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
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.