There are many ways Christians can find information that will tell them how they should vote in the upcoming election.  There’s no shortage of information in the media, though some Christian media outlets try not to become too immersed in political activity.  But if you can’t find it there, you can go on the internet and find hundreds of pieces of advice from hundreds of people on social networks and blogs.  There are plenty of places in Christian media that are more than willing to tell you exactly how they think you should vote, along with plenty of prooftexts from the Bible to support their opinion.   And if that doesn’t work, there is still the reliable paper known as the Christian voter guide, distributed a couple of weeks before the election.

The assumption of the voter guide, most Christian media outlets, and most individuals who think they are presenting a well-rounded argument based on Christian beliefs, is that abortion and gay marriage are where all Christians should draw the line.  The object then becomes gathering information about the candidates and their position on those two issues, essentially, whether they are in favor of abortion rights and gay marriage, or whether they are opposed to it, and they pass this information along as if that’s all a Christian voter needs to make up his or her mind.

If it were only as simple as that…

I know that the Republican party has a pro-life position regarding the issue of abortion in its party platform.  Though there is some discussion about it from year to year, the Republicans have been very consistently making sure that remains part of their platform.  And most Republican candidates, whether they are running for an office that has the ability to affect the issue or not, will verbalize a pro-life position.  The bottom line is that abortion has been legal since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Roe v. Wade.  Overturning the Roe decision would be just the first step in eliminating abortion on demand.  Once a Supreme Court overturned Roe, then individual states could pass laws restricting the practice, anything from severe, restrictive regulation to eliminating it altogether.  Some states would do that, while others would not control or regulate the practice at all.  That would be the best case scenario.

But at the present time, abortion is legal, and largely unrestricted as far as a woman’s access to the procedure goes.  The Roe decision is still the “settled law of the land,” according to Chief Justice John Roberts.  And yet, since opposition to abortion became a plank in the Republican party platform, no fewer than three Republicans have served as President of the United States, with the power to appoint justices to the Supreme Court.  If one of those Presidents had actually done more than just give lip service to their pro-life position, the Roe decision would have been overturned by a more recent court, and states would have the ability to pass laws restricting abortion.  So it appears that it is not merely a matter of whether a Presidential candidate says he is opposed to abortion on demand.  It will take a candidate who will actually do something about it.  All three of the Republican Presidents who’ve served since the Roe decision was made appointed at least one Supreme Court justice who was not committed to a pro-life perspective.  In so doing, they’ve kept the Supreme Court at a 5-4 majority favoring what is known as the pro-choice position.  So it would seem that past record should weight heavier on this particular issue than a promise to follow the party platform does.

Let’s be honest.  If Bush really was opposed to abortion, and genuinely interested in seeing it end, he had six years, and two Supreme Court appointments to accomplish this.  Instead, he split his judicial appointments between one justice with a reasonably strong record on pro-life issues, and one whose position was not able to be distinguished from the decisions he had rendered.  As it turns out, he believes that Roe v. Wade is the settled “law of the land” and has repeatedly refused to hear cases that would lead to overturning it.  Is that what Christian voters expected when they cast their ballots for former President Bush and all of those congressmen and senators that they thought were committed to this position?  What’s worse, claiming to be pro-life but never taking advantage of opportunity to deliver, or using it as a political wedge to provide advantage to one candidate over the other?

The other issue which clearly demonstrates the line of demarcation between Republicans and Democrats is gay marriage.  Opposition to gay marriage is also in the Republican party platform, and is a question you will find in voters guides to help you determine, as a Christian, how you should vote.  But I think this issue also bears closer examination.  Marriage is a state’s jurisdiction, not a federal government one.  So even though the federal government has passed a “defense of marriage act,” states still have control over marriage licensing, and they have that control because of the Republican party’s defense of states’ rights.  And it is worth pointing out that Mitt Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, became the first governor in the US to order municipal civil clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses for same sex couples.  He wasn’t following his party’s platform when he did that.  What makes you think he’s changed his mind, other than for political expediency, to get the GOP nomination.

Same sex marriage and abortion are very important moral issues.  But it is probably more important to evaluate the actual record of accomplishment of a politician on this, and similar issues, and not just how he says he feels about it.  And frankly, while abortion and gay marriage are important issues, they are not the only ones that require the thoughtful consideration, and application of Biblical principles.  Health care as a basic human right as opposed to being an “industry,”  is definitely an issue that has a Christian perspective, as does education, and a whole long list of economic issues.  And neither party has a corner on the market on the “Christian” perspective.

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

6 responses

  1. Joe Blackmon says:

    Wow, Lee, you really settled that argument, brah. (/sarcasm)

    So, your claim that Republicans have done nothing about abortion kinda falls on deaf ears when you examine the one thing that Presidents alone can control–executive orders. Why not check out the one about using federal money overseas for abortions and see which presidents recended it and which ones reinstated it?

    And, of course, your solution to this problem is to vote for people who have sworn their life’s blood to “keep it legal, keep it safe”. Too bad abortion wasn’t legal when your mom was pregnant with you.

    • Lee says:

      Oh, Joe, you knoweth not about which you speaketh.

