Friday, September 19, 2008

Stuck in the Middle

Election season always frustrates me. I don’t associate myself with exclusively one political party. Spending time listening to dyed-in-the wool Democrats makes me want to vote Republican. Spending time with dyed-in-the-wool Republicans makes me want to vote Democrat.

Neither party is wholly virtuous.

The Democratic Party has quite a tough time with the 5th Commandment, among others, since the official party platform is to support taking the lives of pre-born babies. We should fear and love God, so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body but help and defend him in every physical need. To take the lives of babies, born or unborn, is murder. To fail to defend babies when they are in physical need, is murder.

The Republican Party has a rough time keeping the 7th Commandment, among others. Any talk about lowering taxes is always greedy. Don’t let the government take my money, goes the argument. That’s greed. We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions or get them in any dishonest way but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

And whenever election season comes around, everyone has a hard time keeping the 8th Commandment. We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him , slander him, or hurt his reputation but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way. When was the last time you heard an Obama supporter defend John McCain or a McCain supporter explain everything about Sen. Obama in the kindest way. Maybe you’ve heard it. I never have.

If I stay home on November 4, it won’t be for lack of concern about the election, nor will it be from a lack of patriotism. A vote for either main candidate, inasmuch as a vote endorses his platform, is sinful. Then again, so is neglecting one’s duty as a citizen to vote. Ah, well, what to do? I’ll keep the door unlocked on Nov. 4 for anyone who wants to come confess his sin immediately after voting…


Ryan Oakes said...

You said it spot on! Just as each also have their virtues: Democrats--social justice, being a steward of the enviroment (though I don't think they'd put it that way); Republicans--emphasis on marriage, pro-life and the like. Yet as another pastor has said, Nov. 4 will be National Sin Boldly Day! I like that, and the fact that you'll have private confession/absolution on that day too!

Cheryl said...

You are certainly correct that we are, once again, faced with a lesser-of-two-evils decision. And in the past, just when we think we have settled on the best choice, the inherently sinful person will oft times disappoint us. That is the fallen world we live in.

One point that Dr. James Lamb of Lutherans for Life makes, however, is that while we may agree as Christians that some social concerns need attention, we may disagree on the best way to accomplish such goals. For example, you said that talk about lowering taxes is greedy. You quoted Luther saying that we should not take our neighbor's money or possessions or get them in any dishonest way but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income. It seems the Republican party thinks that lowering taxes for everyone is doing just that. I will concede, however, that that might not be the reason behind the majority of voters hoping for lower taxes. Christians may disagree with the Democratic party health care proposal because such a system has failed in other countries and has, in fact, made getting health care in those countries more difficult than before. Republicans can agree that health care should be available and affordable to everyone without agreeing with Democrats on how to do that. Christians, and non-Christians, can disagree with the Democratic party platform on how to deal with social issues without being greedy.

Dr. Lamb writes, "When there is a moral imperative to help the poor and vulnerable, and to care for "orphans and widows" (James 1:27) for example, freedom still exists as to how such a biblical truth should be implemented in the public arena." But he goes on to say "No such freedom exists for the issue of abortion...No biblical truth exists to justify abortionists murdering unborn children legally, horribly, and with mind-numbing frequency. Such atrocity cannot be condoned in the name of biblical love or compassion or neighborliness." Dr. Lamb contends that the issue of abortion overrides all other issues. Over 3700 unborn babies are killed each DAY in the U.S. Another Lutheran pastor said recently that a platform of "feed the hungry, care for the poor, and kill the babies" is no supportable platform at all.

You are also correct that politics brings out the worst in us. I have had to apologize and repent of that myself. However, it can be possible, and even important, to discuss the issues, policies, platforms, etc., without attacking the particular candidates or parties.

I hope you will vote on November 4 - unless you are in the delivery room. :)