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Author Topic: Praying for our political leaders and ???????  (Read 1428 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 22, 2011, 12:31:49 AM »

Hi,
I am a recent convert to Orthodoxy from Calvinism,

I would like some input, either personal wisdom and/or reference to the writings of the Church Fathers, on an Orthodox perspective of what our responsibility as citizens in the land we are in.  Please state if it is a personal or patristic view. 

I admit to not voting for awhile because I see nothing I could vote for from a moral perspective and think it unlikely it could change.  I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past. It is one form of governing and is as prone to corruption as any other form.  I understand we pray for our leaders but is there something more that is expected.   

I, of course, give to Caesar what is Caesar's but limit it to just what I must do by the law.  Am I in need of changing this behaviour? 

Thanks and I apologize before hand for any residual Calvinism, I'm working on it Undecided
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 12:53:47 AM »

If you don't feel like you can vote with a clear conscience then don't. There is no obligation in Orthodoxy to vote for political leaders, at least that I am aware of.
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2011, 01:27:38 AM »

I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past.

So the lives of the millions of people who have died so that you can vote mean nothing to you?

All right, then.
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2011, 01:31:04 AM »

I don't think that wasamwillbe meant it that way.  He was asking an honest question, and not attacking our veterans.  Wasamwillbe, I think that praying for the our leaders, the welfare of our country, and obeying the laws of the land are all that are asked of us as Orthodox Christians.
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2011, 01:59:53 AM »

In the liturgy, we pray for the leaders, and we also pray for all mankind. So, that covers the rest of us civilians, too.  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 02:07:52 AM »

I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past.

So the lives of the millions of people who have died so that you can vote mean nothing to you?

All right, then.

Sainthieu, I normally appreciate your posts and suspect we are like-minded on many issues, but that is no argument for anything.

Heaps of people have died for heaps of causes: that doesn't render those causes right or correct.
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 02:19:00 AM »

Thank you peteprint,
I didn't mean any offence,
I am trying to understand, from an Orthodox perspective, my responsibility to the land we are in.  We are of course to pray for our leaders but what of the "sword" given to the "state".  

I have no background in this from an Orthodox viewpoint and some of these areas are rather untouched theologically and therefore no unified direction, or they are are well described but so generally accepted sometimes hard to find.  

Most Orthodox people I know are converts and may bring varying degrees of protestantism with them so I thought I would reach out to the larger community.
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2011, 02:49:56 AM »

Thank you peteprint,
I didn't mean any offence,
I am trying to understand, from an Orthodox perspective, my responsibility to the land we are in.  We are of course to pray for our leaders but what of the "sword" given to the "state".  

I have no background in this from an Orthodox viewpoint and some of these areas are rather untouched theologically and therefore no unified direction, or they are are well described but so generally accepted sometimes hard to find.  

Most Orthodox people I know are converts and may bring varying degrees of protestantism with them so I thought I would reach out to the larger community.


Wasamwillbe,  Perhaps this might help with the questions you have.  I would think that "army" could easily be replaced with police or other governmental authorities in the following.

According to St. John Chrysostom:

"War is an abomination...Yet this does not mean that military service is a dishonorable profession,or that carrying arms impedes salvation...An army is necessary to keep peace with other nations, and to keep peace within a nation.  What, then, if the King orders his army to perform an evil act, such as invading a neighboring nation?  Should the Christian soldier disobey his orders, even at the risk of being executed for his disobedience?  In such a situation he must weigh one evil against another...None of us can presume to judge the soldier's decision, but rather we must pray that the Spirit guides his conscience."

On Living Simply: The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom.  Compiled by Robert Van de Weyer, Triumph Books, 1996. pg. 27
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2011, 05:32:08 AM »

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that the proper translation is along the lines of "we pray for this country, its president, its people, civil authorities and armed forces." and not "Our country, our president..., our civil authorities, our armed forces".  I think it is an important distinction.

I am also a non-voter.
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2011, 09:02:49 AM »

I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past.

So the lives of the millions of people who have died so that you can vote mean nothing to you?

All right, then.

