Friday Five: Jesus and Politics

Over at a newly discovered blog, RevGalBlogPals, there is a tradition of asking bloggers five questions on Fridays. As a Canadian, I thought this set was intriguing. I’ll give ‘er a go:

Well it may or may not have escaped the notice of many that over in the UK we have been awaiting the results of the General Election…. it has been the most closely fought election for many years, and the result…a hung or balanced Parliament, with no outright winner… and it has got everybody talking…
So what do you think about the mix of faith and politics:

1. Jesus a political figure: discuss…

Definitely. Jesus was living in a time of violent political conflict, how could he not be? He encouraged the victims and spoke out against oppressive laws that preyed on the poor to increase the status and treasuries of the powerful.

2. Politics in the pulpit, yes or no and why?

Politics, yes, partisanship, no. Right now in Canada we are living with an increasingly autocratic conservative government. While I recognize that, compared to the US, this government is a bunch o’ hippies, I am increasingly struggling with speaking out against legislation, like cutting funding to our social justice arm and calling us anti-semitic, cancelling funding to women’s groups that work for safe abortions in other countries and other women’s groups “just because” it seems. While not specifically naming the political party, my partisan politics are becoming more and more publicly clear. I likely won’t know how partisan I am myself until another party takes the Parliament and starts doing similar things. Will I speak out as vocally?

3.What are your thoughts on the place of prayer in public life…

As a chaplain, I am often asked to offer grace at meals and opening “meditations”. I do it when asked and try to keep an interfaith context. I think public life could use some time and space for reflection, to give thanks, to just be silent. But politics are for preaching, not prayers.

4.Is there a political figure, Christian or otherwise that you admire for their integrity?

I like Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine. I appreciate his honest grappling with evangelism and social justice, recognizing that social justice is not solely in the realm of liberals.

5.What are your thoughts on tactical voting, e.g. would you vote for one individual/party just to keep another individual/ party from gaining power?

We are living in a minority government right now, and, as of yet, I have not voted strategically. In the last election we had an interesting system in Canada called vote swapping. In order to defeat the incumbents in government (Conservatives), members of the two leading opposition parties (Liberals and NDP) set up a system whereby a Liberal in a riding where the NDP were second in the polls would agree to vote NDP in exchange for an NDP voter in a riding where the Liberals were second in the polls would agree to vote Liberal. After four years of minority (hung) Parliament we are facing yet another election, and depending on where I am living, I may vote strategically because our current Conservatives are winning mostly due to voter apathy and too many different parties in the opposition.

Oh my. I hope that makes sense.

Bonus- is there a song which might sum this all up- if so post a video or a link…

Our current political environment is certainly not the fault of Her Royal Majesty, and I am rather fond of our Queen and our Governor General, but the Sex Pistols seem to have the right sentiment.

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