to vote or not to vote?

I just wanted to plug a fascinating, exciting conversation that’s going on at the Christian Activist Network e-list about the virtues and vices of voting and not voting (or ultimately, what does discipleship look like in the context of our political system?). Rather than rehashing the entire thing over here, I’ll just suggest that anyone who is interested in following the conversation, or in being involved in it, subscribe to the e-list (go to and click on the Yahoo groups link). But here are a few tasters:

* “Surely the best way to get a better deal for the poor and the oppressed in Australian society is to have people in government whose policies are inclined to favour the poor and oppressed? If those who are on the side of the poor and oppressed don’t vote, then politicians with policies that favour those who already have many things will be elected and working for the poor and oppressed will be that much harder.”

* “Vote if you want to, for what its worth, but don’t get sucked into the myth that you are doing anything very political. Not voting, on the other hand, can be quite political in a country with compulsory voting.”

* “Ultimately this [voting] is similiar to the Empires compulsion to burn incense to Caesar. The burning of incense to Caesar was the acknowledgment of Caesars power, and diety. In a compulsory election, you are being forced to take part in a process that hands the authority,
and power to others to take human life, to imprison people, and to continue to see the oppression of others by state decree. By participating you are complicit in the handing over of power over others, to individuals.”

* “It’s a measure of how much stock we put in the world’s power and methods that we’re not willing to trust that God will make it come out alright, and that it won’t often look like we expect… And that’s really the bottom line for me…do we trust in the way the world works
or the way God works in Jesus? Even when it looks ineffective by the world’s standards? So I say vote or don’t vote if that’s what your community has discerned faithfulness to God to be, not because of a perceived outcome.”

Also, anyone interested in faith-based refusal to vote can attend a planning meeting tomorrow night (Thursday 25th) at 8pm at the Den (116 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne).

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