I guess I’m not a true blue Albertan because I don’t think that Pierre Elliot Trudeau had horns and a tail. Neither do I think that he was right about everything. I think that, like all politicians, he had some good ideas and some bad ideas. I think that, like all politicians (and all clergy – or even like all human beings) he operated from mixed motives: a desire to serve others and do good, mixed with a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of egoism.
Why am I talking about him? Because, of course, his son has just been
crowned elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and polls indicate that a lot of people like him (certainly 80% of the people who elected the new leader liked him!). He now carries all the hopes and dreams of Canadian Liberals, and of course he will be unable to deliver, because those hopes and dreams are probably unrealistic.
I’m not particularly a fan of Justin Trudeau; on the other hand, I’m not particularly a fan of Stephen Harper or Tom Mulcair, either. In fact, as a Christian I’m finding it more and more difficult to commit myself to any political party or ideology. This is because (as C.S. Lewis pointed out a long time ago in Mere Christianity) all of them have points of agreement and disagreement with the teaching of Jesus. And as a person who is doing my best to be a disciple of Jesus, I found myself bound to disagree with any political proposals which, in my view, disagree with the teaching of Jesus.
On my new favourite blog, Red Letter Christians, Tony Campolo writes:
At election time when you are asked, “Are you a Democrat or a Republican?” your answer should be, “Name the issue!” On any specific social or political issue, you must be ready and willing to work out which party and/or candidate best represents your convictions.
I think Tony is right.
Not that I have a quarrel with Christians who join a political party and work to get their candidates (or even themselves!) elected for that party. I do find it disquieting, however, when I see Christians who are obviously unconditionally committed to a political party. I have a problem with Christians (to take one example) who disagree on principle with everything a Liberal says, and agree on principle with everything a Conservative says. Given the current flawed and fallen state of the human intellect (mine included!), I don’t think it’s possible for any political party to get everything right!
More and more, I’m convinced that the best thing a Christian can do to make the world a better place is to follow Jesus and to put his teaching and example into practice in their daily life. I know I fall far short in this, but I’m going to make the attempt. And I’m going to resist the temptation to get on a political bandwagon and trust in any human ‘saviour’, whether left or right. Ultimately, all such trust is misplaced.
‘Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save’ (Psalm 146:3 NIV).
‘After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”’ (Mark 1:14-15 NIV).