Sunday, 13 November 2016

Should Christians vote?

During the last UK election, some Church of England clergy got in a lather over comedian Russell Brand’s urgings for young people ‘not to vote’.

Lining up alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Norwich Graham Jones - who believes Christians ‘have a duty to vote’ - tried to counter the ‘profound effects’ of Russell’s comments. And of course, the church's views were endorsed by many of its followers who obediently formed an orderly queue at their local polling booths. 

Now, people of all religions (and none) have done the same in the US, with Evangelicals, Catholics and Protestants of every hue jostling to put their unholy crosses against their Chosen One - Clinton or Trump. We all know the result. Yet, the question is NOT why so many professed Christians helped Trump to triumph, but whether they should be voting AT ALL? Is getting involved with worldly politics consistent with Christ's teachings? 

If you really want the answer, check out Jesus’ own words at John 17:14, 16 and John 18:36, in which he makes it clear that nether he nor his followers were to be any part of the world. Indeed, Jesus had already showed his own determination to resist political involvement of any kind, refusing to become an earthly king as the crowds demanded  – John 6:15. And he identified the REAL ruler of this world in John 14:30.  (See also 1 John 5:19).

According to The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries – Augustus Neander (translated by H J Rose) “The Christians stood aloof and distinct from the state, as a priestly and spiritual race, and Christianity seemed able to influence civil life only in that manner which, it must be confessed, is the purest, by practically endeavouring to instil more and more of holy feeling into the citizens of the state.”

It was, in fact, their steadfast refusal to take part in military service or national politics which caused early Christians so much persecution from the State. In fact, many of Jesus' followers preferred to die in the Roman arena, facing lions or being burnt at the stake, than to lend their support to the government of the day. It was not until the 4th century, when pagan Rome assimilated Christian teachings, that faith in God's heavenly government - for which Jesus taught his followers to pray - became obscured and many forgot where their true loyalty should lie. (Matthew 6:10)

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