies to people of every political slant or lean and therefore as a servant of God I do not want to in anyway compromise others? ability to see me as anything other than that.

Pastor Tim, who are you voting for in the upcoming federal election?

Signed, Weye Bawther

Dear Weye,

I am going to vote for the candidate and/or party that I feel most moved by my Christian convictions to vote for (or perhaps least convicted to not vote for).  I'm not trying to avoid answering your question (as if I were running for office or something).  Rather, as a pastor I feel it is important to not risk alienating people in our church and city who may be of a different political stripe than I am.  After all, the Word of God applies to people of every political slant or lean and therefore as a servant of God I do not want to in anyway compromise others? ability to see me as anything other than that.

I think it is foolhardy to mix politics into religion.  Please note that I am not talking about mixing religion into politics.  I believe that a candidate's religion is key to understanding them as a person and the integrity with which they will carry and use the responsibility that we as voters may give them.  Show me a politician who says their religion will not affect the way they make decisions in government and I?ll show you a person I might let consider picking up after my dog in the backyard ? with supervision.  I think politicians should state clearly what their spiritual decisions are and they should promise to govern according to them.  That would make it a lot easier for all Canadians to know who to vote for instead of having to sift through all the hooey and hucksterisms of the campaign trail in order to make a choice that will let us sleep on election night.  Even if such openness amongst the candidates resulted in the majority of the nation electing an entirely pagan government, at least the rest of us would be a minority who openly stood for God.  As memory serves me right, I believe such minorities have historically been greatly blessed for such stands. 

Yes, mix religion into politics ? but not politics into religion!  It may self-righteously feel good to chastise someone by questioning their faith if they are Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green Party or whatever other option there is, but it isn't spiritual.  It's wrong for anyone (pastors and spiritual leaders doubly) to place the burden of towing a political line upon people within a local gathering of believers.  First of all it's the height of arrogance - it smacks of the attitude that those preaching or teaching are the only ones who are spiritual and/or smart enough to decide how to vote.  Secondly, it also easily becomes another variety of the small ?c? christian mind control that is already too often exercised upon the everyday people that ?weakly? occupy the pews of many churches in North America.  You know ? the churches where the only people who get to feel good about following God are those who fit (or pretend to fit) the cookie cutter shape that matches the power brokers of the congregation.  May God deliver us from flag waving in the church!

Make no mistake ? I am going to vote and I will enjoy it too.  But as your pastor I won't tell you who to vote for.   Rather, I will preach, teach, urge, and beseech you to vote and do so as an exercise of your freedom in Jesus Christ based upon the Truth of God revealed in the Bible.

-       Pastor Tim

PS, we recently received the following information from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada regarding the 'do's and Don't's? for churches and electioneering.  As I've said, I'm a Divine servant ? not a civil one.  However, I think it is interesting that many of the Government guidelines listed below are wise and go a long way to keeping churches from getting caught up in some of the foolishness I have described above.

Federal Election:

Do's and Don't's for Churches

Churches are charities that serve the common good. The government has guidelines on the political activities of charities. Some actions may put a church's charitable status at risk. A church may not endorse a particular candidate or political party, or use its resources to support a candidate or party.

However, there are steps that churches can take to encourage their members to be responsible Christian citizens during a federal election.  The limits on church activity do not limit church staff, volunteers or members from political activity outside of the

church, on their own time or with their own money.

A church may:

. invite all candidates to speak at the same event or service, or organize an all candidates? debate

. encourage its members to get to know the candidates and to ask about issues of concern

. provide information on issues of concern that flow from biblical teaching, as long as the church does not link its views to any party or candidate

. highlight or publish how all Members of Parliament voted

. encourage its members to be involved in the electoral process and to vote

A church may not:

. invite candidates to speak at different times, or at separate events or services.

. promote or oppose one candidate or political party. For example, a church may not

. post signs for a candidate or political party on church property

. endorse a candidate or party from the pulpit

. distribute literature for one candidate or party

. link its views with those of a particular party or candidate

. highlight or publish how one particular candidate or party voted.

. encourage its members to vote for a particular candidate or party

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