Christian Democrats

3 11 2008

I’ve been a little surprised at how many of my Christian friends are not only Democrats, but adamant and active supporters and promoters of the Barack Obama campaign.

This blog isn’t intended to convince them they’re wrong. Rather, I’m more speculative as to how they’ve reached the conclusions at which they have arrived. I know that many of them, like myself, grew up in Christian households that were also conservative and Republican. I don’t think that these friends believe that they are in any way working contrary to what is right or contrary to the Kingdom. (I think they are deceived, but I think they earnestly believe in the deception that has ensnared them.)

So what makes a Christian Democrat? Here’s my analysis:

Many of us in my age group who grew up with Christ-centered backgrounds have been raised from early childhood to be Good Republicans™. As such, we eventually grow up to discover the world isn’t what we thought it was. In our disillusionment, we find ourselves becoming quickly disenfranchised with the political party we synonymized with being the “correct” party throughout our childhood. At this point, we ask ourselves, “What if the OTHER side was the right side?” And the allure of that possibility is just so tempting that many of us convert.

It’s kind of like having a crisis of faith, but in a way that feels safer and has less far-reaching implications. It seems like a really big, complicated deal to ditch Christianity and become an atheist, even when the world seems to be crashing down around you. It’s not quite such a big deal to switch from being a “Christian Republican” to being a “Christian Democrat.” It’s a safer rebellion. Not that we’re rebels without a cause; we’re just lashing out over the realization as adults that the world is bent and broken. The political party we grew up supporting (because we were told it was the “Christian” party) seems to have failed us, so it becomes an easy scapegoat.

I’m not saying that the Republicans have it right. Perhaps I’ve taken the low road, and mine is an even safer “safe rebellion.” The truth is that I dislike both parties. I grew up Republican and am now a registered Independent. Many might say that makes me lukewarm, but I feel like it puts me in a better position to examine the two major political candidates a little more objectively.

I considered the Democratic party when voting in my first presidential election at age 20, but upon examination, I realized that the Democrats weren’t any more correct than the Republicans, and much of what they supported ran highly contrary to my faith. (Are we intentionally trying to bring religious persecution upon ourselves?) I feel that despite his profession of faith, the lifelong track record of Barack Obama does not indicate someone who is committed to the Kingdom of God and its ideals. And I do not believe that a nation that conducts itself as if it, not God, is the supreme power and authority could ever hope to prosper.

That said, I no longer consider the Republican party to be the “Christian” party, either. It has become plagued with what I perceive to be greediness, arrogance, a general lack of compassion toward the poor throughout the world, and a failure to hold tightly to conservative, moral values. I have high hopes that John McCain and Sarah Palin will bring some much-needed reform to weed out corruption and restore genuine morality to the Republican party. If that happens, I will reconsider my political affiliation. But in the meantime, I don’t think that jumping ship and boarding the Obama boat instead is the answer, but is rather highly dangerous and foolhardy. (And I think that voting third-party when said party has zero chance of winning is a cowardly cop-out.)

As much as the Obama camp has tried to paint McCain as another George W. Bush, I don’t see that when I look at what he proposes and what he stands for. I see someone who admittedly voted in alignment with Bush much of the time, likely because he thought what Bush proposed was “more correct” than the alternatives, but who would do things quite differently if he were not just one voice among many and had the genuine ability to fix what’s broken. That ability would, no doubt, be severely hampered by the impending Democratic super-majority that is likely to exist after tomorrow. But I don’t want the next four years to be about creating more bad laws that we’ll have to work even harder to undo later.

I want to believe that Barack Obama is not quite the terrifying character that the most radical of the right-wingers have painted him to be. But I think that, if they’re honest with themselves, many of my friends who are such adamant Obama supporters might find that their wanting to support him has to do more with wanting to rebel against the upbringing that they feel failed them later in life than it does with truly believing that Obama is what’s best for America. I suspect that’s true for the vast majority of my fellow brothers and sisters in the church across the country who find their tents pitched in the camp of the Christian Democrats as well.

As a former “Christian Republican,” and now as a “Christian Independent,” I see John McCain as being the presidential candidate most likely to promote the ideals and values that I associate with bringing about God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” That is, and must continue to be, more important than making a statement or engaging in some sort of personal rebellion that makes me feel vindicated or like more of an individual.

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36 responses

3 11 2008
Leah

Amen – preach it brother! 🙂

3 11 2008
brett

yeah… but being a democrat is so hip… kind of like snow patrol.

3 11 2008
Janna

And they call my cell phone. Every night. During dinner. The democrats that is.

I too am a Christian Independent and will probably maintain that (un)affilliation regarldless of how the parties themselves change. Voting for who and what I choose, regardless of left or right, based upon my research and discernment is the only way for me.

3 11 2008
Katie

Hey Rob…thanks so much for the thoughts. Our response as Christians to something going wrong in our own camp should not be to go to the enemy camp. God have mercy on our arrogance.

I had one other thought — I don’t think voting 3rd party is cowardly. I have to answer to God about our votes, and I believe God calls us to vote for the best candidate — not the best of the possible winners. If I am convicted about a 3rd party candidate at this point, and I vote apart from my conviction, I am assuming that the Sovereignty of God in the election outcome does not include the way He convicted me. I don’t buy that.

Anyway, thank you so much for your thoughts, Rob. I love reading your blog.

3 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

Katie, I remembered after posting that you had mentioned “go third party” or something to that effect, and I panicked and hoped you wouldn’t think I intended to personally call you cowardly.

I respect that you feel strongly about how God has led you to vote in this election, and that you realize you’re responsible to him for how you vote. I’m not about to presume to second-guess how you feel God is leading you, at least not in the same way that I tend to do with people who tell me that God is “telling them” to vote for Obama.

My issue with third-party voting is this: Just because someone tells you that you have more than two choices doesn’t necessarily make it so. Do we technically have the right in America to vote for anyone? Yes. But does that mean we really have more than two choices? I don’t think it does. And at that point, I believe we have a responsibility to vote for the realistic choice that will accomplish the most good.

I agree with the mindset that says our current, two-party system needs to change. I think it will take a great deal more than a strong third-party candidate to make that happen. And I think that casting a vote that will fall by the wayside rather than accomplishing the dual purpose of supporting good and opposing evil borders on irresponsibility for most people.

All of that said, I don’t get the impression you’ve made your decision recklessly or without much prayerful thought. I trust that God will accomplish his purposes through (or in spite of, however the case may be) each of our votes.

3 11 2008
Paul Christian Glenn

Hey, Rob, thanks for the post. Very level-headed and well-reasoned (hey, why don’t you go work for the papers?) You had to know I would pop up and respond to this one. ;^)

I am registered as “non-partisan” (they did away with “independent” in Nebraska), but this year my support for Barack Obama is, well, passionate, to say the least. My support for him as a candidate, however, is not a reaction against the “Christian” party (which, yes, I was raised to believe), but rather an action for the candidate that embodies stronger Christian values.

