In this final post of the series on The Voting Question we are going to look at a number of hot button issues in this election and compare the truth of scripture to the responses of the candidates. This is not meant to be a complete and comprehensive rundown of EVERY issue, but it does cover a good range. If I were to try to compile a full list of everything that is important to each person and compare each candidates position we would, in fact, miss the election by probably a month or more.
To assist in this final post I am using a great tool from the people at Project Vote Smart called VoteEasy which asks the user what their position is on a particular topic and then gives you real time rankings for each candidate. Some topics have more than one question, but for the sake of time I am only going to answer the first question on each, and I am not even going to go through all of the topics they question. I will try to answer these questions biblically and give a thumbs up to the candidates who are in line with scripture, and a thumbs down to those who aren’t. There are some topics that scripture doesn’t speak to DIRECTLY, and some that scripture doesn’t speak to at all, but we will still look at them to try and surmise God’s will in these issues.
R – Republican
D – Democrat
G – Green
L – Libertarian
C – Constitution
J – Justice
This is a very real issue. The two primary positions that are held are “Pro-Life” which holds to the belief that ALL LIFE is sacred, including that of human embryos and fetus’. Conversely, proponents of the “Pro-Choice” position believe that a woman has the right to choose how/when she wants to have children.
The scriptural position on abortion is quite clear. ALL life is sacred, whether born or unborn because we are ALL created in the image and likeness of God. Some like to argue for the sake of the minority cases in which a woman becomes pregnant through rape, or a situation arises where the mother’s life is in danger, but seeing as existing abortion laws preceding Roe v. Wade permitted the practice under extreme extenuating circumstances, it’s not something that we really need to argue about. The most frequent arguments I hear say that it’s a woman’s choice. A young lady from my church argued correctly that this is equivalent to murder. We wouldn’t permit a person the right to choose to murder somebody else. In fact the only time it’s not a crime to take a life is in the event of war or self-defense.
Scripturally speaking, a strong basis for this can be found in the first two chapters of Luke (and elsewhere). In chapter 1:41 and 2:12 the word baby is used to describe John the Baptist (or Baptizer) in the womb, and the new born Jesus respectively. In the original Greek text the word for baby is brephos which means an unborn fetus or infant. Scripture says that a person is a person whether they are in the womb or not.
VoteSmart: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Thumbs up: Virgil Goode (C), Mitt Romney (R)
Thumbs down: Barack Obama (D), Jill Stein (G), Rocky Anderson (J), Gary Johnson (L)
This is one of those pseudo-complex issues that the Bible doesn’t directly speak to because it pertains to the United States in the 21st century.
Those who support combat operations in Afghanistan believe that America still has a vital mission in shaping the future and security of the Afghan people, and that withdrawal may and probably will result in a resurgence of Islamist influence.
Those who oppose combat operations, generally, believe that the United States is hindering the progress of the Afghan people and government and should cease it’s role as the “World Police”. Some who hold this position may also oppose the war because of economic or otherwise political reasons.
While scripture doesn’t speak to America’s War on Terror, it does frequently speak to war. While I desire peace, I am not so naive as to believe that total pacifism at all times is acceptable. Proverbs tells us that there is a time for war and a time for peace. Intervention in times of genocide for example is perfectly acceptable and should be expected. I would argue that the occasions when intervention is not staged during a major crisis such as that of Darfur in the mid 2000’s was a gross failure of our moral obligation to protect the weak. That being said, there are biblical arguments that could, probably, be made for both sides of this topic. I exhort you to prayerfully consider this, but I myself lean toward the opposition because I believe that we have overstepped our bounds in “defending our interests around the globe” as described by the Just War doctrine.
VoteSmart: Do you support combat operations in Afghanistan?
Biblically Me: No
Thumbs up: Virgil Goode (C), Rocky Anderson (J), Gary Johnson (L), Jill Stein (G)
Thumbs down: Mitt Romney (R), Barack Obama (D)
Budget (Defense Spending)
We’ve heard A LOT over the last 50 years (and the last decade or so in particular) about defense. After 9/11 President Bush instituted the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense (formerly the War Department) grew exponentially. Typically speaking, proponents of a large Defense budget support a more globalized, superpower-style approach to foreign policy. Those who oppose this are typified by wanting a significantly smaller federal government, they don’t want a juggernaut war machine, and are generally dismissed as hippies and isolationists.
