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Question: Should Orthoddox cast votes for people of other faiths?
Absolutely - 17 (81%)
Not at all - 1 (4.8%)
Sometimes - 3 (14.3%)
Unsure - 0 (0%)
With special permission - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 21

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Author Topic: Should Orthodox Christians cast 'votes' for people of various faiths?  (Read 2743 times) Average Rating: 0
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Amdetsion
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« on: October 08, 2008, 06:36:01 PM »

I have thought much about the issue of 'voting' in a political, civil atmosphere for people who are non-adherent to the teaching of the Holy Church as it comes down to us from the Jerusalem and the Holy Apostles.

It seems that our fathers who gave up their lives for Christ...the True and only Word .... so that we the 'believers' might live (amongst the world) in truth according to a divine plan that has been prepared for us by God and fulfilled in the Blood and Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. That plan and divine and Blood and Body of Christ is the whole Church which is rich in grace by the power of the Holy Spirit. This Church is undefiled and indivisible which will not be prevailed against from within it or from out of it.

If we are truly one in Christ than we are Holy. Then who shall lead that which is Holy in this world?

The scripture says "Holy things for the Holy".

Do we have a trust in those who have a semblance of the faith but not truly ONE with the whole church? Do we trust them to lead us? If so then where are they leading us Holy people to?

Maybe we accept them as good leaders and do not distinguish by "religion"?

That makes sense to do on the surface. But when we look deeper we are Holy people and belong only to the Church which is Jesus Christs. We are led by our trust and faith in Him who has the power to save, heal, and resurrect from the dead. His Word is pure.

The word of man is measured by Gods Word. If the word of man is approved by that which is held by the Holy Church which is Universal, Apostolic and Orthodox or (unchanged) than with the 'faith' and 'works' of man following we may concur. But if we find that the word of man (or a 'a man')is not approved by the 'Holy Church' then his faith and actions are not approved either. It seems that we (the church) will not hear man ('men') or any person on this ground. We are to ignor them by knowing the real truth. This is not the same as 'ignoring' in the common sense of the term.

It is hard to accept the burden of the true faith in this age of the world especially if our hearts are divided between it and the world.

WE want to be productive in the world to make a difference. Of course. I agree with that. I look forward to that every day.

But the question is:  To what extent?

I hope to gain the insight of others on the point.

I offer these few (among many) scriptural references for observation.

1st  Timothy Chapter 4 Verses 6 and 7
004:016    Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.



2ND Timothy Chapter 4 Verses 3 and 4
004:003    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
004:004    And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.


Romans Chapter 16 Verses 17 and 18
016:017    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
016:018    For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple


Romans Chapter 15 verses 4 through 7
015:004    For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
015:005    Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
015:006    That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
015:007    Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.


1st Thessalonians Chapter 2 verse 8
002:008    So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 08:46:20 PM »

Yet St. Paul also instructs us to submit to the governing authorities:

Quote from: Romans 13:1-7
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Whatever form of government exists is therefore ordained of God and is worthy of such treatment. In democracies, then, whenever an election is called, it is our duty to vote, just as it is our duty to pay taxes. We are not accountable for the decisions of others; what the politicians do is their own responsibility. But we are accountable to society, and part of being subject to the governing authorities in a democratic society is to vote.
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2008, 09:53:58 PM »

Quote
Whatever form of government exists is therefore ordained of God and is worthy of such treatment. In democracies, then, whenever an election is called, it is our duty to vote, just as it is our duty to pay taxes. We are not accountable for the decisions of others; what the politicians do is their own responsibility. But we are accountable to society, and part of being subject to the governing authorities in a democratic society is to vote.

Not to be pedantic, but the United States is not (or is not supposed to be) a democracy.