Turning the other cheek, not brandishing our swords. Caring for the widows and orphans. Turning the other cheek, and letting vengeance be the Lord’s. Giving one of my two cloaks to the guy who hasn’t got one. These are the things that Christ instructed us to do, and I do not believe (as many Christians suddenly seem to) that Christ’s ideas lose value when they are employed corporately. (It’s interesting to note that many Republican Christians have no qualms with employing Biblical values corporately when it comes to issues like same-sex marriage.)

I believe John McCain is a good man who has clearly let himself be led astray by his ambition. The mudslinging in this campaign is appalling, and I am wary of any candidate who would sink to the levels the McCain campaign has, no matter how lofty their ultimate ideals. Yes, the truth has been stretched on both sides, but visit Politifact or FactCheck and compare the sheer number of lies and distortions between these two campaigns, and ask yourself, “If you have to lie this much, to distort the truth this badly, is your position really worth supporting?”

Whichever man wins, he will be my President, and he will have my support and prayers. But, this year, I believe the Democratic candidate is clearly waving the more Godly standard.*

*An obvious exception is made for Obama’s deplorable support of abortion. Unfortunately, I had to give up on that issue long ago, when it became clear that not even the most adamant pro-life candidate has neither the power nor the political will to turn back what is now 35 years of precedent.

3 11 2008
dziewczyna

Thanks for your reply, Rob. I know you, and couldn’t possibly take it personally! =o) Your blog has been such good stuff for me to think on. Thanks again.

3 11 2008
dziewczyna

Oh…sorry. dziewczyna is me, Katie!

3 11 2008
amycourts

Hmmm…I disagree that your blog is level-handed. And to be honest, I find it slightly offensive that you assume my decision not to vote Republican is an act of rebellion rather than an act of conscience.

So I’ll lay out, as concisely as I can, the reasons I chose not to vote for McCain but for Obama (the same reasons, incidentally, that my husband voted for Nader).

1) I believe, according to Acts 2, that the ideal state of relationship among human beings is an other-serving culture, where the least is treated as the greatest and where the “bottom line” relates not to money, but to people. If the least is living well, then all of us are. If the least is left behind, all will suffer. This “socialist”ish model is what we find working in the New Testament, in which the Church and all its members “had all things in common,” broke bread together daily, supported one another – financially and otherwise – in all their efforts, and were diligent in spreading the Gospel as much in how they lived as in what they said. This is the model Christ Himself designed and ordained, and thus the one which, from a Personal Values standpoint, I adopt for both personal and political endeavors.

2) The differences in the two major candidates platforms are huge.
ON HEALTHCARE: The Republican party’s nominee is insistent (whether implicitly or explicitly, though he has been both at various times) about allowing HMOs and Health Insurance companies to go about doing business, unregulated, as they have for so long, refusing coverage everywhere and to everyone they can by appealing to fine print loopholes which allow them to earn record profits during a time of record illness and UNhealth among the nation. The Democratic nominee, on the other hand, has created a policy which will guarantee (but not mandate) affordable coverage to anyone who wants it (and mandate it for children) while placing tighter constraints and regulations on predatory insurance companies by requiring coverage despite “pre-existing conditions.” It seems so clear to me who is on the side of the human, who is of utmost value to God, and who is on the side of big business and money.
ON EDUCATION: The Republican nominee has yet to propose any program that will differ from Bush’s “No child left behind” doctrine of the last eight years, which has failed to be anything but problematic to all of the nation except for D.C. The Democratic nominee has guaranteed a reworking (if not a total obliteration) of NCLB while proposing a $4,000 PER YEAR tuition credit to all college students who do at least 100 hours of community or national service. Again, it seems clear to me which nominee’s policies reflect the Value of education and the educated, and whose are “more of the same.”
ON ABORTION/UNWANTED PREGNANCIES: The Republican nominee has followed the same road as most his predecessors in being “pro-life” while actually *doing* nothing about the problem of unwanted pregnancies, but rather supporting policies and bills that, in fact, contribute to rising numbers of unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions. The Democratic nominee has proposed healthcare changes, education changes (support sex education that includes pro-active measures against pregnancy for those who choose to be sexually active), and economic changes that inherently effect whether or not a pregnancy is wanted. I don’t think I need to go any further on this, as we’ve discussed it ad nauseum over the last months. However, while one party has done much to scream loudly and do nothing in regards to the problems of unwanted pregnancy and abortion, the other party has actively pursued (and is pursuing) policies and legislation that will make pregnancy a more “wantable” option for women, while also making access to contraception easier for those who DON’T want to be pregnant. So while the Democratic nominee may be one of the most adamant Pro-Choicers we’ve seen yet, his policies reflect his Value of life in how they treat education, healthcare, and poverty across the country. Again, you can guess who gets my vote.

All that said, I think it’s fair to say that my decision to vote Democratic this year (though I’ve voted both Republican and Independent in past elections) is not a mere act of rebellion, but one of carefully considered values and how they are reflected in policy. And I know the same holds true for many of our mutual friends.

And frankly, Rob, I think it’s pandering to a new low to even suggest it, simply because in doing so you assume we’re neither smart nor educated; just angry. When in fact, we are all of the above, and are simply ready for some real change in real policy.

3 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

Amy, if I’ve slightly offended you, then I’m probably going to piss the hell out of you now. What I’m writing is not for the purpose of pissing you off, and I wish it were avoidable, but enough is enough.

I would assert that a Christian who finds it within his or her capability to willfully and eagerly support a candidate who not only supports legalized abortion but has vowed to further expand abortion-related “rights” for women, and justifies it as saying it is an “act of conscience” to vote for such a candidate, has become so entrenched in and deluded by the world and its corrupted, sinful views that they have grown deaf to the voice of the Spirit and the heartbeat of God.

I can deal with it when it’s someone outside the body of Christ who doesn’t know better. But when this kind of crap spews forth from within the church itself, it sickens me, saddens me, shocks me and alarms me.

I don’t know if anyone has said this to you in so few words, but I’m going to say it now: You are wrong. As my sister in Christ, I love you and respect you, but you are wrong. In case I didn’t say it clearly enough, let me say it one more time. You are wrong.

I’m speaking specifically to the abortion issue. I’ll concede socialism, health care, and education to you, no contest. I still assert, as I have repeatedly before, that those things can not, and do not, possibly come even remotely close to having the slightest iota of importance when a legalized genocide is occurring in every neighborhood in America as we, the church, do nothing. Fixing healthcare is not going to eliminate abortion. Improving education is not going to eliminate abortion. Helping achieve a middle-class that encompasses everyone is not going to eliminate abortion.

I can think of nothing more repulsive, nothing more vile, nothing that could be more of an affront to a loving, Creator God than to take the smallest, most innocent, most precious of his creations as they are yet being knit in the womb and surgically tear them limb from limb them while they are still alive.

Normally, I try to keep these things from being personal. But today I had the misfortune of stumbling across this comment from a mutual Christian friend on your Facebook wall:

Mutual Friend: “It’s total bullshit, is what it is … it’s the definition of a “person” at conception … what kind of nutsos think this shit up? Apparently one of the Dakotas is on the fast track to making this their reality in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would be a monumental fuck up in America’s political history. I get that some people think abortion is vile and evil, but it’s a reality.”

