09 Oct 2018 Canadian governance: is optimism a thing?
by Daniel Zekveld
As a young Christian interested in politics, I have heard questions such as, “Can Christians really be effective in politics today?” or “How much influence can you really have?” Other Christians will comment to the effect that politics is a hard task, and that it is difficult to retain the Christian faith while being involved in our political system.
As a new intern with ARPA, I was also asked by a classmate, “Doesn’t ARPA get discouraged by the number of cases they work so hard on, and then lose?”
In a culture like Canada’s, it’s easy to think this way. In fact, much of this may be true. Canada seems to be rapidly secularizing and attempts are being made to push Christianity to the sidelines. Christian influence is shoved aside to make way for the flood of secularist ideology sweeping through not only the federal government, but also provincial government and the individual homes of Canadians. And yes, ARPA loses many of their battles against secularist ideology, or so it seems.
This definite need is the very reason why I developed a desire to make a difference in the political sphere. Allow me to introduce my favourite quote from the Christian author C.S. Lewis:
“Again and again [the world] has thought Christianity was dying…But every time the world has been disappointed. Its first disappointment was over the crucifixion. The Man came to life again. In a sense-and I quite realise how frightfully unfair it must seem to them- that has been happening ever since. They keep on killing the thing that He started: and each time, just as they are patting down the earth on its grave, they suddenly hear that it is still alive and has even broken out in some new place. No wonder they hate us.”
– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Secularist ideology is, in many ways, aimed at “killing the thing that He started.” New and developing policies such as SOGI, euthanasia, and abortion do not necessarily physically kill Christians, but they attack fundamental Christian values like the family unit, human dignity and the sacred value of life created in God’s image.
Yet, I believe there is reason to hope, and reason to get involved. An experience from this past week in my internship with ARPA made it clear to me how there is so much encouragement in such a difficult job. Obviously, encouragement comes when a battle against an evil policy or piece of legislation is won. But even if these battles are lost, we as Christians are in this together.
Last Monday, we met with a Christian Member of Parliament. This MP was very open about his faith and his desire to fight for change in certain areas of Canadian policy. He was also excited and encouraged by the work ARPA does, work which, in many ways, supports those Christian MPs who desire to facilitate change.
We must be thinking of political endeavours on a broad scale. There are sincere Christians influencing every level of Canadian government. I am happily surprised by the number of stories about Christian MPs fighting for biblical policies and standards in Canada. There is mutual encouragement between Christian MPs and Christian lobbyist groups who work together for the common cause of the gospel in Canada. Their combined efforts mean that those working to marginalize Christianity will always be faced with the powerful reality “that it is still alive.”
While a career in politics is only one of the many ways in which Christians serve God, every Christian should be involved in politics where they can. Christians who know about the issues of the day, and how to discuss them with neighbours and co-workers, can have more impact than they think, and can be a great encouragement to fellow Christians who do choose this as a career.
It is true that many in the world hate Christians. Many in Canada want Christianity to die off. For Christians, however, our hope lies in Christ who has already won the victory; a victory which encourages us to fight the battles here on earth with confidence, regardless of the outcomes we may see in our lifetimes. We can know with certainty that Christianity will never die out, and in this faith, we can be God’s tools to show Canada that Christianity “is still alive and has even broken out in some new place.”