• February 04, 2020
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    Six Thoughts on Elections, By Botrus Mansour
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Six Thoughts on Elections,
By Botrus Mansour

 


The stance of Christian believers in Elections in Israel generally ranges between either taking a position of sympathy and great support to one of the parties, engaging "to the core" in the elections, or adopting an indifferent and "neutral" attitude, preferring to sit on the fence.
Christians wrestle about what is the Biblical opinion of a Christian sharing in elections and in political life in general? And what is the extent of acceptable and permissible participation?
Christian theologians and philosophers have presented studies and papers from various theological disciplines on this subject throughout the ages. I will not claim that I compete with them, but I will present a simple Christian perspective as an advocate and a teacher of Civics on the one hand and as a Christian who seeks to know God's will in various areas of life on the other hand.
Free elections are one of the manifestations of climaxes of democracy (in addition to the maintenance of minority rights and the rule of law). It is the best method of rule among nations as it grants man the value which the Lord bestowed on him when first created. Democracy allows him to decide and choose the best for him.
One may say that each election is different from the other, despite the similarity between them at the core of the electoral process. To clarify, the elections of a committee for the building where you live differ from parliamentary elections. In the first, the elected people organize matters related to co-existence and sharing the place of living (such as cleaning, parking and maintenance issues). In the second, the tasks of the elected revolve around peace, war, and economy.
I think that despite the wide gap between the two types, the essence is the same and whoever agrees to participate in one will not be able to claim the invalidity of his participation in the other.
Here are some considerations in this regard:
1 - God created man, then united man and woman in marriage and laid the foundations of the family institution. Then, the Lord confused the languages and different peoples and nationalities started to be. The Lord dealt with the different kingdoms: He blessed them when they honored Him and punished them when they showed disobedience. The Lord asked us to subject to governing authorities. Shall we neglect this institution which God has had in mind? Shall we become careless regarding those elected in such positions?

2 - What does the Lord mean when His Apostle Paul said: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." (Romans 13: 1)?
We are not in an age of Sultans “Emperors” (at least in the democratic regime that adopts free elections). I believe that the modern democratic concept of the "Sultan" does not denote a particular figure but it means the rule of law which holds the highest authority in the country. The head of the state subjects to this rule of law and it has the power to imprison any person; no matter how high is his position, if he breached the law.
Hence, the interpretation that everything the ruler decides should be accepted is incorrect, in my opinion. The opportunity given under the rule of law to object and demonstrate is necessary and essential in the state regime. This opportunity includes holding elections and selecting the most appropriate ruler or changing the current one.

3 - When the Jewish clergymen wanted to set the Lord up, they sent Him someone to ask if it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. The Lord asked them to show Him the tax money – a denarius, then He asked: “Whose image and inscription is this?” and then when they answered that it was Caesar’s, Jesus said the famous saying: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22: 15-21).
Theologians and exegesis’ scholars adopted the principle of separating religion from the state referring to the aforementioned statement of Jesus.
Hence, the principle of separating religion from the state supports the non-mixing of religious work in general (and church in particular) with the work of the state. Thus, the prevention of participation in elections by orders of church leaders contradicts the principle of separating religion from the state.

4. The believers in the Lord have a prophetic role which includes the dissemination of the principles of justice, peace, and righteousness. Hence, the process of electing people who present and support these principles is actually in line with the aforementioned prophetic role. To abstain from voting is to retire from the role of being light and salt which the Lord has assigned to us.

5. The Great Commission requires believers to communicate the Gospel throughout the globe. Hence, we must support parties and personalities that do not stand in the way of spreading the Gospel.

6. Non-voting is actually supporting the current situation that had been decided by others. If I do not vote, then I maintain the status quo. However, if I am a believer in whom the Spirit of the Lord dwells, and the Lord has implanted in me good values, then I should be the first to show my opinion and cast my vote.
As people of heavenly citizenship, we are required to perform our role as ambassadors on earth and as a lighthouse. If our vote in the elections contributes even a little to the elevation of righteousness and the fulfillment of our message on this earth - so it is better for us to go

 

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