I don’t think I have ever in my life had more of an urge to vomit all over my computer monitor, not from the verbiage, but from the fact that somehow, another sister in Christ has been so deluded as to have adopted the world’s distaste and disregard for life. It felt like a punch in the gut, or like watching someone spit in the Savior’s face. I wanted to puke.

I realize that those sentiments expressed by our mutual friend on your page aren’t necessarily the same as your own, and I can respect that you were perhaps a little bit more diplomatic in explaining, in response, how you believe that reducing the occurrence of unwanted pregnancy is the solution.

But you’re still wrong. It is deluded, incorrect, stupid, ignorant, and foolish to think that electing someone who has spoken on behalf and in support of the organization that rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars for performing abortive services, someone who has vowed to not only uphold abortion rights but to expand them, someone who is morally and fundamentally flawed because he does not see, understand, nor appreciate the sanctity and sacredness of life, will EVER be able to somehow play a role in reducing the number of abortions occurring in the United States.

You point to the fact that abortions have continued to increase these past years. Is it because the pro-life movement is somehow causing the opposite of its intended outcome, as you suggest? That is, perhaps, one of the stupidest, most miseducated assertions I have ever heard in my entire life. Rather, I would argue that it’s because the church has done embarrassingly little and continues to do less every year. We allow fools who shout in the faces of frightened, pregnant girls or who bomb abortion clinics to define the “pro-life movement” while we go about our business instead of peacefully but emphatically and effectively standing firm against abortion.

You finished with this paragraph:

And frankly, Rob, I think it’s pandering to a new low to even suggest it, simply because in doing so you assume we’re neither smart nor educated; just angry. When in fact, we are all of the above, and are simply ready for some real change in real policy.

And really, I think that reinforces more than anything I could possibly add, what I have been saying all along: This election has become less about the actual issues at stake and more about our generation asserting its intelligence and its penchant for being well-educated, to the point where someone is “pandering to a new low” when he takes a stand for the unborn if he dares to insult the intelligence or education of those who have risen above the lowly, ignorant, conservative values of the “religious” community.

I stand by my assertion that it’s a rebellion, whether conscious or subconscious. It offends you to have been branded with that stigma of being uneducated that gets universally applied to the “religious right,” and to prove your brilliance, you’ve rebelled and embraced the counterview while maintaining that shiny “Christian” badge to wear alongside your Obama/Biden button.

You are wrong. God have mercy on us all.

3 11 2008
Tiffany M.

Rob,

I have been wondering myself what is happening with the young Christian voters these days. I was talking to a friend the other day and we were discussing how many of the youth in the church are voting for Obama and pro-choice. I suppose what puzzled me the most about this was their reasoning. Those voting for pro-choice were doing so because they believe that they can’t make that decision for someone else and should therefore allow that decision to be an option, even though they believe it’s wrong. I think that goes against the beauty of being able to vote…you are to vote for the people that support your values and beliefes and vote for ammendments that stand up for the truth according to God’s word. Well anyway, thanks for your entry, you had some good stuff in there!!! Love ya, Tiffany

3 11 2008
Emily Straw

I too am an independant, although I am registered as a republican because I considered myself a republican when I registered several years ago. This year my support is going to John McCain for a lot of reasons. The obvious abortion issue is very strong for me, especially since Obama voted to keep the law active that if an abortion is botched the doctor can leave the baby in a room to die instead of giving it any life saving care he or she can. (That’s just cruel). But actually, more importantly, I am looking at the world around us and trying to figure out who I want behind America in this time. When I find out about things like Russia, China, and India joining together in an oil alliance 3 years ago, I start to get worried. When policies come up in the UN from the Islamic Conference (a very strong alliance of all the Islamic countries in the UN and India is considering joining) where they want to make it legal for any of those countries to take punishment into their own hands for anyone speaking out against the religion of Islam (and only Islam, not any other religion) including torture and death for those convicted, I get worried. When the YWAM president comes to our church and begins showing the growth of Islam in the world including Europe (at 70% now) it also worries me. I guess “worry” isn’t the right word, more like “think about” or “contemplate.” The truth is that the Islam world is growing and growing and there’s not really a whole lot we can do to stop it. I want someone in office who isn’t ignorant to these issues and who will stand up for Christians not only in America but in the rest of the world. Barack Obama has shown me that he stands up for who he thinks will vote for him and support him. He has the support of Castro, the President of Iran (whose name I can’t spell 🙂 ), and several other dictators in the rest of the world. I want a president who will stand up to the adversaries of Christianity. Just a couple of things to think on for the Christians who are supporting Obama.

3 11 2008
Emily Straw

I do want to add a ditto though to Paul in that whoever is elected will definately have my prayers and my respect.

3 11 2008
Paul Christian Glenn

Emily,

This is really long. Apologies in advance. It’s all riveting, though, I promise. ;^)

Thanks for posting your thoughts. As a Christian who supports Obama, I’ll accept them in the spirit they’ve been given, and offer you a few of my own.

I can’t help noticing that most McCain supporters I’ve encountered are primarily concerned, not with the amount of good that he can do as President, but with fear about what’s going on in the world. Is this a valid Christian reason for supporting a candidate? I don’t believe God Almighty is too concerned with the worldwide spread of Islam, or the economic alliance of foreign powers. Remember that we “battle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers,” and our commission is not to halt the spread of other religions, nor even to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm. Our commission is thus:

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

Note that there is no qualification for these services. No assurance that the hungry, thirsty, strange or naked are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, working hard or making their own luck. I would ask you, which candidate embodies these values?

You mentioned that you want a leader who will stand up to the adversaries of Christianity. Is this what Christ instructed us to do? Is this what Paul the Apostle, or Jesus’ disciples, or even Jesus himself — all of whom went willingly to their deaths without taking up arms — exhorted us to do?

Is “standing up to our adversaries” a Christian value, or is turning the other cheek? Loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, doing good to those who hate you, and praying for those who spitefully use you and persecute you? These are hard, hard things for us to comprehend, yet this *is* what Christ commanded us to do.

Finally, you seem bothered by the fact that Obama is supported by several of America’s enemies. The implication seems to be that Obama is somehow soft on these enemies’ policies, or sympathetic to them, yet I would challenge you to find a single statement to substantiate that notion.

The reason these evil men support Obama is because he has shown a willingness to engage them — not make concessions to them — but to engage them, thereby lending them credibility on the international stage. Whether you agree with this tactic or not, I would ask, has our current policy (which is also McCain’s policy) alleviated or intensified international tension? It seems to me that by refusing to engage these countries, we have only encouraged them to do ever-more-horrifying things in an attempt to *make* the world pay attention. (How can we ever convince Iran to abandon their nuclear program, for example, if we refuse to even sit at the table with them? By shouting demands across the Atlantic? How effective has that been?)

In conclusion (at last!), I believe it is absolutely clear which candidate more clearly embodies the values of Christ. I would be extremely interested in hearing about the ways in which McCain’s policies embody the values of Christ, but I’ve been issuing that challenge for months, and have yet to be taken up on it. You can be the first! :^)

(And to reiterate, I concede the abortion issue — but I would also ask, after 8 years of a pro-life administration, 6 of which were supported by a conservative Senate and Congress, how much closer are we to seeing that issue overturned? And, rhetoric aside, what will McCain do to overturn this 35 year precedent?)

4 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

Paul, though you and Amy are both friends of mine supporting Obama, I see your points slightly differently. I stand by my assertions above in response to her comments and apply them to everyone equally, but I want to speak specifically to the two questions in your last paragraph.

As to “how much closer we are to seeing [the issue of abortion] overturned,” I will be the first to say that we are not any closer. For that, I primarily fault not the voting public or our lawmakers, but us, the church, for failing to demand it. Politicians have learned that they can call themselves “pro-life” and thus get the vote of much of the “religious right” without having to actually do anything that has an impact on abortion, and we keep allowing ourselves to be hoodwinked because we think our only personal responsibility is to vote for someone who claims to be pro-life and leave the ball in their court.

The answer, however, is not picking someone who embodies other Christian values, except for that pesky pro-choice stance of his.

You asked what McCain will do to overturn the 35-year precedent of Roe v. Wade. Honestly, I’m not expecting much. He only started spouting pro-life sentiments when it looked like it would help his political advantage.

The question I’m more concerned with is, “What will Obama do to make it that much harder to overturn Roe v. Wade?” And to that, I look at the fact that he’s touted his 100% approval rating by Planned Parenthood, and that he’s stated that it’s more important now than ever to strengthen and secure the “right” to abortion. Armed with an extremely likely Democratic super-majority in Congress as well as the ability to maintain a liberal Supreme Court, combating abortion could be exponentially more difficult in four years with Barack Obama as president.

4 11 2008
amycourts

Wow! I’m not sure if I should take more to heart that you “love and respect me as a sister” or that you think I’m “deluded, incorrect, stupid, ignorant, and foolish”!

We disagree on this issue and how to vote, Rob. And I’m ok with that.

But to call into question my integrity, intellect, wisdom and even – implicitly – my devotion to OUR God is truly unacceptable.

What I find almost funny – if you weren’t so blind to it – is the fact that you and I agree that abortion is evil. What we disagree on is the idea that overturning Roe v. Wade will a) actually ever happen, and b) do *anything* to deal with the real problem. You see abortion as the problem itself, I see it as a symptom of greater problems.

And frankly, I believe YOU (and those in the vote-for-McCain-just-because-he’s-‘pro-life’-even-though-he-won’t-do-a-damn-thing-about-roe-v-wade camp) are the ones “deluded, incorrect, stupid, ignorant, and foolish” to think their vote is actually being used effectively for the Kingdom of God.

What strikes me most, still, is your passionate arrogance which blinds you to the silliness of the argument and causes you to judge your own brothers and sisters, namely me and Micah.

4 11 2008
Micah D.L.

Rob~
I fervently respect your opinion and accept it as completely valid because I believe that you are an educated young man and that you have done the necessary and complete research to make an informed decision.

I apologize for the ugly language of my post on Amy’s wall, but please understand that she and I speak VERY openly and honestly with each other and always have. Unfortunately, Facebook is a public forum and maybe I should have stated my thoughts elsewhere if I was going to be so….umm…”verbose”.

But I think that in between all the offensive language, my point may have been lost. Please do not think that I find abortion an acceptable mode of birth control. THAT, my friend, is a 100% inaccurate understanding of my views. I have known people that have used it as birth control and I find that to be selfish and irresponsible, at best.

My point is that it is here and I think that we have to accept that it (probably) isn’t going away. I feel that if it is going to be offered as an option, I would rather it be done is a safe, sterile and medically trained environment. Because of the incredibly invasive nature of the operation, I feel that it is better that it be regulated and done professionally, rather than in some back alley (or worse). If you can bring yourself to read my comment on Amy’s wall again, re-read the portion when I compare it to war.

Additionally, please understand that yes, I do state that abortion is an “operation” because to think of it as something more (the reality of what it can be) is frightening and disturbing. It has taken years, but yes, I have been able to remove my emotions from this long-heated debate. I’m only trying to think logically about the issue at hand.

I do not think that I have been deluded and, like yourself, I believe that I have made an incredibly informed decision this election.

I agree whole-heartedly with Amy on this issue in that there needs to be more preventative care offered to women in this regard and that involves a great deal of education, but this is an entirely different issue.

I hope that you will accept my apologies for the use of course language on Amy’s wall and that this particular blog can continue to remain mutually respectful of all opinions….

4 11 2008
Todd Newton

I am, by degrees, both offended and enthralled by the content of this argument. You know I respect you, Rob, and Amy is my BFF’s BFF, so watching this is a lot like watching Clash of the Titans – doubly so, since I know you are both very immersed in what I consider a “conservative” culture (and I don’t mean that in a bad way).

Don’t worry, I’m not going to flame up here and start squealing — I know I went a little nuts over some of Liesl’s comments on Micah’s blog not too long ago — rather I’m going to try to keep this lucid and considerate.

Accusing me of being rebellious is a lot like accusing me of breathing; let’s just get this out of the way at the beginning. It did egg me on a bit when I asked my parents about who they were voting for and why, but I had already made my decision at that point.

Ultimately, it came down to different criteria than what you’ve covered, but I’m not sure I have ever belonged to your “Christian Republican” grouping that you laid out.

I’m Pro-Choice, always have been Pro-Choice (as well as Pro-Gay-Marriage), and frankly that has nothing to do with politics so much as I don’t believe I should be able to make moral decisions for other people. Not only is it unAmerican, in my opinion, it goes against the “free will” concept that even Christians tout as an inalienable human right. It’s important to meet to vote for a candidate who wants to put the decision in my hands rather than take it out of my hands and, to me, this is one of the things I see representing the Democratic party. In some senses I’m “liberal,” but in others I’m not, so I could have registered as Independent and not felt bad about it… but, honestly, this year there was no reason to because it was an absolute certainty who I would vote for (based on principle, who I feel represents “America” better, and the direction I believe the country should go).

So, there’s the bulk of my argument. I don’t want to hijack the thread but I wanted to respectfully disagree with your concept of “rebellion” being a main motivator. I don’t believe it’s a requirement to be Pro-Life if you are a Christian (if it is, then you’ll have to find something different to call me), and I don’t think you have to be a Republican if you’re Christian, and I don’t think you have to be Rebellious to be a Democrat. Human beings are myriad in their similarities and differences; we are a plethora of contradictions and interests, and I believe God intended it this way.

If we were all the same, whether that means all Christian, all Republican, or all American, this amazing world we live in would be absolutely pointless.

4 11 2008
Micah D.L.

Additionally, I don’t think that I’m rebelling against anything, least of all my upbringing, for which I am eternally grateful. Yes, I was raised in a conservative home (not to be confused with Republican, as both of my parents have voted Independent for as long as I can remember), but I was also encouraged to think freely and speak openly.

So, for me, rebellion is little of the issue here. It came down to NOT being a single issue voter any longer. I had to make what I thought would be the best choice.

4 11 2008
Jenn

Jeezie Creezie. I’m not sure what to say at this point, I think I need to digest it for awhile.

A few things while I’m sitting here.

Regarding the blog… interesting ideas. I will say that it’s kind of crappy to automatically assume that Christians who go astray (whether in voting or in leaving the church in what you call a “crisis of faith”) do so because they’re rebellious. It’s implying that they are not as smart as Christians who stick it out, and compares them indirectly to little kids throwing temper tantrums. If you’re looking to get those wayward sons and daughters back on track, insulting them isn’t the best way to do it.

I don’t recall ever seeing you act this way, Rob – and that was one of the things I loved about you so much. Specifically the way you talked to Amy… you sounded like every other snob-nosed, look down and call others unholy Christian I’ve ever met. Don’t forget that Christians can have their own opinions, viewpoints and ideas within “God’s” realm… and that’s OKAY. And though the Bible uses words like “foolish” and “ignorant” to describe the fallen or the sinful, you shouldn’t. It’s insulting, rude and demeaning.

Secondly… Obama CAN help lower the number of abortions. Let me ask you… have I ever had an abortion? No. Have any of my female friends? No. Why not? Because we’re educated on safe sex. I’m not celibate by ANY means, but I am able to protect myself with the resources and knowledge I have. Why wouldn’t that work for anyone else given the same opportunities?

Anyways… I still love you as always and I know as always we’ll disagree.. but I really found this one to be a bit upsetting, not so much in the content of the blog, but in the content of your responses.

4 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

Amy, a few points of clarification.

I’m not trying to talk out of both sides of my mouth. I do love and respect you as a sister in Christ. I also believe (and thought I made this clear above) that the LINE OF THINKING which asserts that voting for an abortion-rights advocate will somehow reduce abortion in the long-term is “deluded, incorrect, stupid, ignorant, and foolish.”

Insofar as that line of thinking relates to you personally, I wouldn’t use that same string of adjectives to describe you as a person. I think different adjectives apply, and I would probably state it thus: “On this issue, you are misinformed and deceived by that incorrect line of thinking,” a line of thinking that I might add didn’t originate with you but was perpetuated onto you at some point in your earnest quest to become well educated on the issue. Because honestly, we can all read all we want and become as educated as we want, but even when we read just the statistics, they’re always at the very least just a click or two away from the accompanying opinion of the analyst who compiled them.

Amy, I don’t think you’re stupid or foolish for what you believe on this. Rather, I think you’ve been hoodwinked by the enemy, which is not any sort of negative reflection on you. He’s the best deceiver there ever was. I don’t question your integrity or your devotion to God. I think that rather you’ve fallen victim to a lie, a lie which asserts that somehow, supporting a candidate who wants to expand abortion rights is going to do something to reduce abortion.

In the same way, I believe that Paul (another friend of mine who commented above) is deceived as well. His deception is different, but no less common: He believes that nothing can be done about abortion, and as such, it’s regrettable but okay to completely set the issue aside and focus on who ran the least ugly campaign. If legalized abortion was not already a reality, I could be convinced to consider some of those other factors. But in the midst of a war that has been all but overlooked by the liberals, a war against the unwanted unborn, those additional factors fade into meaninglessness.

The most amazing part of these deceptions is that they’re done in such a way so as to convince the deceived that they’re actually the enlightened. As I’ve said before, it’s the oldest trick in the book, going all the way back to Eden. Eve was seduced by the prospect of perceived wisdom. I don’t think it’s changed a bit today.

I’m not saying you’re stupid. I’m not saying you haven’t done your best to educate yourself. I’m saying that, despite your best efforts, you’ve unknowingly bought a lie and you’re wrong.

4 11 2008
Todd Newton

Ack, “lies” and “deception” by “the enemy.” I’m out of this argument as soon as supernatural forces start affecting the way I think as it’s just going to degenerate into circular reasoning. “You’re wrong because you bought into a lie” and “I’m right because I’m not susceptible to the lie” sound more like playground talk to me at this point and, as Jenn asserted above, is actually condescending.

Don’t you think you’re severely oversimplifying things by bringing in the professed certainty of “the enemy” being to blame rather than a person’s experience, frame of reference, and personality-fueled ability to discern? And, just because I really dislike this road the conversation is heading down, I want to point out that if you put so much credence in “the enemy’s ability to deceive” then the “argument” is fairly moot, anyway.

Frankly, it makes me sad that you have more confidence in [something I consider to be fictional]’s ability to control the way people think than the human race as a whole. I’m trying to stay mature about this and not use words like “boogeyman” but with emotions running high on a day like today it’s going to be difficult.

4 11 2008
Paul Christian Glenn

I’ll tread lightly here, as this is clearly a very emotional issue for you, and I can respect that. I would, however, *delicately* suggest that it may have been more ingenuous to lay your cards on the table from the outset. If the abortion issue trumps all aspects of political responsibility for you, that’s a perfectly respectable position (and one that I used to take, as well), but not every Christian will agree that one issue obscures all others.

For me, abortion is a tragic, un-winnable battle at this point. But I don’t see it as any more or less horrifying than the richest country in the world looking the other way while innumerable children starve to death, or die of preventable disease, etc. They’re both issues that churn my stomach. I’m voting the way I’m voting because I believe I can help change one of those tragic situations. I’ve abandoned the untake-able hill to rally around the hills I believe we *can* take.

I’d invite you to think about it in the same terms as voting for the third party candidate. You pointed out that it’s borderline irresponsible to vote for a candidate that can’t win, yet you feel compelled to vote for a candidate who, by your own admission, isn’t likely to do anything about abortion — and this at the expense of so much other good, Godly work that can be done.

I won’t tell you your decision is wrong, but I would invite you to see more than one side to the tragic coin we’re all flipping. :^/

4 11 2008
pennepasta

It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; that bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted, yea, they shall not be sown, yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth–and He shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

Big picture.

4 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

Jenn, thanks for your thoughts. I think you know the high esteem in which I hold your opinions, and for you to tell me that something I’ve written is upsetting to you gives me pause and makes me say, “Okay, what did I actually just say?”

Let me try to shed some additional light. Maybe this is judgmental and hypocritical of me, but this is totally honest. I’ve never tried to BS you, and so this is just a gut-level confession here: I hold people to different standards based on whether they profess to be Christians or not.

What I wrote to Amy is a continuation of a running dialogue that we have been having primarily in the comments on her blog. She’s a very talented musician developing a very notable career in the Contemporary Christian Music industry. And again, I fully acknowledge that this may be completely unfair and hypocritical of me, but I respond differently to her views on abortion as a political issue knowing she is a fellow Christian than I would if she were not.

You made this statement: “Don’t forget that Christians can have their own opinions, viewpoints and ideas within ‘God’s’ realm… and that’s OKAY.” It’s an excellent reminder, and I freely admit that my stubbornness is probably what makes it easier for me to accept this admonition coming from someone who formerly shared my faith and whose worldview has now evolved beyond the Christian faith than I would from, say, somebody at church.

As I alluded to with Amy, there are a number of such viewpoints that I am perfectly willing to concede, or at least to agree to disagree. I realize and accept that many people within my faith think that “spreading Democracy” is the great hope of the world while other Christians think that a successful economy modeled on early-church principles would look more socialistic in nature. And it’s not just within the political realm that these disagreements take place. Some people within my faith think that allowing children to celebrate Halloween is inappropriate. I respect their opinions and don’t give them crap for cowering in their basement reading the Bible while my children go trick-or-treating, and I expect a similar degree of tolerance from them because the Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween.” That’s a gray enough area to leave it to the personal conclusions of the individual Christian.

But there are some issues where I really don’t think there is much wiggle room for dissenting opinion — that is, not within the church. And I am of the opinion that saying “abortion is unfortunate and wrong, but should remain a legal choice” has no place within the church because it’s simply contrary to my entire (admittedly flawed) understanding of God. The edict “Thou shalt not kill” was given not as a suggestion or general moral principle, but as law. So I take issue with people inside the church who assert that it’s reasonable to make murder legal, but just discourage it.

I don’t expect people outside of the church to have an identical moral foundation to mine, and as such, I don’t typically argue this particular issue with them. At that point, the issue becomes secondary because without a faith in common, it doesn’t matter on what we agree or disagree. The issue itself still obviously matters to me, and I still believe that law should reflect what I believe to be right. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t care what the law said about abortion.

Maybe it’s a double-standard that I’m holding. Maybe I’m wrong for doing so. It’s something for me to think about.

As to the second point you raised about Obama’s plan being able to reduce abortions: I don’t foresee it happening, but at this point (even without seeing the final numbers of the election) I’m guessing Obama will win by a landslide. So… at that point, the question becomes, “Now what?” I will probably devote much blog space in the next week or so to answering that question, but my initial reaction is that if he really is committed to lowering the number of abortions, and if we really do have that as a common goal, it makes more sense for us to work together than to fight. I still have done everything in my power to keep him out of office, but at the point he wins the election, it becomes of very high importance to help him accomplish things that are right. And if he has a plan to reduce abortions, a plan that can be carried out in such a way that I can help to educate without simultaneously having to expand abortion rights, I’m in.

4 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

Paul, I forget that even though I think I’ve made no qualms whatsoever about my stance on abortion, both on this blog and elsewhere, someone stepping into this particular blog post doesn’t necessarily know that or any of the other background behind what’s unfolded in the comments.

I apologize if it came of as disingenuous; I really wasn’t trying to turn this into another blog about abortion. I didn’t even say “abortion” in the blog. The person with whom I’ve been debating abortion rights made a comment specifically related to abortion, and you brought it up as well. I think she knew the potential firestorm she was stirring up. You didn’t. My apologies.

Also, you said this:

You pointed out that it’s borderline irresponsible to vote for a candidate that can’t win, yet you feel compelled to vote for a candidate who, by your own admission, isn’t likely to do anything about abortion — and this at the expense of so much other good, Godly work that can be done.

That’s probably the most thought-provoking thing that’s been said to me lately and gives me a lot to think about.

Thanks for wording your response the way you did. I’m kind of getting my ass handed to me this morning, and I can’t say I wasn’t asking for it, but I really appreciate the compassion in your words as you raise a dissenting opinion.

4 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

Micah, I wasn’t trying to single you out or push for an apology, especially over language. It wasn’t written to me, nobody made me read it. And what made me sickened about it honestly wasn’t the language. I’m a huge South Park fan. There’s not much in terms of profanity that is going to shock me, or (somewhat embarrassingly) that I haven’t said myself on many, many occasions. I completely understand that it’s different when speaking with a best friend versus what you might say to a little old lady at church.

What perplexed me was what I perceived to be sort of an encapsulating summary right there (and it wasn’t because of the language but perhaps accentuated BY the language) of what appears to me as a spectator to have been a whole election season of a very pro-choice agenda being both advocated and perpetuated by Christians in my peer group. That bothers me a lot.

I can accept that we can see the issue drastically differently and both still be Christians and friends. And I do think we see it pretty differently; what you call “removing your emotions” from the issue I call becoming desensitized into apathy and inaction.

People can, and should, say what they think. I am frequently wrong, and one of the main reasons I blog is to get my thoughts out there and to allow those thoughts to become refined and hopefully bettered through the input of others. As I mentioned to a friend this morning, I am perfectly content to have people disagree with me. But I get upset when they express frustration over my disagreeing back.

Believe it or not, though I’m feeling a little beat up and bruised at the moment, all of the thoughts from everyone in this post have been influential in further shaping my thinking. I’m extremely grateful for each person who has taken the time to respond. I also like to imagine that I’m not the only one benefiting from the back-and-forth, but if I am, I guess that’s enough for me.

4 11 2008
amycourts

There’s so much to comment on that I can’t remember it all. I want to first say – because I neglected to in my last comment – that my anger and thus my choice to vote for change is not directed at my parents; I don’t resent my upbringing. I resent a republican party – and most evidently the Bush Administration – for exploiting my values as a Believer to accomplish their OWN ends while both ignoring the very issues which earned them our votes and pasting MY God’s name on a slew of high crimes and misdemeanors which no American – certainly no Christian – would ever willfully condone. I am rebelling against the last 8 years’ policies – BAD policies – under which more babies have been aborted than in the previous 15 years; I’m rebelling against an administration who used and abused my vote; I’m voting against a Party who says one thing and does the opposite.

And, more importantly, I’m voting FOR authentic, fully integrated CHANGE of policies.

But I will say this, and I hope that it clarifies, to the utmost, that morally speaking – and theologically speaking – you and I, Rob (and I venture to assert that most participants on this blog and others) are adamantly opposed to abortion are whole-heartedly pro-life. The difference does not lie in our morals. Because no one here nor anyone on the campaign trails is a proponent of abortion.

I also think it’s important to emphasize the difference between being pro-choice and being pro-abortion. No one is pro-abortion. Obama himself has said time and again that he is not “for” abortion. But as Todd stated above, it is of paramount importance in a Democratic society that morality not be mandated or legislated. While I may whole-heartedly, passionately disagree with a woman’s decision to abort, it is not necessarily my choice to make for her. (I tread lightly here, because I do believe there is a line, and because this particular discussion involves human lives, some protection ought to be offered for the unborn. And that’s why I remain “pro-life”.)

However, there are also cases, however few they may be in comparison to those performed for “selfish” reasons, in which abortion is the only viable option; when both the baby’s and the mother’s lives are in danger (as well as the lives of her other children who’ve come to depend on her), the mother’s life – and by extension, her other children’s lives – must be made priority. It’s not an easy choice, and often there is no “right” answer. But these are the consequences of the sinful nature; these are the choices we’re left with, like it or not. Which means that, to some degree, abortion must remain legal and safe for the sake of those mothers and the protection of her already born and living children. Overturning Roe v. Wade would magnify the number of these types of abortions performed every year, and further exasserbate the problem. This is the kind of right to choice Obama is adamantly supporting.

I should also note that I’m both smart and wise enough to know when I’ve been “hoodwinked” or “deceived”…and in this case, I’ve not been. I think the assumption that I have been implies that, to you, I’m lesser of a Christian, somehow more vulnerable to the attacks of the Enemy. And, well, that’s just plain arrogance speaking.

In fact, I have weighed my options carefully (as you have). I have prioritized my Values as well as the policies I believe most fully embrace and reflect those Values. I value life, and I value quality of life.