What does this have to do with Christianity?
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2011, 10:51:18 AM »


According to St. John Chrysostom:

"War is an abomination...Yet this does not mean that military service is a dishonorable profession,or that carrying arms impedes salvation...An army is necessary to keep peace with other nations, and to keep peace within a nation.  What, then, if the King orders his army to perform an evil act, such as invading a neighboring nation?  Should the Christian soldier disobey his orders, even at the risk of being executed for his disobedience?  In such a situation he must weigh one evil against another...None of us can presume to judge the soldier's decision, but rather we must pray that the Spirit guides his conscience."


This does help, thanks.

Could someone perhaps explain St. Paul's appeal to being a Roman Citizen when taken as a prisoner.  He refers to his Roman Citizenship several times, Is this him pointing to it because others might place value in it and he is making a point, or is there real (even if temporal) value in it? Perhaps there are other examples of interaction between Church and state, other than the obvious cases of the Holy Martyrs, ( this also brings some great examples of  good practice in response to the state {our mission's Patron is Saint Ignatius}). 

 
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 11:30:20 AM »

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that the proper translation is along the lines of "we pray for this country, its president, its people, civil authorities and armed forces." and not "Our country, our president..., our civil authorities, our armed forces".  I think it is an important distinction.


I  agree it is an important distinction, I will check our liturgy on Sunday, I have checked some copies I have here but am amazed on how many slight differences there are on these things.  I remember when memorizing the Niceane Creed for my Chrismation that I found 3 different wordings(very small, likely to do with interpretation in different diocese) .  I think in this "age of information", too often, information is not treated with the respect it is due, definately not the same care the monastics took when copying the Bible. It is something the Church will have to sort out eventially.
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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 12:51:13 PM »

There was real value in having Roman citizenship for St. Paul.  The following I have copied from Wikipedia:

1.  The right to have a legal trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself).
2.  The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates and to appeal the lower court decisions.
3.  A Roman citizen could not be tortured or whipped, nor could he receive the death penalty, unless he was found guilty of treason.
4.  If accused of treason, a Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome, and even if sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to die on the cross.

St. Paul's appeal to his citizenship allowed him to travel to Rome, rather than be tried (and possibly be executed) in a Jewish or Provincial court.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_citizenship 
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« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2011, 01:04:06 PM »

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that the proper translation is along the lines of "we pray for this country, its president, its people, civil authorities and armed forces." and not "Our country, our president..., our civil authorities, our armed forces".  I think it is an important distinction.


I  agree it is an important distinction, I will check our liturgy on Sunday, I have checked some copies I have here but am amazed on how many slight differences there are on these things.  I remember when memorizing the Niceane Creed for my Chrismation that I found 3 different wordings(very small, likely to do with interpretation in different diocese) .  I think in this "age of information", too often, information is not treated with the respect it is due, definately not the same care the monastics took when copying the Bible. It is something the Church will have to sort out eventially.

Funny you should mention that.  My priest commented on the different translations of the Creed a couple of weeks ago at our Bible study.  He mentioned that the choir was using a different version than the one in our Liturgy handbook.
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« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2011, 03:23:19 PM »

I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past.

So the lives of the millions of people who have died so that you can vote mean nothing to you?

All right, then.


That's not fair. Exercising our freedom also means exercising our freedom not to vote, especially if our Christian conscience compells us not to lend our vote to anyone or anything that we believe is complicit in evil.


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« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2011, 04:16:32 PM »

Hi,
I am a recent convert to Orthodoxy from Calvinism,

I would like some input, either personal wisdom and/or reference to the writings of the Church Fathers, on an Orthodox perspective of what our responsibility as citizens in the land we are in.  Please state if it is a personal or patristic view. 

I admit to not voting for awhile because I see nothing I could vote for from a moral perspective and think it unlikely it could change.  I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past. It is one form of governing and is as prone to corruption as any other form.  I understand we pray for our leaders but is there something more that is expected.   

I, of course, give to Caesar what is Caesar's but limit it to just what I must do by the law.  Am I in need of changing this behaviour? 

