Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Christian Case for Non-Voting

Over at "The Other Journal" Eric Paul yesterday published a thought-provoking essay called "Not-Voting as a Form of Christian Political Witness".  I don't know much about him or about his theological background, but the essay is very good.  In it, he articulates some ideas I expressed in my post about not voting, but he does so better and more thoroughly than I did.  He also articulates an understanding of voting as idolatry about which I only hinted.  I encourage you to read the whole essay (it isn't long).  But, if nothing else, at least read this paragraph:

"But as a Christian, as one who constantly tries (and often fails) to live into the pattern of the cross set before us through Jesus of Nazareth, I can’t help but question the ways our emphasis on voting shapes us into the practice of nation-state ethics.  I can’t help but wonder if voting parallels the ancient practice of burning incense to Caesar.  It becomes a tangible way in which we allow the nation to guide our stories rather than the cross of Christ.  We vote one way and we declare that we most align with the ideology of one party over others.  We allow that party’s narrative to drive our relationships with others.  But on a deeper level, we give ourselves over to the base ideology of American bodily existence.  In a way, voting acts as a social mechanism to pacify the masses.  Voting gives the appearance of a democratic process.  It gives us an illusion of freedom, an illusion of choice, all the while entrenching our communities into idolatrous notions of peace and prosperity.  I think it’s possible to conceive of voting as an act that actually does the opposite of what it proposes, in that it actually strips us of being politically engaged in any meaningful way as a body of Christ."