I value an economy that counts the least and the poorest of greatest concern and makes it a priority to provide for the least, to provide for the poor mother of 5 children who DID carry to term but still can’t afford to care for them all and is, herself, unable to create the milk necessary to feed the baby.

I value a health care system that values people and counts them “worthy of life-saving medical treatment” not because they are rich and can afford it, but because they are human and breathe.

I value an education system that values ALL children, no matter their upbringing or geographic location, and equips them with the tools to rise above their circumstance and become their family’s first college graduate, AND teaches a sacred sexuality by empowering our youth to know themselves and their great value – body, mind, and spirit – and teaches them how to not only protect their hearts but also their health.

I value a culture in which the woman who has made the RIGHT decision, by carrying to term and choosing to give her child life, is thereafter given all the help she needs, financially (welfare), educationally (grants and loans to college and free child care for her baby while in school), and medically (proper health care guaranteed for both mother and child) as a reward for her good decision. [I do NOT value a system that screams “we’re pro-life, stop killing babies” and yet willfully ignores – even condemns – the mother who carries to term and can’t afford to feed her child and thus seeks welfare and medicaid.]

I value a culture in which ALL life – born, unborn; rich and poor; educated and uneducated – are treated equally, economically and socially.

I value a system that values humans above corporations, and perceives the needs of people as more important than the cries of multi-billion dollar companies who’ve conducted business poorly and are suffering the fruit of their labor.

And all of these values are based in my Biblical understanding of Christ’s Way.

And all of these values – which I’ve noted time and again contribute exponentially to the issues of unwanted pregnancies and abortions – are reflected in Obama’s platform, but woefully absent in McCain’s.

So no. I’m not deluded, foolish, ignorant, stupid, or willfully deceived or hoodwinked. My eyes are wide open, and my choice was made.

I’d make it a gain. On behalf of the unborn.

4 11 2008
amycourts

And Paul:
Your last post was so perfectly stated. *Applause*

4 11 2008
Micah D.L.

Maybe I just felt that the apology was warranted because of WHERE I stated my feelings and I do know that many of my friends are “friends” of Amy’s on Facebook and were probably more-than taken aback by not only my statement, but the ferocity of it.

This is an issue that I have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other on in my short life, but I can assure you that over the last maybe 5 to 8 years my opinion on it has NOT been one of apathy. I truly have removed my emotions from the situation because I think that in so many situations, when emotions get involved it can cloud judgment.

That said, apathetic is probably the worst word to describe me (ask either Amy or Todd…they know me the best of anyone out there). My stance of “It exists” is one of action to be certain. Like I said before, just because it’s THERE doesn’t mean I agree with it. But like Todd, I refuse to make that decision for someone else, especially when I don’t know the full extent of whatever situation has forced the hand of abortion. So instead, I choose to take part in the education of young America on what can be done either INSTEAD of abortion or to prevent it altogether.

So passionate, yes. Apathetic, absolutely not.

4 11 2008
Paul Christian Glenn

@Todd

I don’t know you, so forgive my forward manner, but you hit upon one of my pet-peeve arguments, and I simply cannot let it slide. 🙂

You said:

“I don’t believe I should be able to make moral decisions for other people. Not only is it unAmerican, in my opinion, it goes against the “free will” concept that even Christians tout as an inalienable human right.”

This is a straw-man argument. Unless you believe that no actions should be illegal, you most certainly do believe you (or someone, at any rate) should be making moral decisions for other people. Do you think rape should be legal? Robbery? Kidnapping? If the answer is no, then you are making “moral decisions” for other people.

I wouldn’t presume to assign motives, but to my ears this straw-man argument always reads like an evasion of the *actual* question at the core of the abortion debate: at what point does an embryo become a human life? The science makes many pro-choicers uncomfortable, so I can see why they’d rather divert the argument.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

4 11 2008
Heather Lynn

My Loving Brother Rob,

Wow..so I am not quite sure where to start with this whole response thing. I am so glad that I have taken American Government this semester, and especially glad that I am taking it at a Christian University. Never before in my life have I felt so ignorant to the issues around me, but never before have I heard God’s voice speaking so loudly in my life either.

I think it is good for Christians to get together and discuss contradicting viewpoints. At the same time, however, I don’t think it’s okay to slander or debauch another person’s views. To disagree with Amy, Micah, and Paul is one thing, but to personally attack their faith…that’s a whole other ball game brother. I understand that I do not know your relationship to these people, but I do understand your relationship to me; I am your little sister, and you are my loving big brother. And you have stated before in your blog comments that these people are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, I would never expect that verbiage to be directed at me from you, and in the same sense, I would never expect it to be directed toward others either, despite whether they are our family in Christ or not.

Also, one of the biggest things that I have discovered through the past twelve weeks in school is that: I am a Christian. Finally I am beginning to see what it means to surrender this life that I have tried to hold control of for so long, to see that “being like Christ” is what being a Christian means. Following Christ’s words and actions is what we as CHRISTIANS have been called to do.

I have come to realize that the biggest issue with voting is simply that by choosing between two political parties, people are being asked to cut their faith in half. Stick with me for a minute while I try to explain what I am thinking. Trust me. My thoughts have been jumbled for 12 weeks, and I am trying for the first time to organize them enough to type them out.

The struggle I have with voting is simply that I can only elect the person I agree with “the most.” I struggle with this in knowing that no matter who I would vote for, part of my heart is going to be left unsatisfied. Some of my morals are getting neglected. If I voted for Obama, I honestly would struggle with the idea of newborn babies legally being killed, on the terms of the mother’s “discernment,” “wishes,” or “choice.” I am far from confident with Obama’s foreign policy design. Yet by voting for McCain, I struggle with the idea of neglecting (more so than with Obama’s proposals) the economic crisis that our country is in, as well as providing adequate health care and education to everybody. What is more important: education, health care, and aid in an economic crisis, or preventing abortion and gay marriage, and remaining in Iraq to minimize terror in our country? As a Christian, I would say that all of the things addressed by both parties are important, and it officially SUCKS to have to choose which one is “more important,” or which one I “agree with more”!!! What if I think adequate health care and education is just as important as preventing women from having the right to “choose” whether or not to kill their baby? What if I think protecting our country’s militarily is just as important as the economic crisis we are in???

It bothers me to hear people identify themselves as “Christian Republicans” or “Christian Democrats.” I think it would be more appropriate to say, ” I am a Christian, and I am a Republican/Democrat.” I am pretty sure that Christ would not declare himself as a republican, as a democrat, or even as an independent. Christ is the “I AM,” and that’s a label in and of itself. As followers of Christ, I think it is contradictory to put the term Christian in front of a political party, or in front of a nation for that matter (most people consider America to be a Christian nation). False! Christ represents the Kingdom of God, something that no political system on this earth could ever portray! Why, do you ask? Because, God’s Kingdom is “not of this world.” Try as a political party, or a form of government may, they will never even come close to representing the Kingdom of God! It is Christians who depict the Kingdom, who represent the love of God that flows through each one of us because He is in our hearts. It is only through Christ that the Kingdom of God advances, not through a political party that represents the country that we live in.