Thanks and I apologize before hand for any residual Calvinism, I'm working on it Undecided

First of all, welcome to the forum and to the Holy Orthodox Church! I'm also a recent convert from Calvinism (The Presbyterian Church in America, specifically). Welcome home!

I don't see anything wrong with the approach you take, if that is your conscience. I've long not been a fan of democracy, and only begrudgingly admit that republicanism can work (and the US is no longer a "republic" in the true sense of the word). I do vote, but it's usually a deciding between the lesser of two evils (or at least non-ideal solutions). As Orthodox Christians, we render unto Caesar and obey the laws of the nation we find ourselves in (Since, as St. Paul says in Romans, God placed our civil leaders above us), but that doesn't mean we have to be patriotic. In the same vein, patriotism has its place within our lives as well.


I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past.

So the lives of the millions of people who have died so that you can vote mean nothing to you?

All right, then.

Christianity makes martyrs, but martyrs don't make something Christian. If you want to tie our faith to any civil government structure, I point you to the open lines of the Liturgy => "Blessed is the Kingdom..."


Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that the proper translation is along the lines of "we pray for this country, its president, its people, civil authorities and armed forces." and not "Our country, our president..., our civil authorities, our armed forces".  I think it is an important distinction.

I am also a non-voter.

I believe that is correct. It's also very important to note that it has been traditional to commemorate the civil leader of the nation by name, in the very same way we commemorate our bishops by name in the litany. I've heard litanies that commemorate "...Our President Barack Obama..."

This is much better, of course, when you're commemorating a monarch. The Orthodox in the Commonwealth Realms pray for "Her Majesty Elizabeth" at every service. Quite beautiful.
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« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2011, 04:29:01 PM »

  I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past.
No problem, as long as you don't think that monarchy is the "Christian government", or any LARP-tastic stuff like that.
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« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2011, 04:49:12 PM »

The Orthodox in the Commonwealth Realms pray for "Her Majesty Elizabeth" at every service. Quite beautiful.

Not really. We're too busy saluting the Greek flag.
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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2011, 06:40:36 PM »

The Orthodox in the Commonwealth Realms pray for "Her Majesty Elizabeth" at every service. Quite beautiful.

Not really. We're too busy saluting the Greek flag.

Lol. Which would be fine, if Greece hadn't gotten rid of its monarch. Tongue

Still, though, I think the point of "civil authority" in the Liturgy of the Church is more easily seen and appreciated in a monarchist state.
  I don't see democracy as more Christian, now or ever in it's past.
No problem, as long as you don't think that monarchy is the "Christian government", or any LARP-tastic stuff like that.

It's not THE Christian government, any form of government can be Christianized. However, we don't call Christ our "Priest and President."
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« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2011, 06:49:34 PM »

Quote
The Orthodox in the Commonwealth Realms pray for "Her Majesty Elizabeth" at every service. Quite beautiful.

Not true. In most jurisdictions in the diaspora, it's practically a parish-by-parish decision to do so, if it is done at all, and, she is almost always commemorated by her title only, not her name.
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« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2011, 07:39:05 PM »

There was real value in having Roman citizenship for St. Paul.  The following I have copied from Wikipedia:

1.  The right to have a legal trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself).
2.  The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates and to appeal the lower court decisions.
3.  A Roman citizen could not be tortured or whipped, nor could he receive the death penalty, unless he was found guilty of treason.
4.  If accused of treason, a Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome, and even if sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to die on the cross.

St. Paul's appeal to his citizenship allowed him to travel to Rome, rather than be tried (and possibly be executed) in a Jewish or Provincial court.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_citizenship 

Good post. Thanks.
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« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2011, 07:42:10 PM »

Side note: I have somewhere a CD of prayers, and one of them mentions 'the Czar and his warlike armies.'  Undecided Okay.
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« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2011, 11:04:40 PM »

The Orthodox in the Commonwealth Realms pray for "Her Majesty Elizabeth" at every service. Quite beautiful.

Not really. We're too busy saluting the Greek flag.

