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A time to pray, a time to vote: A message from an “almost” American

US Capitol Building, Washington, DC Credit: Jason OX4/Flickr/Creative Commons

US Capitol Building, Washington, DC Credit: Jason OX4/Flickr/Creative Commons

It is election day in the USA and I would urge all the American Christians who visit this website to get out and vote.

Even though I am a Canadian and can’t vote in the US, I consider these elections important. Now to be fair, I am almost an American. When my maternal grandfather died over three decades ago at the age of 100, my parents made an unusual discovery as they were completing the necessary paper work.

They found out that grandpa Walter was not a Canadian citizen. He immigrated to Canada from the US in the early 1900s and never bothered to complete the paperwork of citizenship. He was effectively still an American.

And because he was an American, who had been born in the US, my Canadian mother could automatically become an American citizen, which she did becoming a dual citizen. Though she was an American, because she was not born in the US, her children did not have the same privilege. If we wanted to become Americans we would have to apply like everyone else.

We have since discovered that we are descendants of an infamous general from the American civil war, but that is a story for another day.

But despite my “almost” American citizenship, I will be watching the mid-term elections very closely. There are many issues at play that will affect people’s voting decision. For some it will be the economy, for others immigration, and for others social issues are important.

But I asked myself a question, if the Apostle Paul was alive today and he could vote what issues would guide his “x” on the ballot? He gave us a clue when he urged believers to pray for those in authority:

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASV)

He wanted believers to be able live “tranquil and quiet” lives. The Greek word translated “tranquil” (eremos) means being “untroubled by interference or disturbance” and the Greek word for quiet (hesychios) carries the same idea but adds the concept of being “free of uproar and noise.”

Since the second century BC, Roman Emperors such as Julius Cesar and Augustus had passed laws giving Jews the freedom to worship as they chose. Because Christianity was initially considered a sect of Judaism, Christians enjoyed the same rights.

However, it seems by this verse Paul sensed change was coming and was encouraging believers to pray. The apostle was right because he would eventually be martyred during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero who blamed Christians for burning Rome.

I suspect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience would have been what ultimately guided the Apostle Paul’s vote.

In recent years, a cultural Marxism has crept into American society and politics that wants to stifle and condemn religious freedoms particularly of those who are Christians.

We have Christian film producers being threatened with jail if they don’t film a gay wedding in Minnesota.

A Christian baker in Oregon was fined $135,000 for being unwilling to produce a $300 cake for a gay wedding. They had served this gay couple in the past so the issue was not personal, but the bakers disagreed with gay marriage and did not feel they should be compelled by the state to create a cake. Threatened and harassed because of their faith, the couple have since closed their business.

Is there a way to balance the religious freedoms of Christians with those of gays?

So I suspect the Apostle Paul’s advice is to vote for those politicians who unabashedly support religious freedom, so you can lead a “tranquil and quiet life.”

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