Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Call Me Un-Patriotic

As with most people, I am keeping an eye on the progress of the Democratic nomination. Last night Barack Obama seemed to have taken a critical lead over Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee, John McCain has the luxury of some relative peace and quiet before he has to go head-to-head with the winner of the Democratic ticket.

I don't particularly like the way the election is shaping up. I don't feel like there is a real choice for those of us who hold consistently to a pro-life/pro-family ethic. Most people of this persuasion seem to assume that the Republicans are the party for them. But increasingly, this seems inconsistent to me. The Republicans are for war and capital punishment. That's not consistently pro-life. Conservatives balk and say that execution of those who are guilty is right and just. But that begs the question of who is guilty. Is another nation guilty because they have an opposing ideology to our own? Can we be absolutely certain that those we find guilty in a court of law are indeed guilty?

On the other hand, it is well known that the Democrats are the party pushing abortion on demand, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and the gay agenda. So clearly, one could not in good conscience vote for them.

John McCain has been trying to get into the White House for the last several years. He strikes me as a man willing to say or do anything to achieve his goal. He is plainly for embryonic stem cell research so he is not pro-life even from that standpoint. But he also has said he intends to continue with the program begun by President Bush. As for Iraq, this is inevitable as we now have a moral obligation to stay the course and attempt to clean up some of the mess we made. But what about other nations? What about the so called "war on terror" as a ruse for executing our own agenda in nations that we don't particularly like- such as Iran?

In addition, McCain says he will appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. But how do we know he will. He also has a history (until recently campaigning for the conservative vote) of moving toward the moderate position, looking for opportunities to work hand in hand with Democrats on a number of issues. That in itself is not wrong. But it does highlight his tendency to change his position for political expediency. In short, how do we know he can be trusted?

So here is my dilemma. I cannot vote for the Democratic nominee regardless of who it is. I really don't feel that I have a better choice in John McCain. So what do I do? At this point, I don't intend to cast a vote for either person. I will most likely vote on other candidates (if I can find one) in other races and on other issues. I believe in taking responsibly our duty as American citizens to vote. But right now my vote is to not vote. Until I can find a candidate who can hold to a morally consistent position, I cannot give my vote to anyone. My abstinence is the exercise of my right to vote and to say I am not limited to the substandard choices presented to me. I demand excellence in my leadership. And I will hold out till I get it.

What do you think? I would really like to know. Because there is a part of me that is looking to be talked out of this position. And then again, there is a part of me that wants to talk everyone else into my position.


Keith said...

If there are no positively good candidates, I consider it an obligation for myself to vote for the lesser of the two evils, which has a reasonable chance to win; I mean, if the choice is between more evil and less evil, then shouldn't we vote for less evil? Sure, I'm not happing about John McCain; and the pro-life cause may stall-out or even take a few steps back during his administration--but look at the other side. The Culture of Death will advance considerably under Clinton or Obama. If I don't vote, or I throw my vote away on a candidate who has no chance of winning, it seems to me that I have failed to at least slow the march of the Culture of Death.

Keith said...

Hi Keith,

Thanks for the post. I understand what you are saying. However, if we always go with the "lesser-evil" idea then we have surrendered ourselves to the slow spiral downward. All one party has to do is ensure that they are just a wee bit more moral than the others.

Instead, I believe our place as Christians is to insist on a moral high bar. Our "vote" is to abstain if we cannot be offered a candidate to our liking. In so doing we are voting to have a better selection. If we all did this, it would force one or the other party into offering us better positions or they would forfeit our vote.

Our Lord was not a pragmatist, and I don't believe He has called His Church to be either. Morality trumps pragmatism. It is not the place of the Church to align itself with a political party for expediency's sake. It is our place to separate ourselves to the degree that we can speak with integrity to all parties that a much more moral position must be upheld.

Keith said...

I see what you mean, i.e. all one party has to do is ensure that they are just a wee bit more moral than the others. If we take this approach then there can be a spiral downward...and there has been. I guess the question, then, is by what criterion do we determine that we've spiraled down so far that neither part merits our vote. . . and have we reached that point today? I'm not sure that we have.

Joni said...

I'm chiming in here, too.

I always thought that we should vote to keep the "worse of the two evils" out of office. But can we truly give our support to someone who stands for things we are morally and spiritually opposed to (i.e. McCain?). I can't honestly say that I can cast my ballot for someone who does not revere life as I do, and hold to the standard the Church does.

My two pennies' worth.

Keith said...

Hi Keith,

Good question- what standard? How far is too far? I won't pretend I have authoritative answers. Howeveer, I am approaching this by asking myself what I think our Lord would do if He lived in our society.

First of all, I do think He would take politics seriously and vote responsibly. But I can't imagine that He would vote for anyone who wanted to enact a policy that was fundamentally immoral. I think this would take in policies regarding capital punishment and war as well as abortion and euthanasia. I also think it would take in things like gay rights, and oppression of the poor. So that does seem to leave the list pretty narrow. But that shouldn't be surprising. Our Lord told us it is the straight and narrow way that leads to life and there are few who find it.

I really think the place of the Church, and our place as Christians, is to take a rather objective stand for truth and morality. If we do not appear as politically sectarian, then we might be able to speak to the broader scope of society. We lose part of our audience by identifying too closely with one party.

This is why Billy Graham has always stayed away from dealing with politics. It gives him a broader audience and allows him to minister to people in a great cross section of society.

I will say that if one party was clearly on the moral high road then it would warrant the backing fo the Church. But I don't think we have that today and therefore I advocate holding to our positions as ambassadors for Christ rather than either political party.