I should add though, that the Founding Fathers in the United States very specifically did not make voting a "duty".  There are many different motivations for not voting, and laziness is very different from principled abstention.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 09:56:24 PM by Maksim » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 10:08:26 PM »

Yet St. Paul also instructs us to submit to the governing authorities:

Quote from: Romans 13:1-7
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Whatever form of government exists is therefore ordained of God and is worthy of such treatment. In democracies, then, whenever an election is called, it is our duty to vote, just as it is our duty to pay taxes. We are not accountable for the decisions of others; what the politicians do is their own responsibility. But we are accountable to society, and part of being subject to the governing authorities in a democratic society is to vote.

Are you sure about this?

I believe that this reading regards St.Pauls instructions to the faithful regarding the Church hierarchy and system of 'governance' that is ordained for us and that this governance rules our lives. He uses worldly metaphors like "taxes" and "governor" to attend to the point that we are to submit to the Church like we do to worldly governments.

Even today the faithful keeps the government of God for their lives at arms distance. A there when I need it and not when I do not mentality; but we follow to the letter the government of man with endurance, submission and great respect. We ar not so dilligent with Gods "government' which is the commandments of Jesus Christ, the rule of hierarchy and the doctrine of the fathers. We follow these "church" things if we feel like it. St Paul is teaching that this is wrong.

The government for the faithful is in the Holy Church. So if I am understanding this reading correctly what you posted from St Paul serves to support that we are subjects of God and not man. Thus the character and nature of our leaders are to be one with the faith of Christ the way 'we' beleive first.

It seems that we are not to be led by non-beleivers.

 
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2008, 11:39:49 AM »

Yet St. Paul also instructs us to submit to the governing authorities:

Quote from: Romans 13:1-7
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Whatever form of government exists is therefore ordained of God and is worthy of such treatment. In democracies, then, whenever an election is called, it is our duty to vote, just as it is our duty to pay taxes. We are not accountable for the decisions of others; what the politicians do is their own responsibility. But we are accountable to society, and part of being subject to the governing authorities in a democratic society is to vote.

Are you sure about this?

I believe that this reading regards St.Pauls instructions to the faithful regarding the Church hierarchy and system of 'governance' that is ordained for us and that this governance rules our lives. He uses worldly metaphors like "taxes" and "governor" to attend to the point that we are to submit to the Church like we do to worldly governments.

Even today the faithful keeps the government of God for their lives at arms distance. A there when I need it and not when I do not mentality; but we follow to the letter the government of man with endurance, submission and great respect. We ar not so dilligent with Gods "government' which is the commandments of Jesus Christ, the rule of hierarchy and the doctrine of the fathers. We follow these "church" things if we feel like it. St Paul is teaching that this is wrong.

The government for the faithful is in the Holy Church. So if I am understanding this reading correctly what you posted from St Paul serves to support that we are subjects of God and not man. Thus the character and nature of our leaders are to be one with the faith of Christ the way 'we' beleive first.

It seems that we are not to be led by non-beleivers.

 
I don't know. Undecided  It seems to me that your exegesis of this passage from Romans runs totally counter to what I understand to be the traditional understanding.  As I read it, St. Paul's mention of rulers weilding the sword and our duty to pay taxes makes this specifically an instruction to honor those in civil authority over us.  Did not Jesus Himself say, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's ..."?
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2008, 11:57:13 AM »

I believe we do have to vote. Yes, it's true that there are no countries in the world where the government would consist entirely of devout Christians; the vast majority of politicians are opportunists who have little or no faith in God, but simply use public declarations of faith and "standing on issues" as a tool to increase their popularity. Yet, if we do not vote, how can we then make any contribution into improving the state our countries are in? We are "God's fellow workers." In His redemptive work, He counts on us...

In short, I think all politics is evil, but voting is a lesser evil then non-voting. I personally have a serious guilt issue with the fact that I am not a citizen of the USA (just a legal permanent resident) and therefore I cannot vote where I live. Theoretically, I can vote for Ukrainian politicians, but practically it's too cumbersome and my wife and I do not do that, either.
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2008, 12:08:54 PM »

Quote
Whatever form of government exists is therefore ordained of God and is worthy of such treatment. In democracies, then, whenever an election is called, it is our duty to vote, just as it is our duty to pay taxes. We are not accountable for the decisions of others; what the politicians do is their own responsibility. But we are accountable to society, and part of being subject to the governing authorities in a democratic society is to vote.

