The older I get, the less politics interest me. A man can only take so much of the same ol’ same ol’ before he finally rolls his eyes and turns to something more enjoyable, such as using sandpaper for a facial scrub. And this year’s field of candidates makes me want to reach for something with a coarser grit…
Politics-wise, I don’t have a problem with Romney because he’s a Mormon. I don’t think one’s religion should be a test of political capability, though this comes with the cautious understanding that religious worldview does impact political ideology. Though I must admit a sadness as I watch political rallies where Mitt stands ups and talks about how he will not take god out of government, and the huddled masses cheer with fervor. My guess would be, if you were to ask most of those cheering would self-identify as some type of Christian, yet they seem not to realize or care that this god Romney speaks about is nowhere even close to the God who is there. Yet, cheer anyway…
Also, I don’t get worked up one way or the other over whether or not any political party has a vague and general reference to god in their party platform. Let’s face it, the god most Americans follow is not the God who refuses to share his glory with another. The American god is more akin to an old grandpa with a long white beard, sitting in his chair above, and smiling at everything we do (thanks to Francis Schaeffer for such an image). It is a god more interested in our happiness than our holiness or even his own glory.
The God who will one day fill the whole earth with his glory as the waters cover the sea is not well pleased with vague and general references. He is pleased by the exaltation of his name through Christ Jesus—something politics is not going to deliver us.
All this to say, I find myself not fitting into either main political party nor caring to vote for either candidate. I am told that sometimes you just have to pick the lesser of two evils. I’m not sure how I can reconcile that with God’s command to “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
This November I won’t be casting a vote either for Mitt Romney or Barak Obama, and here is why: the pro-life ethic that informs my conscious will not allow it.
You see, my candidate of choice must be unabashedly pro-life. The obvious aspect of this is, of course, the abortion issue. Obama fails that test, and Romney…well it depends on the fuzziness of what answer from what year he gave that you’re talking about. But abortion isn’t the only issue in my view of a pro-life ethic. Instead it expands to also include things like environmental policy, health-care, and gun-control.
The Environment. At creation, God made the earth for us and placed us on the earth in order to use and care for the earth. Its resources are there to help us grow as creatures who bear the image of God. But as our sin corrupted all things, sin also corrupted our attitude and work in regards to this. We are just as likely (more likely?) to abuse the earth as we are to advantageously and wisely use it. Let’s make no mistake about it—what we do impacts our environment. Even though God originally placed us in a garden and at his Kingdom come will bring us to dwell in a city, I don’t see slabs of concrete, piles of trash, and a haze of smog as part of John’s description in Revelation.
Pollution affects health. It also affects the environment. Breathing air and drinking water laced with all sorts of fun and nasty chemicals does our bodies no good. And the globe is warming. It aggravates me that so many Christians laugh at and mock something that is clear and plain. The average global temperature and carbon dioxide percentage are increasing. Yes, it is part of a natural cycle, but now in a post-industrial revolution age, it is also spiking in a way that it never has with a natural cycle. By adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, we increase the temperature. By increasing the temperature we add more atmospheric energy. By adding more energy, the “normal” weather patterns go crazy—longer, hotter, and more extreme summers, with shorter, colder, and more extreme winters. This also does us (and especially food production) no good.
If we’re going to rescue babies in the womb, we also need to leave for them a planet that has a healthy environment in which to grow up.
I don’t want a candidate who wants to increase oil drilling and create trans-America pipelines. I don’t want a candidate who will minimize environmental regulations on cars, factories, and so forth. I want a candidate who will work hard to fund research and implementation of clean energy sources, while fighting to increase recycling and reduce industrial pollution.
Health-Care. According to the Old Testament, one of the reasons God brought judgment upon various nations was their neglect and mistreatment of the poor and needy. Caring for the poor among us is a Christian thing to do, a church thing to do, and a government thing to do. If we are going to rescue babies in the womb, we also need to provide a culture where they have every opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.
This means I, as a tax-paying citizen, have a duty to help supply health care for those who are poor and cannot afford it. The health care bill has flaws, especially from a Christian point of view, but that doesn’t not mean it needs to be repealed; rather it needs some reformation. Providing insurance coverage to millions of Americans who formerly did not have it (especially those who could not afford it) is a good thing, and it is a pro-life thing. It shows that we care not just about bringing them into the world but also helping them be healthy in our world.
Last I checked, God is not a democratic-republic capitalist who said to us, “You earned it you keep it.” Rather, God is a monarchist who said to care for the poor and needy and always be willing to share. If we are going to live communally together as a nation, we should be more than happy to share with those who have-not.
(As a note with this, I think there is legitimate need for welfare, but we should not strive to be a welfare state. Part of provision should also be giving people the tools to help them supply for their own needs and grow to where they can also share with others.)
Gun-Control. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people…yeah, but guns make it a whole lot easier for the murderer to pull off his feat. I am not anti-gun; I have no problem with people owning a handgun for personal protection or a rifle for hunting. But why do we need the ability to buy bigger, faster, and more powerful weapons? Regulations including more and better background checks (such as stronger regulations on private gun sales), increased safety measures, and assault-weapons bans are good things.
In a desire to protect life, we need to desire to preserve life. Reducing one’s ability to instantaneously strip the life of another individual is also a pro-life concern.
I know people will disagree (I’m not sure which is more divisive, politics or Calvinism…), so feel free. But if nothing else I hope this will help us think a little more deeply about what it means to be pro-life.