Christians in Lebanon expect that a wave of new politicians hostile to existing sectarian parties would follow biblical precedents amid a rapidly crumbling nation.
The Resurrection Church of Beirut (RCB) hosted a prayer meeting on the eve of Lebanon's parliamentary elections last weekend. The short reflection was based on Psalm 147, which says that God will heal the brokenhearted and uphold the humble, but He will toss the wicked to the ground.
However, only 35 members of Lebanon's leading evangelical churches joined the prayer at the main Baabda campus. The turnout mirrored that of the rest of the country, with 4 out of 10 eligible voters casting ballots, Christianity Today reported.
Baptist Society Executive Director Nabil Costa said that most evangelicals backed civil society candidates linked to a popular uprising three years ago. From one member of parliament (MP) in 2018, they now have 14 seats in the 128-seat legislature, which is evenly split between Muslims and Christians.
The ruling coalition, which included the Christian-led Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Hezbollah and Amal, lost its legislative majority. While the Muslim component retained its 27-seat sect-based share, the FPM lost ground, falling from 24 to 17 seats as other Sunni and Druze allies did as well. The Lebanese Forces (LF), which rose from 15 to 19 seats, took over some of its Christian leadership.
Voters in each district choose from multiple electoral lists, many of which are multi-party, with candidates apportioned based on their sectarian allegiance. Regardless of any sect, one member on the shortlist can receive a preferential vote. Candidates appeal to their fellow believers, but they can also enlist the aid of others. Christians, on the other hand, voted 30% more for LF than for FPM.
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Christians Sense New Hope For Lebanon
Costa described it as a "new opportunity." Many Lebanese criticize a corrupt political class for the country's economic crisis. Emigration appeared to be the only option for many.
Three years ago, a tremendous popular uprising against established sectarian parties sang "all of them means all of them." Protests waned after COVID-19, the Beirut port disaster, and a World Bank-declared "deliberate" financial downturn depressed many people.
International Director of Langham Scholars Riad Kassis said "For many years, they didn't live up to their vision." Kassis complimented their enthusiasm for Lebanon and claimed determination to reform while avoiding declaring his former affiliation to prevent alienating his ministry. Others would be less charitable, classifying FPM and LF as corrupt traditional parties.
He compared it to the Exodus, in which people escaped years of slavery to sectarian rhetoric, mismanagement, and corruption. He hopes the trek will not take 40 years, even if they miss their way a little before reaching Canaan.
LF liaison to evangelical churches Jean Moussa offered a different scriptural analogy. He said, "These new MPs may be a little like Saul, who could go good or bad."
Martin Accad, the founder of Action Research Associates, said that the stakes are tremendous, yet joy should be kept in check. For him, according to data, polarized politicians cannot get anything done without a clear majority. This involves the upcoming constitutional stages of electing a new speaker, prime minister, and president, as well as devising a plan to revive the ailing economy.
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