Not to be pedantic, but the United States is not (or is not supposed to be) a democracy.

I should add though, that the Founding Fathers in the United States very specifically did not make voting a "duty".  There are many different motivations for not voting, and laziness is very different from principled abstention.
Did I mention the United States? We are not discussing the United States' politics, but rather the role of a Christian living in a democratic society, specifically with regard to whether we have an obligation to vote.
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2008, 12:32:16 PM »

"render unto Caesar..." Hopefully our  Orthodox world view will enable us to make decisions for government leaders who will maintain Orthodox beliefs and protect them from intrusion from worldly interests. In a democracy at least we can choose those who lead us unlike other systems in which leadership is forced upon the population.

Thomas

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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2008, 01:11:07 PM »

Quote
Did I mention the United States? We are not discussing the United States' politics, but rather the role of a Christian living in a democratic society, specifically with regard to whether we have an obligation to vote.

Who mentioned democracy?  Smiley

Even still, I don't think it can be said that there is an obligation to vote when voting is voluntary.  If there is no candidate who you can vote for in good conscience, then I think it's perfectly acceptable to abstain.
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2008, 01:17:09 PM »

"render unto Caesar..." Hopefully our  Orthodox world view will enable us to make decisions for government leaders who will maintain Orthodox beliefs and protect them from intrusion from worldly interests. In a democracy at least we can choose those who lead us unlike other systems in w=hich leadership if forced upon the population.

Thomas

It seems to me that the Holy Church is in itself set apart form the world and 'its' governments. The USA believes in 'separation of church and state'.

If the body of believers are 'in' Christ which means that we are 'in' the church and 'out' of the world; how do we participate with an idea and way of life that requires us to 'separate' from God and the true faith that is our whole life even for a moment?

It seems to me that we should not have any interest in 'separating' from our God (which is the Holy Church) for any reason, purpose or any span of time.

Considering that all politicians (in America) subscribe to this "separation" how do we find oursleves voting in and for people of such an openly Godless, Churchless system?

What is the Holy Orthodox Church teaching that we use to incorporate ourselves with those who are admittedly un-incorporated from Gods Church and thus Gods commandments?

It is not easy issue to me.

I have yet to see an Orthodox Clergymen run for office or voting in these political systems.
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2008, 01:38:00 PM »

I don't think it can be said that there is an obligation to vote when voting is voluntary.  If there is no candidate who you can vote for in good conscience, then I think it's perfectly acceptable to abstain.

Perhaps you are right. Yes, abstaining should be an option, too.
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2008, 08:49:52 PM »

Quote
Did I mention the United States? We are not discussing the United States' politics, but rather the role of a Christian living in a democratic society, specifically with regard to whether we have an obligation to vote.

Who mentioned democracy?  Smiley
So you assumed that since I mentioned democracy, I must of necessity be talking about the United States?
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2008, 10:59:27 PM »

"render unto Caesar..." Hopefully our  Orthodox world view will enable us to make decisions for government leaders who will maintain Orthodox beliefs and protect them from intrusion from worldly interests. In a democracy at least we can choose those who lead us unlike other systems in w=hich leadership if forced upon the population.

Thomas

It seems to me that the Holy Church is in itself set apart form the world and 'its' governments. The USA believes in 'separation of church and state'.

If the body of believers are 'in' Christ which means that we are 'in' the church and 'out' of the world; how do we participate with an idea and way of life that requires us to 'separate' from God and the true faith that is our whole life even for a moment?

It seems to me that we should not have any interest in 'separating' from our God (which is the Holy Church) for any reason, purpose or any span of time.

Considering that all politicians (in America) subscribe to this "separation" how do we find oursleves voting in and for people of such an openly Godless, Churchless system?

