Getting out the vote
October 16, 2019
Last weekend was “Muslim Vote Weekend,” when Muslims in 113 of Canada’s 338 ridings across six provinces and territories were encouraged in Friday sermons to vote in advance polls. Those ridings were chosen because they have enough Muslim residents to potentially influence election results. This strategy is an initiative of The Canadian-Muslim Vote (TCMV) “to increase the participation of Canadian Muslims in the Canadian democratic process” (muslimlink.ca).
Muslim voter turn-out has been lower than general turn-out rates due to barriers such as fear of political process, unfamiliarity, language, etc. (Global News Oct 13/19). Edmonton Imam Tamir Ali, quoted in the Edmonton Journal October 12, says working for the betterment of Muslims’ future is a religious mandate tied to working for “the best of Canada.” In support, Ali quotes Qur’an 3:110: “You have been raised as the best community, raised for mankind. You enjoy what is good and you forbid what is evil.” (The rest of Q3:110 describes most Jews and Christians as being “defiantly disobedient.”)
Elections Canada reports that advance polls are up 29% over 2015. It’s quite possible that TCMV’s efforts have contributed to this surge. And what is the Church doing?
Paul urges us to make “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings…for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Ti 2:1-4). Many prayer ministries, groups and churches are praying fervently. Many are insisting Christians need also to “stand on guard” by running for office, being a voice, actively supporting candidates, and voting.
Islam combines the religious with the political because of Muhammad’s example as “The Prophet,” military commander, judge, legislator and mayor. Muslim responses to his instructions on achieving power range from using political process (e.g. Muslim Brotherhood, Organization of Islamic Cooperation) to warfare (e.g. ISIS, Al Qaeda). Jesus warned His followers to beware the combination of religious and political spirits (Mk 8:15) and refused to take up political power (Mt 4:8-10, Jn 18:33-36). Christian responses to Jesus’ teachings are anywhere between believing politics is dirty and should be avoided to believing Jesus is either a conservative or a socialist. What shall we do, and how shall we pray?
Lord Jesus, forgive us for…
- any way in which our hearts believe that human government is our source of supply and security
- being silent when You are calling us to be Your voice in our circles of influence and in our society
- extending mercy to what You are judging, or judging what You are being merciful to
By Your Spirit, help us…
- seek Your Kingdom and Your righteousness first, knowing that You will supply our needs (Mt 6:33)
- rightfully “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Lk 20:22-26, 23:2)
- find the right combination of grace and truth, righteousness and love, in our words and deeds
- the place You’ve prepared in advance for us to do the good work of bringing Your presence into our culture (Ac 1:8, Eph 2:10) and function there as ambassadors for the King (2 Co 5:18-20)