Evangelicals At the Polls
January 21, 2008
A very thoughtful post on the evangelical vote in this year’s election was recently published on the site I write for, The Political Inquirer. Brian LePort brings some observations on the Christian right’s current condition and effect on the general elections.
The editorial team for Christianity Today magazine (”What We Really Want“, January, 2008) are announcing that evangelicals “will not be on the sidelines this election” further stating “One President’s policies, one difficult war, one season of foreclosures–or whatever is supposed to discourage us–is not going to make us throw up our hands in despair.” And as Iowa showed, evangelicals are not defeated in the political arena just yet.
But what does this actually mean? What are “Evangelicals” post George W. Bush? It can be kind of confusing as the internal paradox of this article shows when it gives the following qualifications, which basically sum up the article:
1. Evangelicals are not a “block” of voters that can be swooped up as a whole by saying this or that key phrase.
2. Evangelicals may have assisted President George W. Bush’s election, but it should not be assumed that this means a given presidential candidate can be a lock just because he/she tickles the ears of Evangelicals. Evangelicals didn’t put Pat Robertson in office, hence, it takes more than religious talk.
3. On the other hand, Evangelicals do represent core values: namely, “freedom of religion and conscience; protection for families and children; protection of all human life; compassion and justice for poor people; global human rights; the pursuit of peace and restraint of violence; and biblically based creation care.”
These are some good insights. I especially note the disregard for conventional wisdom found in point #2. Any evangelical worth the term should know and apply the fact that religion has become a useful calling card in American politics, and the politicans know it better than anyone else. My recent string of posts documenting this fact I think lays it out as plainly as can be laid. Anyone, excepting no one, can use religion to gain political capitol in today’s America. If you combine the different factors of theological ignorance, political hypertension and overall lack of biblical discernment, you end up with a people who, while devoutly religious and doggedly traditional, have no real reason to accept one “Christian” candidate and not another.
I’ll make it explicit: I do not believe a Bible-believing Christian (there are no other kinds) can consider himself “pro-choice.” The debate over whether or not a fetus is human life is over, if it ever really were a debate to begin with. The modern abortion discussion has moved beyond Roe vs. Wade; we are now clearly faced with the dualistic nature of moral elitism and moral sanity. Abortion is either murder and wrong, or it is either murder and not wrong. The first point is solved; The second point reflects only the sad pervasion of ethical selfishness that defines the modern Western generation.
Can a Christian be “pro-choice?” Well, to be pro-choice requires some things: It requires believing that human beings possess rights, not obliged to God or even fellow man, that entitle them to do what they will to achieve their own comfort, to the detriment of their own children if need be. This is a fundamental anti-God worldview. It is the worldview that sees no fall, no sin, and certainly no need of redemption in Christ. The pro-choice position is antithetical to any self-claiming “Christian” worldview.
The fact that Christians can be Christians and yet strict constructionists does not mean they cease to be either. In my opinion, to given honest, biblical, and reasoned thoughts to these issues yields no other result. There ARE common values Evangelicals can rally around, even if they are divided on which candidate will best help the economy. As long as any degree of moral clarity or biblical knowledge exists, “moral values” will continue to impact, and rightly so, many a voter’s ballot.