Jump directly to the content
How Canada Convinced Me Not to Vote

How Canada Convinced Me Not to Vote


Oct 22 2012
Why I won't be casting my ballot in two weeks.

A friend e-mailed weeks ago to ask my political opinion. Because of her newfound faith, she's approaching this election differently. Like most Christ-followers, Democrat and Republican, she wants to cast a "Christian" vote.

Her e-mail arrived the day Her.meneutics released its first eBook, What Christian Women Want This Election Season, which I advised her to read. Apart from this recommendation, however, I was stumped. In fact, I was feeling—and still feel—politically ambivalent. Voting is a great freedom and an important civic responsibility. However, a vote for president cannot express the breadth of Christian conviction.

Although political disengagement may not be a "moral option," I have decided I won't vote next month. Now that I am living in Canada, I would have needed to obtain an absentee ballot to vote, and I simply lacked the political will to bother.

Let me begin by sketching my demographic as well as my political voting history. I fit a Republican profile. I am white and, according to recent Gallup polls, wealthy. I was raised in a conservative evangelical home, and until 2008, have always voted Republican. This past affiliation has been owed primarily to my conservative stance on social issues informed by scriptural principle. I have wanted to defend human life, religious liberty, and the sacred institution of marriage.

But I have grown increasingly wary to affiliate with the Republican Party, for a number of reasons. To begin, I regret the influence of the Tea Party, which forces centrist and conciliatory Republicans toward more extreme political positions, effectively ensuring that Congress gets nowhere. I am also embarrassed by the apparent diminishment of Republican intellectual credibility reflected individually in statements from politicians like Todd Akin, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachmann. What's more, if ignorance weren't bad enough, how about generally boorish behavior? Whether it's hate mail sent to climate scientists (Katharine Hayhoe is a professing evangelical Christian) or Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute," some Republicans have just sounded bigoted and hateful.

Of course, people of red and blue ilk commit these sins. But I have one more reason for my hesitation to vote Republican this year. For this, I have my Canadian friends to thank.

One small step out of the American political landscape has been one giant leap of perspective. If one issue on the ballot this fall is the virtue of the social safety net and policies like the Affordable Care Act, Canadians have already cast their ballot. As an example, decades ago, they gave a majority "yes" to government-funded health care. Their health-care system, while not a perfect one, is a source of great national pride.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
Don’t Call Me Out at Your Wedding for Being Single

Don’t Call Me Out at Your Wedding for Being Single

The church can model a more inclusive community, one that doesn’t divide over marital status.
Why Google and BuzzFeed Need the Church

Why Google and BuzzFeed Need the Church

When big corporations make big moral decisions, where is the church’s voice?
Timehop Helps Me See God’s Providence

Timehop Helps Me See God’s Providence

How a social media app reminds me of God’s faithfulness in my life.
How Grandparenting Redeemed Our Family

How Grandparenting Redeemed Our Family

This Father’s Day, I celebrate my parents’ choice to move close to my kids.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

I’m a Woman Who Got Kicked Out of Women’s Bathrooms

Our zealous policing of gender norms can have unintended and hurtful consequences.

Twitter



What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
How Canada Convinced Me Not to Vote