September 12, 2019
Attention religiously minded voters: You matter to Canada’s 43rd general election.
You have a role to play in shaping the future of this fantastic country over the next 40 days of campaigning.
Embrace the reminder that ‘40 days’ is a call to prayer.
Our governments were designed to facilitate that we live in peace, godliness, and dignity (I Timothy 2:1-3). All candidates running are engaged in a great deal of self-sacrifice. They and the electoral process deserve and need our prayerful support.
A few things to watch out for in the 40 days ahead:
Discern: This is the first election campaign in Canada where agencies are policing our personal Facebook pages and ensuring Google algorithms do not deceive us. I was fooled the other day when someone sent me a WhatsApp on ‘pumpkin spice’ communion wafers. I was sure the church had gone to hell for their marketing and reposted my outrage only to find out it was fake…cleverly fake. Fake news (a.k.a. disinformation in Canada) preys on fast-acting emotions like this. Anger blurted out online over irksome content while hiding behind our social media personas, only increases our despondency — leaving us fearing the worst.
In a Canadian election first, there are teams at The Globe and Mail, CBC, the Privy Council, and other outlets all helping to sniff out fake news created by shady marketing hacks. So before getting stirred up, discern the credibility of the sources producing the emotions that arise when reading election issues.
Divide: Don’t let a few hot-button issues determine your vote. Abortion, end-of-life laws, conversion therapy, and tax-funded dramas of drag kids are important issues for Christians but are minor to election outcomes. If Christian voices and campaigns only circle around the moral ethics of personal choices, we miss out on supporting good candidates who navigate the complexity of public life and governance. It’s unwise to get tangled up in culture wars over individual choices if that means dividing ourselves from helping elect good candidates on the issues that shape our nation.
Determine: The faith identity we hold as individuals is a Charter right and freedom in Canada, and intrinsic to who we are—let’s live it loud. According to Pew Research, a whopping 69% of Canadian voters embrace a religious identity to some degree. Candidates running for office, and voters across the country, all have the right to express their faith views and should not shy away from expressing them in media, or public office. We shape our views on national issues like ethics, environment, economy, immigration and health care through the lens of our personal religious beliefs—stand proud for it.
Don’t let the faith that calls us to unselfish care for our neighbours become watered-down in this upcoming election.
Context Beyond The Headlines will kick off its season premiere with election coverage starting Wednesday, September 25, on YES TV.