Those of us who straddle the two kingdoms (as all Christians do to some extent) are often perplexed at election time. Voting is taking place soon in both Canada and the USA; Christians are wondering what to do.

Those who belong to groups that were originally Calvinist think along the lines of influencing the government, voting in Christian politicians (at least those with whom they agree) and favouring an agenda that looks traditionally Christian. They will vote in blocs.

Those who may have come out of the Roman, Anglican or non-Calvinist Protestant churches are less likely, perhaps, to be concerned about how their church votes, but vote their own conscience.

The Anabaptists, for the most part, avoid voting.

Caveat: I do not vote. I am not able to vote in Canada as a non-citizen, and I do not keep a permanent address in the Untied States so I can’t vote in absentia.

I don’t see much use in voting. All political parties look about the same to me. They serve different groups of special interests, but even that shifts frequently. We don’t make much money, so paying taxes isn’t a big deal. We are willing to pay our share – we do use government services because there isn’t much choice. Roads need to be maintained, safety personnel hired, hospitals subsidized. Public school is necessary for most families. There are legitimate community needs that are supported by tax dollars.

Keeping personal income low is one way to avoid subsidizing  the war economy, the environmental degradation sponsored by government-backed resource exploitation companies, and unnecessary expenditures that fatten the wallets and Swiss bank accounts of government contractors. Don’t earn much, don’t buy much, and the government can’t take much.

The sad, sad truth is that greed fuels governments – not government as an abstract concept, but government as an industry in itself. The people in charge encourage us to earn and spend, or at least borrow and spend, because sales taxes make up a hefty portion of taxes, as do import duties on the things we buy. We buy megatons of stuff imported across the Pacific, and all of that gets taxed in more than one way. The importer pays duties and port fees; we pay sales taxes when we buy it; we pay local property taxes so it can be hauled away by our municipality when it’s broken a few weeks later. We all pay income taxes on the money we earned to buy this stuff, or on the money earned by selling the junk.

I think Christians need to avoid this black hole, or at least stay outside the event horizon. (An event horizon around a black hole in space – a black hole being a collapsed star with a huge gravitational pull – is the “line” beyond which it is impossible to escape.)

For the love of money is the root of all evil.

The rich man loses sleep over the profit he has made cornering the grain market. He needs to build bigger barns. He plots how to get richer, and how he will spend his money in pleasure.  Then in the still watches of the night, he hears a voice whispering in his mind, “You fool! Tonight your life will be taken from you. What good are your barns and profits now? Someone else will have them. You have wasted your time.”

The system of tax collecting is always rife with abuse. It always favours the rich; but what good does that do their souls? I’m not sure why anyone wants to be rich beyond the necessities of life. I am not a pleasure seeker myself; I do not have interest in status objects or activities.

Staying off that event horizon has made me wary of the governmental system. I would rather live my life quietly and under their radar.

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