What is the Holy Orthodox Church teaching that we use to incorporate ourselves with those who are admittedly un-incorporated from Gods Church and thus Gods commandments?

It is not easy issue to me.

I have yet to see an Orthodox Clergymen run for office or voting in these political systems.

Government is there as a result of the corruption of the people in society.  If it wasn't for this corruption, there would be no government, just as if there weren't dissident and angry countries, there would be no war or peaceful negotiations depending on what happens.  We vote for what we believe is the correct way to lead this country.  And for what we know, concerning political philosophy, there is no wrong answer.  Wink  Only because it is so secular.  There is no duty for a Christian to vote or not to vote, but there is a duty for Christians to be loyal to whatever government we belong to, so long as loyalty does not cross the line into our religion and spirituality.  After all, the Coptic Patriarch, HH Pope Shenouda in Egypt encouraged Copts to vote for President Hosny Mubarak (while I have my reservations for him doing that, I don't see anything inherently wrong in him doing so...well...that's another debate).

As Christians, if we are to destroy all trace of war and government, we conquer them with our love and humble loyalty.  We can even show such loyalty here in the US as voters in support of our country without jeopardizing our roles as being "separate from the world."  Just as voting can be compared as going to war, even if it be with the heterodox, so did many of our precious saints in the Church show their Christian loyalty in enlisting in the army fighting side-by-side with Roman pagans (until they were killed once laws against Christianity were passed), saints like St. Maurice, St. Mina, St. George, St. Merkurios, etc. 

As an anonymous Christian would say in the ancient times "We are separate from the world, yet part of it.  We love the world even though the world hates us."

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.iii.ii.v.html
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.iii.ii.vi.html

I truly wish to know the man or woman who wrote this epistle.  It is filled with such beauty and truth as what exactly a Christian should be.  This should be part of the Bible.

God bless.
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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2008, 10:47:00 AM »

minasoliman

I am aware that we as 'christians' are in the world but not of it. This is widely taught even among protestants and other religions.

I am am concerned more so with the Holy Church.

I am not a person who equates being "christian" with being part of th Holy Church.

People decide what they want to believe, say and do albeit they are "christian".

In stark contrast members of the Body of Christ (people of God) follow the commandments of Jesus Christ witout conflict or indifference. The ways of the world are abandoned. As 'people of God' we are in the world to bring ligt into it. To be the sign and seal of truth and justice which is in Christ.

If the above is true than how can we accept being 'party' to Godlessness?

The key word here is "party". We are justified it seems to suffer trial in the world for Christs sake and not for our own purposes. WE are serving NOT living in the world.

Why do we need to 'participate' in elections that embrace a governmental system of the world that is void of truth?

Is it not enough that we are to endure the trials of this world that we add to the suffering by complicity with it?

Because we are in the world?

Is that the reason? 

Of course we are not haters of others or governments. We (Gods people) love all people and are the first to follow the authority of the land without any problem. Electing people 'in the world' to be over us (we who are not of the world) and the lands we are in; well.. that is another aspect all together I think.

This process of governing in the world does not always agree with the commandments of God that WE are following. So since we are not 'obligated' to vote it seems that we are best to opt-out in lieu of participating in something that is very likely heap sin on us down the road. We should also opt-out of running for these 'offices'. To me it seems we already have our calling.

Its seems that we are just not intererested in participating in the system never-the-less. WE are pre-occupied with our 'Heavely' citizenship which is on 'earth' (not in the world)which the union of the Holy Universal Church.
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 11:35:51 AM »

Have fun not voting. Just remember, though, by abstaining, you give up your right to complain.
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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2008, 11:58:36 AM »

Have fun not voting. Just remember, though, by abstaining, you give up your right to complain.

