Friday, October 31, 2008

Mixing Learning and Voting

The 2008 presidential election is less than a week away. It's amazing how many political signs can litter the lawn of the public libraries where early voting is already in full swing.

Like most national events and social debates, the elections are a great source of learning and conversation about what it means to be American, to vote, and to have a representative government.

Philosopher and theologian R.C. Sproul (author of The Consequences of Ideas) posted a blog entry a few days ago about the relationship between Christians and society in the context of elections. It's called "Principles for Voting." The whole post is worth reading, whether you agree with Sproul or not, but here's the core argument:
As a Christian you have obligations opposed upon your conscience that in some sense other people don't have, although they should have. And the first thing is this: You have to understand what a vote is. The word vote comes from the Latin votum, which means 'will' or choice. And when you go to the ballot box and you vote, you are not there to vote for what's going to benefit you necessarily. Your vote is not a license to impose your selfish desires upon the rest of the country. You only have the right to vote for what is right. And not only do you have the right to vote for what is right, but when you vote you have the duty to vote for what is right...
As teachers and parents, your children get their first glimpse of civic responsibility by watching you. How do you explain the right and responsibility of voting? What principles do you hope your children will learn by the time they are ready to cast their first national vote?

No comments: