Please be sure to read the * at the bottom for my disclaimer. Last Tuesday I wrote a post complaining about, among other things, covering elections by polls. Then I promptly went out last Wednesday and read this Zogby poll. It is very telling.
Today I want to post about politics again, but this time from a different angle. Before I begin I want to say that I am certain that no hope for this world, or for our country is found in politics, but only in the gospel of Jesus. (You can read more of my thoughts on this subject here, in what I consider my best post ever.) It does, however, matter how we vote.
So how should responsible Christians think about politics? There are those who would say that there is nothing to think about; we are Republicans, right? Then there are those others who would say that the Republican party is too ungodly they don’t care about the environment and they are only concerned about money so we are to be Democrats. My pastor says look at the party platforms and see which you are. (Here are links to the Democratic and Republican platforms 2008 version.) I must admit that at 123 pages I did not read both platforms. I did, however, skim them both, and my conclusion is that although the two sides are in opposition on most major issues, there is plenty covered by both parties that I can disagree with. (I disagreed with a lot more in one than in the other)
How are we, as responsible Christians, to vote? It seems that it comes down to issues and how a particular candidate feels about those issues. Let's imagine that there are only a handful of issues, even though in reality there are more like hundreds, those issues include:
- The economy (it's the economy, stupid) or see here
- The war on terror, including the Iraq war
- Technology issues, such as net neutrality
- Sanctity of human life issues
- Defining Marriage
- Energy policy, including climate change policy
- Social security
- Issues of privacy vs. security
- Crime control
Here is where it becomes more difficult, it is not as simple as merely dividing up the candidates by their positions, seeing who is on my side more often, and selecting that candidate. The fact is, these issues do not all weigh the same. If I am in agreement with one candidate in his view of net neutrality and another candidate in his view of the sanctity of human life, (which, in fact, I am) those are not equal issues. Both are important, but it is more important to protect human life than to protect the internet from the greed of the telecoms.
For quite a long time evangelicals have been considered a two issue group. However, lately there is this notion in the media that evangelicals are no longer interested in the same issues. This is largely brought on by Rick Warren’s movement to assist with AIDS in Africa and the recent statements by evangelicals on global warming. In response I will quote Dr. Daniel Akin, who said his [SEBTS] presidential forum last week, “We’re not looking for a different moral/social agenda, but we are looking for an expanded agenda.”
I would agree with that statement totally. What I am saying is that Christians should still be committed to the issue of the sanctity of human life in all its forms, from the youngest to the oldest. Christians should still be concerned about defining marriage legally the same way that it is defined biblically. Those, however, should not be the entire list. We should be concerned about the poor in our nation and around the world. We should be concerned about those in war-torn parts of the world. We should be concerned about the AIDS epidemic both in Africa and in America, and we should be concerned about the way we care for our planet.
I guess, 700 words into this post, it's time to reach some conclusions. So let's ask the question again; How should a responsible Christian vote? At the very least a Christian should be educated about the candidates, know their views on the issues, and vote according to his or her beliefs.
It is also imperative that Christians know which issues are most important. In the Zogby poll I mentioned earlier, the number one issue by a landslide was the economy, and that was before the disastrous events of last week. I submit to you two things. First, the president actually has very little control over the economy. The current issues have arisen from corporate debt, and the next collapse is coming because of personal debt. Second, don't sacrifice morality for money. What I'm saying is; it's not the economy, stupid.
A final word. Vote! Don’t ignore your local elections. In all reality, your mayor, or governor or city councilman will have much more effect on your life than the president. Voting for president is important, but don’t ignore your local elections.
* Although I am a staff member of LaGrange Park Baptist Church, the views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not that of the church. They may not be construed as an endorsement or attack on any candidate or party on behalf of the church. They are my views as an individual.