I draw a distinction between people who actively choose not to vote because of reasons of conscience or conviction as opposed to the vast majority of people who do not vote out of ignorance or laziness.  The former can complain all they want, but the latter really shouldn't open their mouths, IMHO.
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2008, 12:04:40 PM »

minasoliman

I am aware that we as 'christians' are in the world but not of it. This is widely taught even among protestants and other religions.

I am am concerned more so with the Holy Church.

I am not a person who equates being "christian" with being part of th Holy Church.

People decide what they want to believe, say and do albeit they are "christian".

In stark contrast members of the Body of Christ (people of God) follow the commandments of Jesus Christ witout conflict or indifference. The ways of the world are abandoned. As 'people of God' we are in the world to bring ligt into it. To be the sign and seal of truth and justice which is in Christ.

If the above is true than how can we accept being 'party' to Godlessness?

The key word here is "party". We are justified it seems to suffer trial in the world for Christs sake and not for our own purposes. WE are serving NOT living in the world.

Why do we need to 'participate' in elections that embrace a governmental system of the world that is void of truth?

Is it not enough that we are to endure the trials of this world that we add to the suffering by complicity with it?

Because we are in the world?

Is that the reason? 

Of course we are not haters of others or governments. We (Gods people) love all people and are the first to follow the authority of the land without any problem. Electing people 'in the world' to be over us (we who are not of the world) and the lands we are in; well.. that is another aspect all together I think.

This process of governing in the world does not always agree with the commandments of God that WE are following. So since we are not 'obligated' to vote it seems that we are best to opt-out in lieu of participating in something that is very likely heap sin on us down the road. We should also opt-out of running for these 'offices'. To me it seems we already have our calling.

Its seems that we are just not intererested in participating in the system never-the-less. WE are pre-occupied with our 'Heavely' citizenship which is on 'earth' (not in the world)which the union of the Holy Universal Church.
It seems to me that you have drawn too much of a distinction--should I say dualism--between two "warring" factions.  Us vs. them...  The Church vs. the World...  The Church vs. the Godless "heathens"...  I'm not sure, though, that this construction of dichotomies is totally Orthodox.
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2008, 12:06:57 PM »

I do not understand those who do not vote because of a conviction. It seems to me that most of the time hey are under a delusion that they are liable for the actions of those for whom they vote. In reality, they are, by not voting, giving more power to those who do.
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2008, 12:21:08 PM »

I do not understand those who do not vote because of a conviction. It seems to me that most of the time hey are under a delusion that they are liable for the actions of those for whom they vote. In reality, they are, by not voting, giving more power to those who do.

But if one is so opposed to all the candidates running in an election (let's be honest, in most all elections, write-ins are a joke) for actual reasons of conscience, one is bound by that same conscience to not vote.  Take the upcoming presidential election, for example (NOTE: THIS IS A HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE (ALBEIT BASED ON REAL PEOPLE).  If one is truly fearful of Sen. McCain's well established hawkish nature to the point of fear that a Republican vote means a vote for what one feels will be immoral war and is utterly disgusted by Sen. Obama's unabashed support for abortion (also note, these are just two issues from a possible catalog of disagreement with both candidates), one would be violating one's conscience to vote for either of them.

There's also the case in my own congressional district where the incumbent is running against one opponent of whom I know very little about and that's certainly not for the lack of trying.  I am not a supporter of the incumbent, but I also cannot support his opponent because the man seems to be running just because he can.  In this case, voting for either would be a violation of my conscience on one hand and a blind vote on the other.  The rest of the contests in my neck of the woods are unopposed races for judicial seats.

Combine the two, and it's not very hard to understand why someone would stay home from the polls out of protest.
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2008, 12:28:08 PM »

I draw a distinction between people who actively choose not to vote because of reasons of conscience or conviction as opposed to the vast majority of people who do not vote out of ignorance or laziness.  The former can complain all they want, but the latter really shouldn't open their mouths, IMHO.

EXACTLY.  What, I can't complain that one of the candidates scares me to death domestically, while the other scares me to death w/his foreign policy, so I can't in good conscience vote for either?

