The USA has a General Election coming up and, frankly, the result looks to be a foregone conclusion: President Biden will lead a Democrat majority in Senate and House.
But foregone electoral conclusions do not take away from Christian voters the decision(s) we need to make when we mark our ballot papers.
(Here in NZ we will have four decisions: our local electorate MP, the party we wish to see in government and two referenda questions, on "End of Life" choice and on legalising marijuana.)
How should we vote?
I suggest yesterday's RCL gospel reading helps us - Matthew 14:13-21, The Feeding of the Five Thousand, could be our guide.
In this reading we have a vision of the Kingdom of God - a kingdom in which there is compassion (exemplified by Jesus), concern for need (with conspicuous rejection, as it happens, of a "user pays" or "send them off to buy their own dinner" approach by the disciples), inclusion and welcome (all present got fed, there were no tests to pass), service (the disciples distributed the food made available by Jesus) and care of creation (all waste was gathered up in a responsible manner).
Why would a Christian vote for any politician and/or political party which did not offer an approximation to this vision for human society?
I can think of at least one reason!
While this passage offers a vision of human society which is compassionate and which satisfies needs, it is also a miracle story and thus not a guide to the economics of a compassionate, welfare-oriented society. That is, the passage is not a guide to how we might best construct and develop a society in which (e.g.) food is produced, distributed throughout the land and made available to all, rich and poor alike.
Cue the reality that some politicians promise more on the delivery of compassionate care for the needy and less on the funding of that delivery and other politicians focus more on the cost of production and distribution and who will pay for it.
But, important though it is in making our political choices in the ballot box that we have a grasp of economic realities, could a Christian who follows the compassionate Christ of this gospel reading ever vote for that which decreases compassion in society and increases hard-heartedness?
With respect to the country I know best, Aotearoa New Zealand, I am glad to report that there are several parties we can choose from as we exercise our Christian minds in making our choices!
Of course, to ward off the obvious observation, each of those parties will have a policy or three which means we as Christians need to swallow a dead rat if we vote for them.
Politics in the Kingdom of Humanity is always, ahem, "the art of the deal"!