It has been argued that as a religious figure ministers should stay out of politics. Some point to Jesus’ comment of “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” as a way of saying Christians should stay apolitical. But, to me, the Galilean tradesman and spiritual leader I follow was deeply political. He spoke for corporate responsibility, of care for the vulnerable, of the need for those with more to carry more responsibility. That said, I’m not writing this piece to tell you how to vote, but to encourage you to vote. That is to say, as people of faith we must carry out this basic civic responsibility.
It has been a challenging few weeks in the news cycle. Recently 215 bodies were uncovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC. These children died at the hands of a system whose entire purpose was to erase Indigenous people from the future of our country. Don’t believe me? Just ask Duncan Campbell Scott, a civil servant in the 1920’s who worked on residential school policies and said just that.
This past week the United Church called on the Canadian government to “intervene with Israel and de-escalate the spiralling violence and negotiate its end.” The Israel-Palestine conflict is not new news. Some of us are old enough to remember the years following the creation of the Israeli state in the late 1940’s, others grew up with news of on-going conflicts between Israel and its neighbours. Some of our high school history classes included sections dedicated to the conflict. Yet, many of us, when Israel and Palestine hits our newsfeed, feel unprepared to have a conversation about it.