Aaaaand ditto Schultz' second post, done while I was away from the PC.
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« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2008, 08:13:38 PM »

minasoliman

I am aware that we as 'christians' are in the world but not of it. This is widely taught even among protestants and other religions.

I am am concerned more so with the Holy Church.


Fr. Dn. Amde, normally, I'd try to understand your stand on many things and give you the benefit of the doubt.  But I would personally take offense at this.  This is no Protestant teaching.  This is Orthodoxy I am telling you.  I gave you what is considered a Church father, or a first century Christian that calls himself "Mathetes."  I gave you examples of men who enlisted and fought in the army, also a worldly organization.  It seems to me Fr. Dn., if there's anyone you're calling a Protestant, it's not me, but the witness of Orthodox saints and holy fathers.

I'd seriously hope you didn't really mean those words.  You were asking a question; you're not preaching to the choir.
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« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2008, 09:24:21 PM »

I do not understand those who do not vote because of a conviction. It seems to me that most of the time hey are under a delusion that they are liable for the actions of those for whom they vote. In reality, they are, by not voting, giving more power to those who do.

But if one is so opposed to all the candidates running in an election (let's be honest, in most all elections, write-ins are a joke) for actual reasons of conscience, one is bound by that same conscience to not vote.  Take the upcoming presidential election, for example (NOTE: THIS IS A HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE (ALBEIT BASED ON REAL PEOPLE).  If one is truly fearful of Sen. McCain's well established hawkish nature to the point of fear that a Republican vote means a vote for what one feels will be immoral war and is utterly disgusted by Sen. Obama's unabashed support for abortion (also note, these are just two issues from a possible catalog of disagreement with both candidates), one would be violating one's conscience to vote for either of them.

One could argue for a duty in popular sovereignty to take one, but that would be just that, an argument.

Quote
There's also the case in my own congressional district where the incumbent is running against one opponent of whom I know very little about and that's certainly not for the lack of trying.  I am not a supporter of the incumbent, but I also cannot support his opponent because the man seems to be running just because he can.  In this case, voting for either would be a violation of my conscience on one hand and a blind vote on the other.  The rest of the contests in my neck of the woods are unopposed races for judicial seats.

My barbar actually once gave me good political advice on unopposed judges: if you don't like what the courts are doing (easy to call in Cook County) vote no.

Quote
Combine the two, and it's not very hard to understand why someone would stay home from the polls out of protest.

Yes, a protest vote, or non-vote, can be a moral choice.
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« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2008, 03:06:30 AM »

Yes, a protest vote, or non-vote, can be a moral choice.

I don't believe staying home to not vote out of protest, or a "protest vote" is something that helps.  It's simply a non-vote.  Imagine this:  if there's a third-party candidate you like, and half of the US don't vote unless they found out about this candidate, man, that would make the protest much louder.  After all the millions both candidates spend and all the debates they've been through, and guess who becomes the president:  someone you might actually agree with.

A "protest vote" is just as good as a lazy person not voting.  You're letting the candidates have a better shot of winning than making a statement.  In fact, when someone mentions "The American people has chosen a candidate," that statement says a lot more than just voters helping someone to win.  They actually call voters Americans.  To not vote I believe would not be helpful at all, especially if you're a citizen.  Better to vote third party than not vote at all.
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« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2008, 08:07:22 AM »

I don't believe staying home to not vote out of protest, or a "protest vote" is something that helps.  It's simply a non-vote.

(this is a re-print of a position I took in another conversation with a OC.net user...)
I strongly disagree with you - an abstention is a valid choice, and certainly at times a moral imperative.

While I plan on voting on all my local issues, the Presidential race has me in a quandry; on the one hand, I cannot vote for (Candidate 1) because I disagree with him on too many issues to say it's ok; and I certainly do not believe that he is a classical (Party 1), something which I consider myself.  On the other hand, I cannot vote for (Candidate 2) because of a laundry list of reasons, which I can sum up simply by saying that I am more a traditional (Party 1) than anything else.  While (Candidate 3) is a tempting choice, again I am left in a quandry about the issues we disagree on, which are more than just superficial ones.