      I am an adopted child, born out of wedlock to a very confused and distressed mother in 1957. Because of that, I am an absolute believer in the Biblical truth that life begins at conception, and that both parents involved in bringing it into existence are, from that point onward, responsible for their child. Perhaps I am naive, but over the years I have voted for a number of candidates who claimed to be committed to the pro-life position, only to discover that their commitment did not extend to risking their political career in order to make it happen. When a man running for President says he will end abortion on demand by making sure that the justices he appoints have a clear and decisive record on the issue, I used to believe it. But we’re 32 years down the road from when that promise was first made, three Republican presidencies ago, with at least one of those Presidents having a sympathetic House and Senate for six years, and we are no closer to an overturn of Roe v. Wade than we were when Reagan first promised to do it. Executive orders are simply bones tossed to keep the dogs quiet. Now, there’s a Republican candidate running who says he’s pro-life, though the only record he has on the issue is one of compromise and collaboration with pro-abortion advocates. He also says he opposes gay marriage, though he was the first governor in the country to order magistrates in his state to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Lip service no longer cuts it with me. When a candidate gets serious enough about the issue to demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice political capital in order to accomplish something, I’ll pay attention.

      By the way, I don’t think I mentioned who I am voting for. You jumped to that conclusion yourself, completely missing the point and undermining your argument. Though it was illegal in 1957, abortion was very much an option for unwed young ladies. I am very grateful that my birth mother weighed her options carefully, and in spite of the expense, and the legal wrangling that made giving up a child for adoption a difficult path to take, she decided to do that anyway. I’m all for any kind of push to make abortion illegal, except using it as a political football. You would think that, while the fight goes on over abortion, conservatives, and especially Christians, would be working to make adoption easy and affordable, but instead, conservative politicians support legislation which increases legal fees and restrictions for couples wanting to adopt. My wife and I have encountered this in our own efforts. There’s way more to this issue than just a political statement. Actions speak louder than words, and abortion is still as legal and accessible as it ever has been, which says a lot about the words spoken on the issue over the past three decades.

    • Colby says:

      Knock Knock!!! Hellooooo. Is anybody there? Joe seems to be a kool-aide drinking guy with blinders on. Tinkering with a few executive orders here and there that didn’t put a dent in the abortion totals may fool a few people who are easy to fool anyway, but the real issue was, is, and has always been abortion on demand, at least, that’s what National Right to Life and other groups that have collected millions of dollars to fight it say it is. That’s also what the Republican party, and most of its pro-life candidates say. If the Supreme Court is still 5-4 pro-abortion, and there are some who think if it actually came down to a vote, it might be 6-3, that’s a Republican FAIL. And if you’re really into truthful reading, you might want to pull out some of your old, Right to Life voter guides and see what they’ve had to say about Mitt Romney. After a record like that, I can see why some Christians might have a few doubts.

      But really, the whole campaign has just been fascinating to watch. I never thought I would ever live long enough to see the religious right, and some of its leaders, soften their doctrinal and theological convictions to justify casting a ballot for a Mormon. Trust me, from the perspective of a 25 year old in grad school, this is killing whatever opportunity they might have had to reach into the younger generation, and they are solidifying the political liberalism, and the religious secularism, that characterizes the millennial generation.

      • Joe Blackmon says:

        And so your solution is to vote for the most pro-abortion president in history? Someone who voted to deny medical care to infants who survied abortions? Sounds like YOU”RE the one who drank the Kool Aid. Don’t you have a kitchen to go clean or a toilet to go scrub, chick?

  2. Jack Matthews says:

    Really, Joe? You’re going to fall back on the lame argument about the executive orders and federal money for overseas abortions and late term and claim that satisfies the Biblical, Christian arguments in favor of pro-life? Really? Given the number of abortions that took place in this country during the Bush presidency? Especially when the last Republican president had two shots at appointing justices who could have overturned Roe and put at least 15 states on the road to ending abortion altogether? And in light of the current GOP candidate’s record on the issue as Governor of Massachusetts? Please. You’re making excuses for failure.

    There is a committed pro-life candidate running for President. His name is Virgil Goode. His argument is a Biblical one. If the abortion issue is the deciding factor in casting your presidential vote, then he’s your man.

  3. Lee says:

    I think Joe is a “my way or the highway” kind of guy. Looking at some of his posts elsewhere, he may espouse a “pro-life” position with regard to children from conception to birth, but he holds a vitriolic contempt for any living person who might not vote the way he does, or believe the Bible according to his own interpretation, and assaults their character and person in such a way as to commit murder by the Biblical definition of it.

    And, to set the record straight, this president is no more pro-abortion than any of those who have served, Republican or Democrat, since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. So far, no sitting President has shown a willingness to appoint the justice who will overturn the case and allow states to restrict the practice, which the Republicans all promised, and FAILED to do. This current Republican candidate doesn’t have a pro-life record anywhere that can be found, he’s been pro-abortion and pro-same sex marriage through his entire political career. A few words thrown like bones to the dog (love that expression!) are not going to convince me he’s a pro-life candidate. In all honesty, I don’t think there is a judge in the federal system who would be willing, if he got appointed to a lifetime post on the Supreme Court, to overturn the Roe decision. It’s become a political football that will continue to get kicked around because no one will do anything about it, regardless of their party affiliation.

    I’ll leave Joe’s remarks up. I don’t particularly care to censor things people say here, even if they are misinformed, and because he more or less shot himself and whatever credibility he might have had in the foot.