Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Prodigal Party (which one?)

A very dear friend and I were having a lively debate last night that has me really thinking and a bit confused. She, being Democrat (but not straight ticket), and confused me who has historically voted Republican (but not straight ticket) were discussing which moral issues should take priority when Christians vote. The obvious main moral issues are the sanctity of marriage and abortion and one that is often overlooked but still extremely important is the issue of caring for the poor and needy. While I'm sad that we have to choose (often the lesser of two evils) how are we to go about making this choice Biblically. My pastor gave a powerful sermon last week on abortion and the sanctity that God has placed on life. My heart couldn't nod in agreement any harder. I also am passionately convinced of God's great wisdom in the order He has set into place concerning marriage between a man and a woman. But what about the poor? What about health care for our children? Did not Jesus heavily emphasize and live out a call to give to the poor and care for those around us in need? Is this not what He spent the majority of his ministry doing besides teaching? Is this only the church's responsibility? Or do we have a responsibility to voice our concern for the poor on our ballots?

I ask these questions because I simply don't know the answer....and maybe I'm asking the wrong questions. Maybe I've missed the point. What I am sure of is that the "spiritual" line between the two political parties is greatly thinning. The differences seem to be harder to discern with the increasing amount of religious fog surrounding the candidates. Christians are a huge target for both parties and they're demanding that we decide which moral issues we will get behind more.

We've all heard our President quote scripture from the Oval office and profess his faith. His father too. But now there's Obama showing up in the pews....and even Hillary. And while it's easy to jump to my own judgements and opinions about where they may or may not stand personally, the issues remain the same.....and both sides are calling on Christians to make their choice.

So, what do you think? How do you go about deciding on these huge issues from a Biblical perspective?

I would love to hear your answers.

Here's a very interesting article in this month's WORLD magazine on the subject (if you have a subscription).


Melanie said...

It's a tough call, I must say. There are so many issues that are prevelant in today's society that need the attention of the Christian community. I'm honestly struggling with who I may vote for, but my decision will probably be for the candidate who has the best solutions and platforms for the issues in the forefront of America. It's tough because abortion is a huge issue that pricks the heart of so many pro-lifers, but is that an issue that will be addressed in the next 4 years? I don't know. If we vote in a man/woman who is a pro-lifer, but supports same-sex marriages and wants to remove all of our troops from Iraq, then should we vote him/her in? Or if there is a candidate who is pro-choice, but will refine healthcare, step up to the war on terror, and stop trying to change the law where marriage is concerned; should we vote for him/her? Though abortion is a huge issue, I don't know if it will be a front-runner in the political agenda over the next several years. I may be wrong and I don't know what I'll decide. Our votes will be critical in this next presidential election. We'll have a tough decision to make in November of '08.

Kelly said...

There's not a week that goes by that I wish I had a subscription to World magazine...I need to get with it and just order one.

You raise a lot of good points here, Dana. I think Christians who consistently vote conservatively have gained a reputation for themselves as being incredibly selfish. As long as the pro-life, pro-family candidate wins, we don't care about who's getting poorer or hungrier or sicker. It's disgusting. David and I talked ourselves to death about this topic around the time of the election this past fall. I think for us it came down to a process of finding out what our #1 hot-button issue is -- for me, it's still abortion and being a mom has only made me more resolute about that -- and trying to vote that way as much as possible. In the fall, there were a lot of judges' seats open, and I voted straight-ticket party line Republican for those seats because I thought...if Roe V. Wade gets overturned in the next few years (possible), I want people high up in NC to outlaw abortion here IMMEDIATELY.

But we can't just leave it David says, he wants to "vote red, act blue," in such a way that our lives are engaged with the poor...involvement with rescue missions, outreach, crisis pregnancy centers, even supporting foreign missionaries go a long towards promoting peace and loving our neighbor. We as a couple have a long way to go in that department but we're mulling it over a lot.

Also, another issue that irks me a bit with conservative Christians is their lack of care about the environment. We're supposed to be stewarding the earth and somehow Rush Limbaugh convinced us all to be proud to drive a gas-guzzler. I don't get it.

PS...have you heard "Mockingbird" by Derek Webb? It's more food for thought along these very lines. It's all about ethics, social justice...and then there are two random love songs on there (just 'cause his wife rocks). :-)

Kelly said...

I meant to say...

"There's not a week that goes by that I DON'T wish I had a subscription to World magazine...I need to get with it and just order one."


Shawnda said...

I love the way you just lay it all out there : ) Thanks for posting on this! It's good to hear what Melanie and Kelly have to say!! I love what David says! Vote red, act blue! I'm with Kelly, abortion is my hot button, and that's probably the way I'll vote. But there's a lot of q's left out there. As Christians, we aren't called to ride the fence on anything, so it makes voting HARD!!! We're called to get off the fence - not to be lukewarm! We should have convictions on all of these issues. And they're a mixed bag when it comes to candidates and their platforms! the question still lies out there....what to do?! I'm not strong in politics at all, so this is harder for me anyhow b/c it takes a lot more intentionality on my part to listen and understand! Let's keep talking/hashing these things out as we learn more about the candidates!

Michelle said...

Wow...great post as well as comments. These are questions I ask a lot and just don't seem to know the answers to. We get World, but it seems to get to us about a month late. I'm really looking forward to receiving this issue. Keep talking about these things.

Deeciple97 said...

Wow, ladies, I couldn't concur anymore! Dana, thank you for raising such important questions. Questions, that should have answers that are as complex as our faith is. A statement that stands out to me was when Tom Henry said at Christ Covenant that Jesus probably wouldn't have voted Democrat or Republican! Being an African-American, these issues really hit home, because poverty is most prevalent in my race as well as abortion. I think the church has to take a stand on ALL of the relevant Biblical issues, not not just selective ones that make us comfortable. In the South especially, I find it ridiculous that there are more proponents for the Right to Bear Arms, than there are for equal funding in education. As a believer, I would find it most foolish to vote straight ticket. I tend to take into account who is in control of Congress, and what the political trends are at the current time. There are too many issues on the table to be content with Pro-Life and the sanctity of marriage exclusively. That would be like being content that a hospital only had doctors specializing in brain and heart treatments, but unconcerned about those that work with the respiratory or digestive systems. Moral, social, ethical, economical issues are all a part of the Christian's responsibility.