Canada is in the middle of what some people would call a “holy war.” People are not being murdered, but souls are at stake. The battle over same-sex marriage is growing more heated every day, and believers on both sides of the issue claim to have “the word of the Lord.” Politicians use God’s name in speeches, claiming to be believers; but sometimes it seems that they’re just using God’s name in vain.
Peter Goldring, a local Conservative Member of Parliament in Edmonton, Alberta, regularly takes out advertisements in smaller community newspapers in his riding (the area in which his constituents live) talking about the desperate need for affordable housing and other crucial social issues. He represents a part of the city consisting primarily of the inner city of Edmonton and other low-income areas. He regularly pleads for the more needy members of our hurting society, as Scripture commands all believers to do. But does Mr. Goldring truly hear and heed what the Bible says? He is actively participating in the Canadian holy war against same-sex marriage. His brand of “hate the sin, love the sinner” Christianity leads to division and alienation for individuals who know themselves as gay, lesbian, or transgender. Instead of becoming a bridge builder among the very people he has been called upon to serve, Goldring burns bridges without considering that his version of the truth might not be THE Truth – God’s truth.
After a very one-sided Town Hall meeting on the issue, Pedro Schultz, a local street pastor and writer for the Edmonton Street News, sent a telegram to Goldring requesting a more open forum to consider both sides of the issue. Goldring agreed to address the issue again only if someone else would be willing to conduct the part of the forum in favor of same-sex marriage.
Another example of someone who has faced the challenge of blending God and politics is Rev. Bruce Miller, former pastor of Robertson-Wesley United Church in Edmonton. The United Church of Canada is considered to be a leader in tackling social justice issues such as poverty and efforts to achieve global cooperation in the effort to bring about world peace. It is also one of the leading Christian advocates of same-sex marriage. Rev. Miller stepped out in faith last fall to run for local government. He ran a strong campaign and was elected to office as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Canada’s Liberal Party. He stands strong in his Christian beliefs and stands up for controversial issues such as same-sex marriage. When he speaks God’s name, it is not in vain – it is in the name of justice and respect and caring for the needy in all their forms.
Should Christians be involved in politics and speak up for injustice done by elected officials? How can we not? Scripture calls us to do as Jesus does. He was never afraid to say what he thought to those in power. He was never afraid to do the right thing. Would he have danced and changed water into wine at the wedding of two men or of two women? I believe he would have rejoiced in the love that united two lives in an eternal commitment.
So may we all.
South Carolina native Lana Phillips is a certified life coach and former social worker who studied at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a bachelor’s in psychology and English at Erskine College and an M.Ed. in educational and counseling psychology at the University of Louisville.