Lol. Which would be fine, if Greece hadn't gotten rid of its monarch. Tongue

That random faux-Orthodox, protestant Dane or German or whatever he was foisted on upon us by the barbarians from the West?

All hail the Autocrat of all Romans and King of the Hellenes, the Emperor of Constantinople!

Seriously, though, I would be much more comfortable with praying for Her Majesty by name during the liturgy than I am with all the Greek nationalism that goes on in my parish. I hope this post doesn't cause anyone to stumble but it's been quite upsetting me lately.
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« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2011, 11:15:42 PM »

Side note: I have somewhere a CD of prayers, and one of them mentions 'the Czar and his warlike armies.'  Undecided Okay.

As opposed to croquet-playing and cucumber-sandwich-eating armies?
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« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2011, 11:25:05 PM »

We should pray for our nations' leaders. Scripture says that all the ruling authorities are in place at God's will, and regardless of whether we agree with them or their systems, they need our prayers as they have great responsibilities.

Perhaps the oddest political commemoration is this verse from a translation of the Holy Saturday Lamentations:

O eternal God,
Word co-unoriginate, and Spirit:
Magnify the might of America,
Blessing us with peace and freedom evermore.

That one I am not so comfortable with. But other countries do it too, so I suppose I should not feel that way. It seems an odd thing to say though.
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« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2011, 02:29:38 AM »


First of all, welcome to the forum and to the Holy Orthodox Church! I'm also a recent convert from Calvinism (The Presbyterian Church in America, specifically). Welcome home!

Thank you I have never felt more home ( although confession is still so very awkward  Undecided)
I was raised CRC.  TULIP always bugged me!
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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2011, 02:59:01 AM »

Sainthieu, I normally appreciate your posts and suspect we are like-minded on many issues, but that is no argument for anything.

Heaps of people have died for heaps of causes: that doesn't render those causes right or correct.

In this case, I actually don't enjoy piling on.  However, I completely agree with Akimori.
  
Sainthieu, you are an excellent contributor, but this post does not reflect that.  You can like democracy all you want, but there is nothing inherently Christian about it.  No need to attack the poster for mentioning that statement.  

Regarding praying for our political leaders, I don't suspect it's bad to pray for anyone.  These people have a great deal of responsibility and can directly impact, even if extremely unlikely, the Church.  It's certainly not an endorsement of ideology or policy.

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« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2011, 10:52:31 AM »

Side note: I have somewhere a CD of prayers, and one of them mentions 'the Czar and his warlike armies.'  Undecided Okay.

As opposed to croquet-playing and cucumber-sandwich-eating armies?

Well, the last Czar and those who served with him are long since dead, so why did it still make it onto the CD?  Huh I think the CD was made around 2008 or so. There was no Czar at the time. There still isn't.
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« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2011, 12:39:19 PM »

We do not allow Political Discussion on the Convert Issues Forum. The answer to your question is that Orthodox Christians always pray for their leaders, even those who are unrighteous like the Ceasars of Rome, the Bolsgeviks of Russia, and other tyrants so they may be inspired to change their ways, become right decisions, and with luck renounce their wickedness and become Holy  leaders following Christ. For those who are righteous and Holy Men of the Church the prayers are to stregnthen them to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as they govern.

Once again please NOTE: No Political discussion. Please PM an Administrator for access to the Politics Forum. Further political discussion will force me to close this topic.

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« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2011, 01:14:58 PM »


First of all, welcome to the forum and to the Holy Orthodox Church! I'm also a recent convert from Calvinism (The Presbyterian Church in America, specifically). Welcome home!

Thank you I have never felt more home ( although confession is still so very awkward  Undecided)
I was raised CRC.  TULIP always bugged me!

Lol. Of course! That's so funny, because I loved confession from the start (such a relief to have guidance and forgiveness). I didn't care for the individuality of Protestantism. I think that's why I became a Calvinist, because it gave me a set way to look at and interpret my faith. It's a pretty air-tight philosophical system and I can respect it for that. Unfortunately for them, however, it has no basis whatsoever in the Christian revelation!
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