Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is there a "Christian" way to vote?

I've wondered about this for a while now and have a lot of questions with no clear answers.

Most American Christians are right of center because of the myopic (in my view) focus on two hot-button morality issues (abortion and homosexuality). But how should a Christian respond:

*to war? Is the Iraq war just? Is the war in Afghanistan just? Is war ever "just"? What should a Christian's response to war be? Is pacifism Biblically supported?

*to economic hardships? We all know it's a believer's job to help the poor and downtrodden; the widows and orphans. Do we? If we do, how often is it only a gift of our money but not our time and effort.

How should this translate in a political context? Should the government also assist in the care of its society? If it should, to what extent should the government help? how big should the "social safety net" be? On the other hand, if we do think government should have a social agenda, does this (subconsciously or otherwise) cause us to abandon our own personal responsibility because we (subconsciously or otherwise) think that the government is "taking care of it"?

*to wealth? What should our response be to wealth? We see the mantra "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer". Part of one party's answer is to eliminate tax cuts to the rich. The other party believes in "trickle down economics". Is there an aspect of class envy here? Or is an injustice? If so, how should it be corrected?

*to abortion? OK, fine, it's wrong. But is an outright ban the answer? It may very well be; but even if it is, is it worth the time and effort we Christians have historically put into this issue? If that time was spent spreading the gospel, or caring for the poor and downtrodden, wouldn't the Kingdom of God be furthered more?
Also, we Christians are good about crisis pregnancies, but what about help for new mothers?

Politically, why do we give so much attention to the pro-life/pro-choice views of our leaders? Why has it become a litmus test for Christians? Other than Bush's partial birth initiative, has there been any action other than simple lip-service by a pro-life politician? We hear so often that we need to get a conservative leader in the white house because of upcoming vacancies in the supreme court. When push comes to shove, will Roe v. Wade ever be overturned?

*to homosexuality? Does it really matter that homosexuals are getting married? Most Christians can agree that homosexuality is anti-Biblical, however, I have not heard one cogent non-theological argument against gay marriage. Doesn't there need to be an argument that will appeal to non-Christians also? Do non-Christians care that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong? Should they? Do we need a broader political reason? If not, why?

Again, I have some opinions on these issues (some of which may have leaked out because of my writing). But I honestly do have questions on these. Questions, that I don't think have a clear answer; and answers that cannot be answered by one political party or another.


mrutterson said...

to your blog title, i believe the answer is no, and if conscience bothers you to vote for either of the candidates, then abstain.

why is abortion such a hot issue? because physically it's the taking away of life, and philosophically it's the devaluing of humanity. and honestly, i think that all the talk i'm hearing now from people within the christian world about our need to focus on 'social justice,' amounts to nothing but feel-good empty chatter. it makes people feel good to talk about giving to the poor, but noone really does it. it feels somehow just of us to put the issue of abortion on the backburner for the cause of those who are 'already alive,' but what is the real root of our misgivings? i think it's ultimately the lack of a backbone. is the right of a human being to life not just? let's not downplay this issue in the light of 'social justice.' the rhetoric of the left is certainly chewing away at our understanding of what justice really is.

and finally i'd just like to point out that most of the people i know who really do help out those who need it in their community personally (and not just rely on their government to do it), are those who vote for the person who most falls in line with their own moral framework.

JMJ said...

Interesting thought:

On another Christian blog I read, the blogger is pro-life, and believes that Obama's iniatives will reduce the number of abortions more than McCain's pro-life stance will. That (among many other factors) is why she is voting for Obama.

Should that be a consideration? That the reduction in abortions is more important than the outright ban of abortion? This blogger seems to think so, especially she doesn't think that Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned.

SV75 said...

"Should that be a consideration? That the reduction in abortions is more important than the outright ban of abortion?"

I think it's important. I really do agree.

But, part of me says, it's where you draw the line. We have many laws-- Murdering someone is breaking the law, no cruel and unusual punishment, stealing, etc.. (even speeding and EVERYONE at one point does it, though the punishment isn't as drastic).. BUT, POINT BEING, all these laws are broken (some in more places than others).
But we draw a line-- this is not allowed, if you do it, you'll face consequences.

(And that's kind of how I feel for the topic of "gay marriage" as well, but I'll save that for another time.)