What's really interesting is that I'm in this position after not being able to vote in the previous two presidential elections: the first one (8 years ago) I was very ill and in bed all day; the second one (4 years ago) I was actually disenfranchised, never receiving the absentee ballot I had requested.  So now I approach my first Presidential election, and I find myself unable to vote for any of the reasonable and potential candidates because of a huge list of reasons.

And one big reason, influenced by my faith first of all: when one is presented with a choice of the lesser of two evils, it is perfectly ok, in fact a moral imperative, to not vote for evil.  An abstention is still participation in the democratic process; any true civics class, set of Rules of Order, or one of countless historical examples will remind you of that; and at times, the abstention is the only weapon left for the objector.
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« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2008, 08:22:05 AM »

To not vote I believe would not be helpful at all, especially if you're a citizen.  Better to vote third party than not vote at all.
I agree with you here. With the dozens of people running for President, surely there's someone with whom you can at least mostly agree.

I will admit, though, that if someone is truly perpetrating evil, and there is no alternative (no one else at all is running--happens sometimes, especially in local elections), then do not vote for that person. Yet most of the time this does not occur. In these cases, we are voting for the best of the mediocre rather than the least evil.
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« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2008, 09:32:09 AM »

Yes, a protest vote, or non-vote, can be a moral choice.

I don't believe staying home to not vote out of protest, or a "protest vote" is something that helps.  It's simply a non-vote.  Imagine this:  if there's a third-party candidate you like, and half of the US don't vote unless they found out about this candidate, man, that would make the protest much louder.  After all the millions both candidates spend and all the debates they've been through, and guess who becomes the president:  someone you might actually agree with.

A "protest vote" is just as good as a lazy person not voting.  You're letting the candidates have a better shot of winning than making a statement.  In fact, when someone mentions "The American people has chosen a candidate," that statement says a lot more than just voters helping someone to win.  They actually call voters Americans.  To not vote I believe would not be helpful at all, especially if you're a citizen.  Better to vote third party than not vote at all.
Yes, I agree a third party vote sends a clearer moral message.  But as Mr. Y states, sometimes you have unopposed, for instance, where not voting on that slot while voting on the rest of the ballot means something.

And as Cleaveland shows, there is a reason why totalitarian states require everyone to vote.  Not voting can send a message.
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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2008, 10:55:09 AM »

And as Cleaveland shows, there is a reason why totalitarian states require everyone to vote.

I had completely forgotten about this angle... it's one of those things that had fascinated me during my study of modern European history.
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« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2008, 08:06:35 PM »

I don't believe staying home to not vote out of protest, or a "protest vote" is something that helps.  It's simply a non-vote.

(this is a re-print of a position I took in another conversation with a OC.net user...)
I strongly disagree with you - an abstention is a valid choice, and certainly at times a moral imperative.

While I plan on voting on all my local issues, the Presidential race has me in a quandry; on the one hand, I cannot vote for (Candidate 1) because I disagree with him on too many issues to say it's ok; and I certainly do not believe that he is a classical (Party 1), something which I consider myself.  On the other hand, I cannot vote for (Candidate 2) because of a laundry list of reasons, which I can sum up simply by saying that I am more a traditional (Party 1) than anything else.  While (Candidate 3) is a tempting choice, again I am left in a quandry about the issues we disagree on, which are more than just superficial ones.

What's really interesting is that I'm in this position after not being able to vote in the previous two presidential elections: the first one (8 years ago) I was very ill and in bed all day; the second one (4 years ago) I was actually disenfranchised, never receiving the absentee ballot I had requested.  So now I approach my first Presidential election, and I find myself unable to vote for any of the reasonable and potential candidates because of a huge list of reasons.

