Election Hopes: Christian Victory?

So, obviously I've sold my soul to the Obama/Biden ticket. But if they win tonight, do I think my Christian agenda has somehow won?

Absolutely not.

If Obama wins tonight, my Christianity doesn't win. My worldview is validated. My internal sense of humanity, of society and culture, is validated. My own ideas about social responsibility win. But there is a lot of work for people of faith to do in either scenario.

My political views are informed by my Christianity, but despite what readers may think, I am not so naive or reckless as to confuse my Christianity for my politics. I may blur them at times, but I have not confused one for the other. A follower of Christ can endorse and speak on behalf of political issues, even politicians, without inferring that "any Christian must come to the same political conclusion." That's imply not reasonable. All of this is part of the Empire, not the Kingdom. We merely pray for a more benevolent Empire.

I know a lot of faithful, fervent, prayerful and loving Christians who are voting for McCain. I also know Christians who have been sold a lie that they must vote for a Republican, as people of faith. This breaks my heart.

I pray for Obama. I pray for his wisdom, leadership, and his safety. I pray for McCain too. But I am not so blind as to believe one is "The Christian Candidate" and the other is not.


Brandon K. Baker said...

Peter, you're wrong. There is a Christian candidate. Bob Barr! Just kidding. Great post, I agree with you one hundred percent.

Yet the question that is most difficult to answer is, "if our faith informs our politics, why aren't all Christians voting the same way?" or to put it another way, "Why isn't God 'informing' all of us to vote the same way?" I have some ideas, but I going to pull an "I asked you first!" here. :)

Al said...

Great questions, Brandon.
The answer you come up with will answer other similar questions: Why don't all Christians have the same theology, lifestyle, church structure, and all of those other dissimilarities we have as part of the same family?
I personally think it is not only OK to have different ideas and opinions, but it is healthy. I think God likes it that way. (He better, since that's the way it is!)
As has been said before, "Unity doesn't mean uniformity."

Peter said...

Ha, ha! Brandon, I think Al answered your question for me. I agree - there is strength in diversity, not compromise. The Body of Christ is a messy (ok, sometimes too messy) organism. Jesus Christ was a radical, paradoxical man during his time on earth. We resemble him - rarely in solitude - often in community.

Let's talk more in class...

Bless you,

Peter said...

That "Jesus was a... man" comment wasnt some subversive attempt at a Christological comment. I believe in Jesus' Godhood, in tandem with his humanity.

Anonymous said...

Except how can you vote for a man who believes in abortion, even up to live birth abortion. That is one thing at least that all christians should agree on, that abortion is wrong. Though that is only one reason why I voted against Obama, it is reason enough why I cried when I heard he won.

Al said...

Forgive my Canadian response to anonymous. Forgive my passion.
1. You shouldn't vote 'against' someone, you should vote 'for' someone. If all you are doing is trying to keep someone from being elected, you are pretty much missing the point.
2. You shouldn't choose your candidate on the basis of one issue. There are dozens of issues, dozens of reasons to vote one way or the other, many of them godly and biblical. In voting against one issue (abortion) you are quite conceivably voting for several equally harmful other issues. Just re-read Peter's previous posts. Is the 'war on terror' (or whatever it really is) any less wrong than abortion? I'm glad you said you had more reasons for your choice--I'm not sure others were as broad-minded.

I'm sure Obama isn't perfect. But I don't expect he is the anti-christ, either.
I, like the rest of the world, will be watching, hoping, and praying that he will lead your nation wisely and courageously, leaving the unfortunate memories of Mr. Bush forgotten.

Jen said...

I'm pro-choice because "pro-life" is, as Peter wrote, a distracting, deceptive, meaningless term.
I'm pro-choice because conservative Christian fundamentalists use the "pro-life" term to keep oppression of marginalized groups firmly in place.
I'm pro-choice because I care about the status of women. I care that women are impoverished and underprivileged.
I'm pro-choice because there isn't a better answer right now. We don't take care of the least of these, we don't talk enough about sex and real-world consequences with our kids (instead we employ scare tactics); we don't care about addressing the issue.
The issue is not a bunch of reckless, wild women using abortion as birth control (as the religious right would have us believe); the issue is poverty, oppression, marginalization, economic distress, lack of empowerment, lack of hope.
IF women were allowed equal rights and privileges, IF we provided education and resources to impoverished communities, IF we provided accessible healthcare, IF we *truly cared* about doing the business of the economy of Christ, THEN I would be much more interested in the pro-life position.
Until then, I am firmly pro-choice, and *gasp* a Christian.

Peter said...

Al and Jen, couldn't say it any better myself.

Brandon K. Baker said...

Al and Peter,

I completely agree with your statements. I sometimes struggle within my own mind on this issue. Yet you both hit the nail on the head in describing God as appreciating and even inspiring conflicting viewpoints among his people. I suppose we could pull in the biblical here, "as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17).

I think that God doesn't so much inspire us to take a stance on specific issues so much as God inspires us to certain paths of thought which add to and enhance the debate (I use debate here more as discussion than argument). Conflicting viewpoints keep people accountable, both to each other and to God.

As for the abortion issue. Such a touchy subject with such passionate responses on both sides. I agree with Jen that the religious right has mislead Christian voters with their rhetoric. Yet, my heart goes out to "anonymous" who obviously does value life. My stance has been wobbly at best with no clear definition either way. I see Jen's angle and I see the other as well. I do know this; that as a Christian it is my calling to love the woman who has an abortion just as it is to the woman who has not. I cannot assume to know the reasons or emotional battles these women have gone through to come to their decision.

All great thoughts. It's good to read civil dialogue on such issues.

Peter said...

Good call Brandon, I definitely feel you.

Sarah said...

haha, as usual, Peter, it seems as though I only get a chance to read your blog about once a month. Then it's a whirlwind of emotion where I agree and then vehemently disagree, and sometimes just shrug my shoulders and shake my head. But I always enjoy the exposure to a view so often completely different from my own. I try to always embrace opportunities to actually think.

The issue of abortion is, I think, an interesting one. Because the argument that you set up really has nothing to do with abortion. You are distressed by the reasons that women chose to abort babies and feel, obviously passionately, that if women were treated as 'equals,' if poverty was dealt with in a better manner (eliminated, perhaps, by government intervention, because you also apparently feel that it is the responsibility of the government rather than the church to care for the poor, which I find a rather interesting view), if, if, if... then abortion would be eliminated naturally.

And you're right.

But the question is, just because all of those "if's" haven't been dealt with... does that make abortion okay? If, in fact, abortion is wrong... and I always feel that cold-blooded murder is wrong... then why is it only wrong when all other circumstances are fine? Just because we have not yet fixed the causes leading to abortion, we cannot justify the wrongness of abortion. It is still the murder of an innocent baby who had nothing to do with the circumstances of its conception. By your logic, it is okay for a poor, single minority woman to get an abortion, but wrong for a rich, married, white woman to do so.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that those who claim to be 'pro-life' do not take that stance seriously enough... their focus is usually far too narrow. But that does not release us from doing our best to care for the women and poor around us and for protecting the lives of the innocent whether or not they are yet born.

This is the holocaust of our generation.

Peter said...

Sarah, thanks for your comment. I reposted it on this blog - I hope you'll hang out and continue the dialogue.


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