Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Christian Vote for Obama

Anne Larsen VanderWeele:
In 2012, my vote is cast for Barack Obama because I believe that whatever the next four years bring, I know I can trust that he will continue to promote, advocate and enact a system of government that embraces so many of my Christian ideals. If we begin with policies that honor each other’s worth and end with a system that trusts in the ability to share prosperity in the face of abundance, surely we are closer to staking a claim in this corner of God’s world that others will recognize as His.
Disclaimer: This is my personal view, not the official view of my church. I hesitate to write along these lines too much since my community is harshly politicized and the mingling of politics and church life is extremely dangerous.

That being said, the stakes are too high to keep quiet on this. I understand the above comment and would be certainly willing to entertain a conversation on the merits of her views. But in short, I simply don't get it and for Christians, I honestly think it's a travesty.  John Piper has a helpful explanation:
Investigating dog life in Minnesota has solidified my decision to vote against those who endorse the right to abortion. So then what is my response to the charge of being a one-issue voter? 
No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office. 
For example, any candidate who endorsed bribery as a form of government efficiency would be disqualified, no matter what his party or platform was. Or a person who endorsed corporate fraud (say under $50 million) would be disqualified no matter what else he endorsed. Or a person who said that no black people could hold office—on that single issue alone he would be unfit for office. Or a person who said that rape is only a misdemeanor—that single issue would end his political career. These examples could go on and on. Everybody knows a single issue that for them would disqualify a candidate for office. 
It's the same with marriage. No one quality makes a good wife or husband, but some qualities would make a person unacceptable. For example, back when I was thinking about getting married, not liking cats would not have disqualified a woman as my wife, but not liking people would. Drinking coffee would not, but drinking whiskey would. Kissing dogs wouldn't, but kissing the mailman would. And so on. Being a single-issue fiancĂ© does not mean that only one issue matters. It means that some issues may matter enough to break off the relationship. 
So it is with politics. You have to decide what those issues are for you. What do you think disqualifies a person from holding public office? I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office. It's simply the same as saying that the endorsement of racism, fraud, or bribery would disqualify him—except that child-killing is more serious than those. 
When we bought our dog at the Humane Society, I picked up a brochure on the laws of Minnesota concerning animals. Statute 343.2, subdivision 1 says, "No person shall . . . unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate or kill any animal." Subdivision 7 says, "No person shall willfully instigate or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal." The penalty: "A person who fails to comply with any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor." 
Now this set me to pondering the rights of the unborn. An eight-week-old human fetus has a beating heart, an EKG, brain waves, thumb-sucking, pain sensitivity, finger-grasping, and genetic humanity, but under our present laws is not a human person with rights under the 14th Amendment, which says that "no state shall deprive any person of life . . . without due process of law." Well, I wondered, if the unborn do not qualify as persons, it seems that they could at least qualify as animals, say a dog, or at least a cat. Could we not at least charge abortion clinics with cruelty to animals under Statute 343.2, subdivision 7? Why is it legal to "maim, mutilate and kill" a pain-sensitive unborn human being but not an animal? 
These reflections have confirmed my conviction never to vote for a person who endorses such an evil—even if he could balance the budget tomorrow and end all taxation.
Here is my main question for Obama voting Christians:  Would you ever vote for a presidential candidate who endorsed the right of parents to kill their children up until six weeks of age? Of course you wouldn't. It would be unthinkable.

Now, if you are going to vote for Obama, you have to have worked out a clear explanation on the difference between a six week old baby and an unborn baby. What is the difference? You would never vote for killing a six-week-old. Everyone knows we should protect that child. What fundamental, ontological, difference is there between the unborn and the six-week-old that renders one unprotected and the other worthy of all the protections of the laws?

Now, there certainly are differences. For example, differences in size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependancy. But the key question is are those differences significant?

You'd never vote for the legalization of killing the six-week-old.  Why vote for the continued legalization of the killing of the 20-week-old in the womb?  What's the difference between the two?  My take is that there is NO significant difference.  But Christian, if you are voting for Obama this Nov., then you must surely know what that significant difference is.

But you say, "There are other issues to consider!"  But are there really?  If that law about killing the six-week-old was truly suggested by a candidate would you honestly be willing to listen to his/her stance on other issues or would you discard him/her outright?

Christian, in one sense, this is very simple and straightforward.  Think it through.  I plead with you.  Think it through.  You'd never align yourself with the hypothetical "legalize baby murder" candidate.  So what is the difference between that and abortion?


Jeremy said...

So true, Z. Thank you for persistently speaking on this. I used to be one of those who (naively) believed that abortion wasn't a deal breaker because no matter what a candidate said he believed, he would do little to nothing to actually change the policies for better or worse. After some history lessons, and seeing what our current president has actually done, I've definitely changed my mind. Abortion is a deal breaker for me now. I only pray that if my candidate wins the election he will be wise toward other policies as well.
God bless,

amy said...

I am curious as to what you recommend then. Do we vote for Obama or do we vote for someone who believes Satan was Jesus' brother (and other abominations) or do we abstain from voting.

Vitamin Z said...


I would say that Obama's and Romney's theological convictions are equally incorrect, so it's a wash. But if all presidents had to pass the "theology test" then we'd never vote. We don't live in a theocracy. But we do live in a country where it should probably be a "trump card issue" when we allow the legal killing of the most defenseless among us.

Steve said...

It's worse than you have presented here. President Obama doesn't just believe in a woman's right to "choose" but also supports infanticide - given his vote against the Born Alive legislation in 2001 then being debated in the state of Illinois.


J. Gary Ellison said...

Thank you for publishing this. It is amazing that for many who call themselves Christians this is a non-issue.

It might be argued that not only is there no significant difference between the unborn and the six week old baby, but that all of us are essentially the same from conception to the grave: we are all human beings regardless of our stage of development.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Abortion is the single issue - and the divinity of Christ is not? Are we then condoning the condemnation of so many to eternal separation from God because they do not..."Believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus is LORD?" Thisis what Mitt Romney believes and by choice would advocate. Where is your cited work that President Obama believes otherwise?

I would love to narrow this down to a single issue but if I choose between Infantcide or Damnation - I choose both and more. It's not that simple.

Brett Maragni said...

I'll stop being a one issue voter when America stops legally killing babies. Period.

Anonymous said...

If you come across a homeless person and open your wallet and give him money, you've done good.

But you do no noble thing when you take money out of the wallet of the person standing next to you, even if he's well off, and give it to the homeless man.

Forced charity is not Christian.