And one big reason, influenced by my faith first of all: when one is presented with a choice of the lesser of two evils, it is perfectly ok, in fact a moral imperative, to not vote for evil.  An abstention is still participation in the democratic process; any true civics class, set of Rules of Order, or one of countless historical examples will remind you of that; and at times, the abstention is the only weapon left for the objector.

I don't know Cleveland.  As much as I want to agree with you, deep down, I wish all of those who don't vote have the same reasons as you.  But in my experience, I feel that most people I talk who don't vote are usually apathetic.  I would have a hard time finding myself not voting for the "lesser of two evils" and putting myself with those like Paris Hilton (who told everyone to "Vote or Die" and forgot to vote herself.  Someone was quoted, "She should just go kill herself" like she promised).

Do politicians really care if there's a huge non-vote percentage?  What message is being sent other than "Darn, I didn't get enough voters" or "Wow, I won because of the non-voters."  If a non-vote should say something, I propose an addition to the constitution.  The idea that a "non-vote" should be included in the voting booths, and that if the parties included lost to a "majority non-vote," they would make room for another batch of presidential candidates for the voting booth (of different parties or independents).  We are in the era of technology where I believe one needs one week and one debate to know everything about a candidate.

But as of now, a non-vote doesn't make as much of a message as a vote.  I strongly disagree that it makes a statement.  In fact, we partake of certain "necessary" evils, like wars for the protection of our people.  Voting for a lesser evil to me means that there are two or three issues (or maybe one) that can at least lead the country in the right direction that is needed.  The whole idea that it's sometimes a moral imperative not to vote means nothing.  All one does is allow one of the evils to pass, rather than at least choose a lesser evil.
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« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2008, 08:28:50 PM »

minasoliman

I am aware that we as 'christians' are in the world but not of it. This is widely taught even among protestants and other religions.

I am am concerned more so with the Holy Church.


Fr. Dn. Amde, normally, I'd try to understand your stand on many things and give you the benefit of the doubt.  But I would personally take offense at this.  This is no Protestant teaching.  This is Orthodoxy I am telling you.  I gave you what is considered a Church father, or a first century Christian that calls himself "Mathetes."  I gave you examples of men who enlisted and fought in the army, also a worldly organization.  It seems to me Fr. Dn., if there's anyone you're calling a Protestant, it's not me, but the witness of Orthodox saints and holy fathers.

I'd seriously hope you didn't really mean those words.  You were asking a question; you're not preaching to the choir.

minasoliman

Based on your response I am certain that something got lost somewhere. I think I need to re-phrase my response. I may have been over simplistic or something like that...

I had no intention at all of referring to you or anyone else as being or seeming protestant in any way, shape or form. It is just not what I was after....Sorry if I was offending at all.

I have always respected your posts on this forum OC.net. I have learned much from you and others as well.

I hope this clears things up!


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« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2008, 10:29:06 PM »

But as of now, a non-vote doesn't make as much of a message as a vote.  I strongly disagree that it makes a statement.  In fact, we partake of certain "necessary" evils, like wars for the protection of our people.  Voting for a lesser evil to me means that there are two or three issues (or maybe one) that can at least lead the country in the right direction that is needed.  The whole idea that it's sometimes a moral imperative not to vote means nothing.  All one does is allow one of the evils to pass, rather than at least choose a lesser evil.

Many people in America would use the same criticisms and apply them to voting for a third party candidate.  What message does it send to be one of the 1-2% who vote for the Libertarian candidate?  The thing is, we were never supposed to view voting in this sort of "tactical" sense.  You go out and vote because you want to declare "I want this man to be President".  If you don't feel that way about any of the candidates, then abstention is an honest choice.  Not necessarily the only choice, but an honest one.

Remember that part of the point of voluntary voting is that we are responsible for the actions of those we vote for, insofar as we know about their views.  If we vote for a candidate who supports abortion, an unjust war, or some other evil, then I think we have to be prepared to answer for that.  Some people will decide that the "lesser evil" is still better than not voting, whereas others might not be comfortable with that.   
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