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Friday, October 05, 2007

Voting

As November 2008 approaches, there is more and more coverage of presidential candidates on news sites. This leads to people throwing their support behind this guy or that guy. Naturally, this leads me to think about what I should do in these situations, in the framework that I am *first and foremost* a Christian, not an American.

I have a confession to make: even though I turned 18 in 2001, I have never voted in a public election. A good chunk of that non-voting time is because I was too lazy to register. But the more recent chunk of this non-voting time is because *personally*, I choose to abstain. Note the emphasis. This is a *personal* decision, which means I do not look down upon other true Christians for choosing to support candidate X or Y (well...). I personally do not believe in the "Christian duty to vote." Maybe more on that another time.

A few years ago, I found it interesting and a bit too coincidental that all Republican virtues just *happened* to line up with typical Christian political values. I eventually came to the conviction that Christian virtues did not line up perfectly with Republican ones, and think that Christians who blindly pledge themselves to the Republican cause without a second thought need to give it a second thought. However, if you are a Christian, have given it many thoughts, and have pledged yourself to the Republican cause, that's fine with me. I acknowledge that I might have set up the straw man there, but I imagine that there are many uninformed voters who support R or D without a second thought. Case in point: single women and Hilary ("...because she's a woman."). So I assume the same thing happens with Christians and Republican-candidate-of-choice.

<aside>
I am cautious to accept the profession of Christianity from presidential candidates. Every president since Andrew Johnson has been officially affiliated with a Christian denomination. In my observation, not professing some degree of piety would be suicide for a presidential campaign. Mitt Romney's Mormonism has generated more publicity than any other candidate's religion. Do you think a militant anti-Christian atheist or agnostic would ever get elected these days? How would most of America accept a candidate who, when asked about his faith, said "I don't really believe in higher powers. I've been to church and it just bored me out of my mind. I think Christianity's a bunch of hullabaloo."
If I were a cold, calculating, and non-church-going presidential candidate, I would be thinking that I need to put on a good Christian face when necessary. To do so otherwise would be a gash to your campaign. If you're wishy-washy, you could just say you were a Unitarian and allow yourself to be photographed coming out of a church building sometime. A group that claims to be Christian but questions the divinity of Christ? I would daresay that is not a Christian group, but maybe "good enough" to appeal to certain church attendees.
</aside>

I am registered to vote. However, I'm not quite sure if I will exercise the option any time soon. As I fast approach senility, I find that I grow more suspicious of politics in general, and not just leftist politics (and our leftist reader rejoiced!). My issues with righty politics might come in another post another time (although if you really want to hear about it, let me know and I can upgrade its priority).

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2 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Alan

    The exercise of voting for one of two or three candidates is a little strange for a Christian. You don't have the option of putting together a platform that is consistent with all of your values, and voting for that platform. You have to pick one of the available options. Invariably, every option comes with some baggage you don't want to vote for.

    Therefore some folks focus on what they consider the biggest issue--whether that is the war, or abortion, or some other issue. I've taken that approach. I have decided that I cannot vote for a candidate who supports abortion. That issue rises higher than the issue of war for me, because the number of babies killed in the US dwarfs the number of people being killed in Iraq... not to mention that the babies are innocent and completely defenseless.

    Pro 31:8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

    I can also respect the philosophy of a Christian not voting. After all, we are in the world but not of the world. But if you are going to vote, you need to understand the key moral issues and vote accordingly. Just voting for someone because of their party affiliation is wrong IMO.

  • Jon

    I agree with you for the most part. I think that one needn't feel he or she must vote...patriotism isn't something I feel very strongly about, except to the extent that I feel a cultural bond with americans. But I feel a greater connection (of course) to my faith as a christian, and so my decisions are based entirely on that, and not my patriotic duty or alligiance to a nation- an only slightly, Godly nation anyway.

    Like you, I will be choosing based on my faith, and whomever I pick, I will be picking them not because I think highly of them or support them in all their views, but instead it will primarily be to keep a WORSE candidate from becoming president. Since I'm not very patriotic though, it's not a very emotional or significant decision for me, and I certainly wont loose any sleep over it! ;-)

    BTW, I've been reading your blog for a while...you and your wife sound like really cool people- rock on!

    Jon