I’ve taken my son with me each and every time I’ve voted in his lifetime–municipally, provincially, and federally. What’s struck me the last few times he’s accompanied me to the polls is how insightful his questions are and how deeply he thinks about some of the issues. It’s exciting to be part of helping him to become an informed and engaged citizen!
One of the hardest things about the election period is making sense of how our faith shapes our response to the campaigns. My commitment to Jesus means I feel the need to ask some particular questions of candidates and party leaders: not as some shibboleth or litmus test that they need to get right, but to see how they make decisions–and particularly how they care for the dignity and well-being of all Canadians as individuals as well as Canada as a community. I think of these questions as a work of discernment: where is God leading us? How do I share in caring for my fellow Canadians? These are matters of faith, and my responses are grounded in the promises I’ve made in the baptismal covenant.
The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) has issued a helpful guide entitled Justice, and Only Justice, Shall You Pursue. It offers background information to some critical topics that face Canadians, together with suggested questions we might ask candidates. It also has resources for ways we can learn more about those topics and get involved beyond the campaign period. The 2019 focal points include refugees, peace and disarmament, climate, reconciliation, poverty, palliative care, religious freedom, sexual exploitation, and public health care.
I encourage you to check out the CCC’s guide. It’s a great starting point for conversations that the Anglican Church of Canada has been part of for many years, and that we as Canadians need to be part of as we desire–and work for–a better country.