It was my first day on staff at a new church. My pastor/boss (and now a good friend) and I were out on some errands. An election was about to happen, and we were talking politics. During our conversation, he said something like, “you can’t be a Christian and not vote for ‘Party X.'” In fairness, the conversation happened over 30 years ago, and ‘Party X’ no longer exists, but his statement raises this rather interesting (and very loaded) question. Does Jesus have a political favourite?
When I started working as a chaplain in the political arena, I knew that I couldn’t bring my political biases to work because it would limit my ability to serve members on both sides of the room. That was an important strategic decision, but it’s become a crucial educational decision for me too. I’ve spent the past 15 years enjoying the unique privilege of meeting politicians who love Jesus while serving across the political spectrum.
It’s important to understand that no political party or candidate (even your personal favourite) gets it right on all fronts every time. My goal in writing this article is to highlight one dominant strength/focus of the ‘Big Four’ Canadian political parties as they align with the scriptures. What follows is neither an endorsement nor a defence of a particular party or ideology.
Let’s start with Team Green. One of God’s earliest directives/commands to Adam and Eve was to care for the garden he had given them. (Gen. 2:15f) Team Green frames itself around the same mission that God gave to Adam and Eve. Team Green might be Jesus’ political favourite. (The first time I said this out loud was during a sermon at a friend’s church in oil and gas country. Their response wasn’t particularly enthusiastic, so I’ve been here before if you’re not shouting “amen!” right now.)
A Baptist pastor (Tommy Douglas) started Team Orange out of his faith convictions. James 1:27 tells us that pure religion cares for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. Jesus (in Luke chapter 4) proclaimed that he had come to bring good news to the poor and release the oppressed. No one across the political spectrum advocates so consistently for the weakest and most vulnerable in our society like Team Orange. Maybe Jesus would vote for Team Orange.
Just as we were launching Leading Influence, I was encouraged to attend a networking event in Vancouver. I trusted the advice of my friend and registered for the event. When I arrived, I opted to take the stairs and entered a room filled with well-dressed, happy people enjoying great food, drinks, and live music. I could have stayed all night and met new friends, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t in the right place. When I asked a server if this was the networking event, he replied, “Oh no, sir, this is the Liberal Party Fundraiser. Your event is on the mezzanine floor. You need to take the elevator and go up one floor to get there.” You can appreciate my disappointment when the networking event room was filled with generally angry people drinking coffee out of paper cups complaining about the people downstairs. The temptation to slip back into the original room did not pass quickly.
The idea of building a better Canada based on inclusion, respect, and cultural diversity has been a hallmark of Team Red. These are good values that resonate with the message of Revelation 22:17 (“…whosoever will may come.”). (Again, I’m capturing high-level ideologies and pointing out that there’s a scriptural foundation for it.) Based on his heart to include and empower people everywhere, Jesus might vote for Team Red.
Finally, we come to Team Blue. A strength of Team Blue is in its commitment to fiscal stewardship. Wise financial stewardship by the government ensures a bright and viable future for my children and ‘still pending’ grandchildren. The Bible has a lot to say about managing our resources well, which certainly applies at a national and provincial level. Jesus might vote for Team Blue based on their commitment to fiscal stewardship.
The complexities facing our nation are far beyond the scope of being solved by a single party or person. No one gets it all right. The beauty of God’s wisdom is that He has planted the values of His Kingdom across the political spectrum because there’s no single political ideology that can fully capture His heart/vision for a nation and people.
The complexities facing our nation are far beyond the scope of being solved by a single party or person. No one gets it all right.
In the same way, He has planted vision and passion for different aspects of the political spectrum in people’s lives. To paraphrase Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, “where would the Red, Blue, and Orange be if the whole body were Green?”
Christians can’t and shouldn’t be lumped into a voting block as though some groupthink binds us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made with diverse passions, vision, and values according to God’s purposes and plans for our lives. Jesus made you in a particular way that helps you see things through a unique grid that you can filter through the scriptures as you understand them. You can freely vote along those lines and retain your spiritual integrity.
Jesus doesn’t vote, but Canadian Christians have the opportunity to vote over the next week and a half. They should do so thoughtfully and prayerfully after measuring and evaluating the ideas and platforms of the ideology they share.
Enjoy the privilege and freedom of choosing your next MP. Straighten your neighbour’s lawn sign if it needs it because that’s something Jesus would do!
— Tim Schindel
This is part 2 of 2 in the ‘Jesus, Politics, and You’ mini-series. Read Part 1 here: Thinking About Voting