Thursday, November 08, 2012

Would you Dare Say, "There Are Other Issues" to Wilberforce, MLK Jr, and Bonhoeffer?

Scott Sauls writes well here but I would like to add some nuance as well:
John Wesley once wrote the following during a heated political season:

For people who will vote, I urge them to vote for those they judge most worthy, and to speak no evil against the person they voted against, and to take care that their spirits are not sharpened against people who voted on the other side.

Yes, John Wesley. Yes.

Here's something else to think about. If I feel more of a kindred solidarity with those who share my politics but not my faith than I feel with those who share my faith but not my politics, what does it say about me? It suggests that I may have sold out to Rome. I have rendered to God what belongs to Caesar, and to Caesar what belongs to God.

We must recognize, friends, that the Bible does not endorse one particular platform over another. Some may argue that their party supports "Christian values" and the other party does not. Both the "Christian left" and the "Christian right" make this claim in every election cycle. But this begs the question, whose Christian values? Which Christian values are we talking about? Are we talking about justice and protection for the unborn? Or are we talking about justice and protection for the poor? Is it the right to hold private property? Or is it our obligation to care for foreigners and aliens in our midst? Is it promoting an environment in which every able bodied person has the opportunity and obligation to earn his/her own keep? Or is it promoting an environment in which just wages, equal pay for equal work, and basic human rights are guaranteed for all people everywhere? According to the Bible, these among others are "Christian" values derived not only from common sense, but from the sacred Scriptures themselves. It is indisputable that both parties...yes, both...will emphasize some of these biblical ideals, but not all of them, in their platforms. It is also indisputable that both parties...yes, to honor the full range of truth, justice, and freedom that the Scriptures call for in a Kingdom that is truly "from heaven."

But to the last paragraph I would ask, "Are all issues created equally?"  That seems to be the implication.  There are many important issues and neither party will get them right and the Bible doesn't endorse one party over the other  so we need to all calm down, get along, and move forward with charity and peace.

I agree, but also I wonder...

If you were writing to William Wilberforce after his many loses in the 1800's would you list his political aspirations as "just one of the issues" as he sought to abolish the slave trade?   Would you say to him, "Why are you so focused on this one political point?  Shouldn't we remember that the Bible doesn't endorse one political party?"

If you were talking to Martin Luther King Jr., would you list his fight for equality as just one of the political issues?  Would you say, "Why are you so focused on this one political point?  Shouldn't we remember that the Bible doesn't endorse one political party?"

If you were talking to Dietrich Bonhoeffer as he resisted the politics of Hitler at the cost of his life would you remind him that his point of view is just "one of the issues out there"?  Would you dare say, "Why are you so focused on this one political point?  Shouldn't we remember that the Bible doesn't endorse one political party?"

Are there not some political issues that transcend all others?  Would we want to lump the political battles of Wilberforce, King, and Bonhoeffer into a big caldron of political soup and say that the Bible "does not endorse one particular platform over another"?

When members of the human family are being legally exterminated at a rate that makes the Holocaust seem like child's play, is it not right to despair, like Jeremiah for Israel?

Is it not right to take this out of the realm of the merely political and place in the realm of right and wrong that trumps all other issues?   There is no moral equivalency in our world today to the systematic killing of the unborn.  You simply can't find it.  You would be dishonest to try.

Does not this one issue transcend our political differences and make certain candidates morally disqualified just like you would view those aligned with the slave trade, Nazis, and southern segregation as morally disqualified, irrespective of anything else they said?

It's 55 million and counting.  Does not this issue set itself apart and demand a bit more nuance in how we talk about it and how we vote in light of it?

If mothers were legally killing their toddlers in the streets at the rate of millions per year, would we feel different about our political battles?  If one party said it was legal for these mothers to do so and the other party said it was completely wrong for the mothers to do so, would we say that the Bible "does not endorse one particular platform over another"?

So what is the difference between the toddler and the unborn?

All political issues are not created equal.  In fact, this is not a political issue as much as it is a human rights issue.   We dare not talk about it in the same way as the others.


Jason Wredberg said...

Excellent Zach! Thank you.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for persistently beating the drum on this, brother. I know that I certainly need to be reminded often what is at stake.

BLen said...

this is why i read this blog thanks for saying what needs to be said brother

James said...

I think you may be missing the point of why so many of us pro-life voters based our votes om something other than abortion.
It's not that we don't think abortion is as important as you think it is. We do.
It's that we have very little faith that any Republican president will actually do anything about it.

Vitamin Z said...


So how does it follow to use your vote to continue to make sure that the most pro-abortion president in the history of politics continues to serve? It's a done deal now that abortion will continue to be entrenched in our American culture by force of law.

How do you know that Romney would not have appointed pro-life supreme court justices and/or other measures that might not outlaw it but chips away at it? Paul Ryan obviously would have to have had some impact.

jason said...

Pornography, idolity and fornication lead to death; but in these areas we don't put our hope in a political hail-Mary...its in the gospel and the power of His truth. I don't think "Rome" can be trusted on abortion & believe the church has sold out time on politics when really we need to be down at the PRC with an authentic message of that won't turn into a broken "campaign promise"
grace to you