Conservative Christians in Canada are expressing cautious optimism about the outcome of the Jan. 23 federal election.
Led by Stephen Harper, the Conservative Party won a minority government, defeating the Liberal Party, which has governed since 1993. Because the conservatives fell short of the 155 seats required for a majority, Harper, 46, will need the help of the other parties to pass legislation.
Conservative Christians clashed often with the Liberals, who have been led by Paul Martin since 2003. Under his leadership, the government legalized same-sex marriage and considered other social measures that upset many evangelicals.
“We now have a government that will be more sympathetic to a number of the issues of concern to evangelicals,” Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, told Baptist Press. “But for Canadians, this was a cautious vote for change.”
Some Christians were buoyed by Harper’s election-night departure from the country’s long-held status quo when he said “God bless Canada” in his victory speech. In a statement published widely before the election, Harper said government “must respect (religious) convictions and not attempt to interfere in the free public expression of religious belief.” (RNS)