But the truth rests in the fact that we are being asked to choose. Anyone who says that they vote “for the good of the country” and not “based off of their morals,” is completely bonkers (I tried to think of a funny word that wouldn’t piss people off). No matter what we vote for, our morals are included. The truth is simply that we are being asked to choose which morals are “more important” at the current time. In my view, they are all important. Christ addressed it all in saying we should “Love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, mind, body and strength,” while also “Loving our neighbors as ourselves.”

Let’s face it, no matter who get elected into office, it doesn’t change the fact that as Christians, we are responsible for going out into the world to preach God’s word; a word of love, forgiveness, mercy and grace! By getting so entrenched in all of the political garb, we are losing sight of what is most important. I understand the need to be educated on the functioning of our government. And I understand the necessity to be involved in securing the safety of our lives. But to bash one another based on disagreements of what is the “best” direction for our country to go in, is losing sight of the beauty of our faith.

God gives us the choice. No matter what we choose, God gives us the ability to make a choice.

So brother, I say that people are going to vote for whoever they feel they can “most” comply with. You and I both know that neither party is the “Christian Party” and nor should we ever label it as such. But please do not accuse someone of being “wrong” because they think differently from you. No, God does not tolerate the abortion of babies, just as He does not condone genocide happening in other countries throughout the world. Our world is an ugly place, and truly the only hope anyone has rests in the Kingdom of God. Whether it is legal or illegal, we know where God stands, and that is the law we abide by above all else.

Rob you are going to vote however you feel it will benefit our country the most. Realize that others voting for Obama are voting for who they view will serve our country best. Honestly, I think in a situation like this, no one is exactly wrong and no one is exactly right. How “right” can we get with an “earthly kingdom”? God doesn’t “rank” our sins. I will go ahead and say it: sin is sin! We all sin, therefore we all deserve hell. But to say that legalizing abortion is “more evil” than some of the policies endorsed by McCain, is not fair. Sin will always be sin, Rob, no matter what shape it takes.

But we are called to choose in this election, and that’s where it gets fuzzy. So, I appreciate you letting others read your opinions. But understand that these are YOUR opinions. Other people have THEIR opinions. Like I said before, neither candidate is the “right.” You have clearly chosen which candidate you think is “better” and that’s great! Let others make that choice as well. But please do not accuse others of being “wrong” when they think differently from you. Both candidates have “wrong” material laced throughout their campaigns.

Above all, my faith rests in the Lord my King, not in the government of the United States. My allegiance rests with my Heavenly Father, despite what is legal and illegal in this country. I know you will vote as you feel is best, but do not be disgusted or enraged when other Christians vote differently than you do.

Hopefully my thoughts were not too jumbled and disorganized. I hope to have conveyed somewhat of a point through all of this. I love and respect your opinions Rob, and I have missed our conversations. You inspire me in more ways than you know.

5 11 2008
PaulK

With respect, Paul, I think your argument is actually more of a “straw-man” (as you’re using the term) than Todd’s. Your argument implies there is no difference between abortion and things like rape, robbery and kidnapping. Obviously, there is a difference – rape, robbery and kidnapping have reached a point of consensus in our society where there is no reasonable dissent, and our legal code reflects that. Whether or not rape is acceptable in our society is not a moral question.

I don’t want to speak for Todd, but I believe what he’s saying is that until our scientific, legal, and ethical (including religious) communities reach some sort of consensus on when life begins, he’s not prepared to make those decisions for other people, ie to codify abortion prohibition into law. While I don’t entirely agree with this stance, I think it is important to address it for what it actually is, and not the “straw-man” you’ve set it up to be.

5 11 2008
Todd Newton

Paul(CG), I appreciate that you pointed that out. Let me clarify.

To your point: This is a straw-man argument. Unless you believe that no actions should be illegal, you most certainly do believe you (or someone, at any rate) should be making moral decisions for other people. Do you think rape should be legal? Robbery? Kidnapping? If the answer is no, then you are making “moral decisions” for other people.

This isn’t a question of LEGality though with the examples you brought up it’s hard to ignore the injection of MORality. As OtherPaul pointed out, “abortion” is not on the same level as “rape” – they can’t be compared in the same sense because, while they are both actions, one is a multi-person medical procedure and the other is merely a crime.

But, to my point, a person is free to make the choice to rape (or worse) and I don’t have the ability or capacity to stop them particularly since rape is already illegal as a deterrent. Making abortion illegal won’t stop abortion no more than it stops rape, murder, poaching, genocide, or shoplifting. Education and alternatives as well as designated representatives of the law stop these things (except for genocide, which seems to have no real obstacle but time).

I am against telling other people what they can and can’t choose to do because once you head down that road there’s no incentive to stop. Now, it’s a delicate balance because as you pointed out I wouldn’t want to “authorize” rape and whatnot, but at the same time you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

We’re supposed to have freedom, both in America and in Christ, but where that freedom seems to stop is when the choices we make are disagreed with by other people. While I may find actions that people take reprehensible, it is absolutely not my place to bar them from making their own choices whether it be starting their own business or robbing a bank while, at the same time, weighing the consequences against my own safety.

Since abortion doesn’t hurt me, literally or figuratively (being that I’m alive so the point is moot for the person that I am), I’m doubly removed from the situation. But since it does relate to my personal belief that a person’s choices shouldn’t be hindered by the morality of others, my view is what it is. My conclusion is that I don’t take on the authority to tell someone else that what they’ve done is morally wrong and when someone does something legally wrong there’s already a system in place for that.

6 11 2008
darla

Rob: I read everything with the great conviction that we have very similar personalities. There are some things, like you, that are just “black and white”. Not grey. And abortion is one of those issues. I have gotten myself into trouble more times than I can count for “getting on my high horse”.

I really appreciate your honesty and passion. I understand it. I know I can come away from reading these comments at the very least examining my own heart.

Thank you for provoking my thoughts.

7 11 2008
Aeron

Paul Christian Glenn-

I would like to make two points regarding one of your posts above.

1. You made a statement regarding “letting vengeance be the Lord’s.” I would like to challenge you to consider this truth: God’s vengeance is not entirely limited to His final judgment. Throughout all of history God has used nations and leaders, both good and bad, to bring about His vengeance and His judgment. We need to remember that the “heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord.” This applies, as difficult as it is to accept, to Hitler, Napolean, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. I am not saying we should actively promote every position taken by our leaders. I feel quite the opposite, in fact. I would strongly have encouraged German Christians to stand against Hitler’s genocidal regime, just as I encourage Christians in America today to stand against the disgusting policies of Barack Obama in relation to abortion. But at the end of the day, I will not presume that actions taken by a nation or a “king” have usurped the sovereignty of God. It is difficult to wrestle with, but Pharoahs’s heart was in God’s hands even while God was bringing about His purpose in setting the Israelites free. It just may be that America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is directly an act of God’s vengeance, though stained by sin, no doubt, at every point where it touches the human involvement with His plan.

2. I am greatly disappointed to see you have given up on the abortion issue. It is true that despite a majority of years since 1973 of having a pro-life president in office, abortion is still legal. But you are failing to recognize that there are myriad instances of legislation and smaller battles regarding this issue that come up all the time. We must continue to fight for every inch of ground for every baby yet to be put at risk by our nation’s increasing support of abortion measures.

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