Tagged: elxn42

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Engaging with the Political System

Canadian FlagWith less than a week to go until the election, I’m going to try to summarize my general approach to faith and the political system. For more specifics on topics that have come up throughout our election season, check out the tag elxn42. The caveats for this post:

  • I’m talking about my context of a developed Western world democracy, specifically in Canada but most of the ideas would carry over.
  • Defining “politics” gets tricky. In a broader sense it simply means enjoying with the world around you, which is definitely necessary. Here I’m talking specifically about engagement with our government structure, particularly during election season.

Participating in Empire

This is typically the main question for traditional Anabaptists: to what degree do you participate in a system that is inherently anti-Christ? Among other potential conflicts, our governments – even our better democratic ones – rely on using force to get their way. This disproportionately affects marginalized groups who are harmed by the status quo. To what degree, if any, can we be a part of such a system while claiming to follow Jesus who lived and taught in ways sometimes strictly opposed?

Ethics and Justice - Holding Hands Across the World

Jesus and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Muslim woman in niqabThere has been a new development in the ridiculous debate in Canada about whether Muslim women should be allowed to dress as they like at citizenship ceremonies (not at any point requiring identification). The Courts previously shot down the Conservative policy that Muslim could not dress as they like because… well, because they’re Muslim and picking on them has picked up a lot of likely new voters before the election? I still haven’t really heard any actual reason beyond “we don’t like it because it’s different than us.” The Conservative government promised to take it to the Supreme Court to appeal and requested the policy be maintained in the meantime. Yesterday that request was denied.

I tweeted out that freedom wins and got this curious response:

and democracy looses[sic].What happened to the majority rules scenario!Like most things in Canada it’s gone to minority groups

Gender - Male and Female Gummy

Niqabs in Canada

Muslim woman in niqabRecently here in Canada, the Court struck down a move by our Conservative government that would require women to have their faces uncovered during citizenship ceremonies. Our Prime Minister referred to niqabs as un-Canadian. The Court disagreed and said she had the right to wear what she wanted under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, given there was no security risk or other argument against it. Now the government plans to appeal and it has become a bit of an election issue.

Islam and Niqabs

It is true that Islam as a whole does not require niqabs. I don’t think the Qu’ran requires any particular way of dress for women. It just says that both men and women should be modest. I haven’t read the Qu’ran, so I could be wrong on this, but I have seen Muslims saying the same thing. It is much more of a cultural thing for certain nations. Some of these were actually very open with how men and women dressed within the last generation or two. They were often very Westernized. Several wars later, understandably they wanted to distance themselves from Western culture. One way to do that was with clothing requirements for women.

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Scattered Thoughts on Faith and (Canadian) Politics

Canadian FlagIn our church’s adult Sunday School, we’re looking at the relationship between faith and politics this past week and the week upcoming. Here are some scattered thoughts from the first week:

Voting for the Marginalized

To me, the question for the Christian when considering who to vote is how the candidates/parties help those in need. Rhetoric during the election season is almost always about the middle class. Everybody wants to cut taxes, give more breaks, and provide more services for the middle-class. Nobody talks about the upper class, except indirectly when talking about keeping corporations in Canada. Rarely do they talk about the lower class because we prefer to pretend they don’t exist. (Municipal government do a lot better with acknowledging poverty, at least here in Kitchener)

Refugees on a Boat

Jesus the Refugee

Jesus and his parents Mary and Joseph were refugees.

God could have come as a prince or at least a priest. That would be a little more expected, at least from the perspective of privileged Western eyes. In the original Jewish context, steeped in the Hebrew Bible stories of refugees, immigrants, and other outsiders – the first time the command to “love your neighbour” is given, it is specifically in the context of immigrants – it would have made some sense, but despite that history many of them were still expecting a more privileged Messiah.

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Why I Won’t Vote Conservative This Election

We just passed the halfway point of Canada’s longest election since 1877. The incumbent Conservative Party called it earlier than usual after they had changed some rules allowing them to spend more money on a campaign the longer it goes, knowing they had the largest war chest.


For non-Canadian readers, our political spectrum has three major parties.

On the right is the Conservative Party of Canada. It used to be split in a few, but amalgamated into one party so spans the entire right wing.

The Liberal Party of Canada is traditionally the central party, although I would consider making the case they are the most left-wing of the big three this election.

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Jobs My Faith Wouldn’t Allow Me

There is lots of good commentary out there about why the whole Kim Davis story is ridiculous. She was elected to a government office that she wanted to fill, choosing to act as a representative of the government. She took an oath saying she would fulfill her duties without partiality, among other things. Now she has decided she doesn’t want to do her job. She doesn’t just resign, though. Instead, she insists that she gets to do her job her way instead of the way of her employer. The employer in this case is also the government, so by “their way” we really just mean “the law.” She thinks she is still entitled to the job that she refuses to do. Some Christians paint her as a martyr standing up for her religious freedom.

Let’s be clear here: there are no religious rights being violated. She hasn’t been told she can’t practice her religion. She hasn’t been told she can’t teach her religion to others. What she’s been told is that if she wants to keep her job, she has to keep actually doing her job. You know, like the conditions present for almost everybody else who has a job.