It is important to understand that the Department of Defense IS NOT the military. Take some time to look at DoD listings on USAJobs.gov and you will see jobs for teachers, administrative assistants, cashiers, etc. It’s basically a sub-economy to sustain the military’s operations, but a good portion of this budget does go to military spending, and the Defense Budget makes up according to some estimates as high as 41% of the United States annual budget.
Supporters of the status quo tend to argue that a large defense budget is necessary to effectively protect our home, our interests, and (taking some liberty here) our very way of life.
Those who support budget cuts will argue for less intervention around the world and a need for those funds at home in the US.
The Bible tells us to steward our finances well. While this is more or less another grey area, I would argue that this (along with all other budgets and deficits) fall under the category of stewardship. We are to take care of our finances and to plan well. Proverbs reminds us to be diligent with these endeavours (21:5) and to look at the way God has ordered creation for a good example of how we steward our wealth (6:6-8). The simple fact of the matter is that we have A LOT of debt. Around $16.2 trillion at the time I’m writing this (if you don’t believe me visit usdebtclock.org) and we need to pay it down. Think of how we accomplish this in our own homes: cutting back on non-vital spending and eliminating unneeded expenses to reduce the deficit we have until our debt is paid off. If something is eating up 41% of our budget and there are items in that something, spending on that something needs to be reduced.
VoteSmart: In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
Thumbs up: Virgil Goode (C), Rocky Anderson (J), Gary Johnson (L), Jill Stein (G), Barack Obama (D)
Thumbs down: Mitt Romney (R)
Listen to any news host and you will know that this is THE issue in this election and there are two fundamentally different views regarding this issue. Should the government be responsible for job growth, or the private sector.
Those who attest to the Federal government’s responsibility to help the economy by creating jobs and investing capital tend to have a more Keynesian economic approach. Examples of this method that have played themselves out are 2008’s TARP (bank bailouts), President Obama’s jobs plan, and what the Federal Reserve is calling Quantitative Easing.
Those who oppose these ideals are the polar opposite. The view of these individuals is that we should allow the free market to work itself out and avoid federal intervention. They tend to follow a more Austrian economic approach. An example of this method would be the recent investment of $5 billion into Bank of America by Warren Buffett.
This is totally a western capitalist topic that scripture does not speak to at all (as far as I have ever seen). My opinion on this matter is that the private sector should be the primary job creator/investor. If government funds should be allocated, it should come from the state level and not the federal. State governance is far more effective than federal in pretty much any scenario. For example: if you’re babysitting one or two children, you’ll have a much easier time and be more effective than if you were babysitting 42 children at the same time. This perspective stretches across many topics, but is still relevant to the economy and job creation. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule; however under 99% of circumstances, the exceptions do not apply.
VoteSmart: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Biblically Me: No
Thumbs up: Gary Johnson (L), Virgil Goode (C)
Thumbs down: Rocky Anderson (J), Jill Stein (G), Barack Obama (D), Mitt Romney (R)
This issue has been a very serious one for decades. America was founded by immigrants and industrialized by immigrants and we are still dealing with this issue. The two obvious views that Americans take are in support of providing illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and those who oppose it.
Those in favor of creating a pathway to citizenship may support this because it impacts themselves or their family directly, their ideology of tolerance, or a genuine concern that some illegal immigrants may be persecuted if forced to return to their home country. Those opposed tend to stress the importance of the rule of law and the requirement to have them go through the proper channels for security and economic reasons.
Many Christian’s hold the opposition view and, quite frankly, they are wrong. There, I said it. There is no scriptural backing whatsoever to support kicking out illegal immigrants, and as sons and daughters of the Lord God who constantly reminds us to care for orphans, widows, and aliens (illegal/legal immigrants) we should be at the end of the spear loving these people and helping them.
VoteSmart: Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
Thumbs up: Barack Obama (D), Gary Johnson (L), Rocky Anderson (J), Jill Stein (G)
Thumbs down: Mitt Romney (R), Virgil Goode (C)
I have obviously omitted some of the major issues such as marriage, social security, energy, health care, national security, etc because there are just too many to discuss in one post. I would encourage you to visit Project Vote Smart and take advantage of the VoteEasy tool to see who stands with you. There are SO MANY people telling me that, “This is not the time to stand by your convictions!” and as a man of God I would argue that there is never a time that we should EVER stop standing for our convictions. If we do, we become hypocrites with the potential to become heretics. James, the brother of Jesus, urges us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (1:22). As Paul says, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Finally, examine all of this through the lens of scripture and prayer. Understand that we are exiles in this place and while we have a say by the standards of man, all authority is risen up by God himself and the schemes of men who desire power and authority do not escape his sight. Have conviction and fear God, not man.