I resonate with so much of what the following says. Our Bishop sent this letter out to all of the parishes in our diocese this week. It really bothers me when people say that they can’t be bothered to vote or they don’t care enough about politics to vote. I want to shake them and ask them if they have any idea how many people would literally kill for the privilege which they so apathetically shrug off. The opportunity to have a say in the people that govern your country is an amazing privilege. Please do not dismiss it lightly.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,To live in a democratic Constitutional Monarchy as we do is a great privilege. We enjoy rights and freedoms as subjects and citizens (individually as well as corporately) which are unavailable to many people which make up the world’s population. Freedoms of speech, association, worship, and mobility are but a few of the freedoms which we enjoy in Canada. Our rights as citizens are enumerated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982), and are influenced by English Common Law as well as the French Civil Code.With these rights and freedoms comes great responsibility. Foremost among our responsibilities is the requirement that we work to ensure the ongoing nature of the rights and freedoms which we enjoy, and that these rights and freedoms are extended to all members of Canadian society. Networks for the promotion of issues of social justice exist and others are able to be developed as these questions are worked out among us as a society, and individuals and communities (including communities of Faith) are able to participated in the decision-making processes which bear upon and shape the issues of our day. Involvement in these as well as in other areas of our common life as Canadians and as Christians within Canadian society is political activity. To be human, and a member of a human community is to be political, and as people who believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, we who are called to enter into the daily life of the world in which we live are called to political involvement and action. Many men and women offer themselves for public service in the political processes which form government at all levels of our society. I am thankful for their sense of call to public service and I encourage you to pray for all those who offer themselves as candidates in the upcoming elections. Many of us are involved in movements which strive for freedom and justice. Some among us are candidates for public service and office. For all of us, however, the most basic political action is the exercise of our right to vote.A Federal Election is called for October 14, 2008.Municipal Elections [in BC] are called for November 15, 2008.I am not particularly interested in “party politics,” nor do I have either the right or desire to direct your vote; however, I do say that each of us has responsibility to exercise our right to vote. In March of this year, following the election in the province of Alberta, and the federal by-elections which were held, the print media was full of editorials and political cartoons expressing dismay over low voter turnout. For the maintenance and the continuing development of our system of government we have a responsibility to vote. For the men, women, and children of those areas of the world where people are disenfranchised or where their vote is regulated and directed, we have a responsibility to vote.The rights, freedoms, and the responsibilities which we enjoy in this country have been fought for, have been defended, and have been hard won through the years. Men and women from this country continue that fight on our behalf in other arenas of the world in an attempt to affirm, develop, and further the rights and freedoms of individuals and nations. One way that we can ensure that the sacrifices of so many is not in vain is to exercise our right to vote.Please do so, and encourage members of your family, friends, and acquaintances to do so as well.Sincerely,JamesBishop, Diocese of British Columbia.
Also found on the diocese website.