Tuesday 26 November 2019

John Dickson on How to Vote Christianly

I found this article by John Dickson– ‘How to Vote Christianly’ – helpful as I prepare for the General Election in the UK next month. It was published in Australia before their election in May earlier this year, but I think the way it sets out its perspective on Christian priorities in voting carries well in a different context.

Dickson notes from the start that he doesn’t know how he will vote in the upcoming election, feeling ‘especially torn this time around, because some of my fundamental values and guiding principles are in deep conflict as I reflect on the party platforms’.

But he encourages Christians to vote ‘in a way that is informed by their faith, whatever decision they finally make’. For, ‘while Christianity is not party political, it is political in the broader sense’, and ‘everyone who is concerned with the life of our wider community (as every Christian will be) is “political” in the larger sense of the word’.

The bulk of the article outlines how some basic Christian beliefs should – and should not – influence a Christian’s vote.

1. How not to vote

• Precedent: ‘How we always vote’

‘[V]oting by personal or demographic precedent is not a thoughtful vote. Whatever else a Christian ought to be, he or she ought to be thoughtful.’

• Christian favouritism

‘Theologically speaking, good government is not the special preserve of believers. In Romans 13, Paul makes plain that even the pagan governments of Rome were to be thought of as “established by God”. Indeed, secular, non-Christian rulers are described by the apostle as “God’s servants”. The point deserves deep reflection.’

• Economic prosperity

‘Christians must seriously question a fixation with the “bottom line”.’

2. How a Christian ought to vote

• Vote for others

‘First and foremost, a Christian vote is a vote for others, not oneself. It is fundamental to the Christian outlook that life is to be devoted to the good of others before oneself... Those who follow the one who gave himself up for us all will endeavour to put their private interests aside, and seek instead to serve the wider community.’

• Vote for the moral health of the community

‘Christians will want to ponder: which party and/or policies will promote the values applauded by the Creator, the values of justice, harmony (nationally and internationally), sexual responsibility, honesty, family and mercy?... For the Christian, moral health far exceeds economic prosperity as an honourable goal for society.’

• Vote for the poor and weak

‘[I]n voting for the “other”, the Christian will particularly have in mind the poor and powerless... Whatever socio-economic model Christians sincerely believe in, they ought to vote for those who need their vote more than they do.’

• Vote for the gospel

‘Concern for the advancement of the Christian message throughout Australia... will potentially play a part in a Christian’s voting patterns.’

• Vote prayerfully

‘The Scriptures urge believers to pray for leaders and for governments. And, ultimately, believers will see this as more important even than their vote.’

Read the whole thing here.

No comments: