The crossroads were in view from the start of this series on Church and/or/v State. Now those crossroads are finally here.
Depending on how you see the relationship with the Church and State will determine your view of politics, whether it be of little significance (Anabaptist approach by self-exclusion), controlled by the Church (universal ideals which can be seen in Calvin, Cromwell and the Catholic church) or integral (a liberal mishmash of Christian values being paid lip service to but allowing for values that appear contrary to Christian values but valuable all the same, i.e. liberty for other religions, etc.).
It is impossible to advocate any of the above ideas with any semblance of vehemence from a scriptural perspective because the Bible doesn’t seem to care. Yet history attests to this; a passion for any of these views with a splash of ego, a drizzle of hubris, a pinch of self-righteous approval, a splash of some idiosyncratic dogma and a serving of any other dark human trait, and we are set for an argument, possibly a fight, maybe even a war.
This relationship determines how we see national governments pass laws that lie in the realm of morality. Should the government uphold a law that reflects Christian morals? Should the Church presume that the State should honour Christian morals? Can a Christian feel easy voting for someone who allows gay-marriage? Or abortion? Or war (whether it be “Just” or otherwise)? Or climate change? Or poverty? Or corruption? Or cronyism? Or mendacity? Or adultery? What about issues regarding race, gender, disability, age, socioeconomic background, propensity to work, mental health. Then there’s climate change, medical research, even banking regulations and tax. The list goes on.
The Rev holds opinions about these things, but sadly for you, Reader, he has little to no interest in conveying them. Not because he is an Anabaptist, though he sees how that notion is possible. He sees some value in all of ideas about how Church and State should live together and regularly looses sleep trying to pick a side and then finding reasons why he shouldn’t.
Whenever faced with the prospect, the Rev is often tempted to encourage people not to vote. Not because he doesn’t value the previous work of people who “died for the vote”. That would be foolish. It’s probably a glib response, but the Rev likes context and just does not see the Church’s role in fighting in the political sphere. There’s too many things at stake to worry about temporal policies. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The Rev views voting as a choice between a whole bunch of evils. No one party or policy will ever work perfectly. Policies may appeal to our senses or equally rub us up the wrong way. And Party Manifestos do not offer a holistic view of the context of the situation that the country finds itself in. Thanks in no small part to the media, governments will never give a holistic view as it goes against their own toxic agendas. Plus, people are too busy watching TV, attending sporting or entertainment events, going to work, preparing dishes from the latest TV chef’s new book, socialising, sleeping, yoga, the gym, etc. to do any real thinking.
Voting becomes a question of conscience. Understand this: you vote for a thing that may be good, but will also definitely be bad. The Rev sleeps easy at night though, knowing that while it seldom feels like it, in reality, this is all temporal. He is glad he doesn’t need to vote for Jesus.
So…. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)