Thursday, March 09, 2006

We mock what we don't understand.

The primaries were this week. Did you vote? Should you vote? How should you vote, especially if you are a Christian? These questions could/should be asked about voting in general.

In particular, I want to ask and, hopefully, answer how a Christian should vote?

Realizing our 2 party system, should you vote Democrat or Republican? What if both claim to value human life? One may seem more concerned with protecting unborn life while the other may seem more concerned with helping the living who need assistance.

First, I'm very cautious of any talk along the lines of "All Christians should support the __________ party." I wish it was that simple. Many in my circles flirt with such rhetoric because the Republican party (in general) is pro-life (i.e., with regard to abortion).

Second, I think the two-party system has presented the Christian with a false dichotomy. That is, do you value life (i.e., anti-abortion) OR do you value helping people in need (i.e., enhancing their quality of life and perhaps even preserving life)?

Republican minded Christians will ask how Christians voting Democrat can do so since that party’s stance on abortion is favorable toward it. Democrat minded Christians will ask how Christians voting Republican can do so since that party is perceived as the party for/of the rich, the one not perceived as compassionate toward those in need. Both will deride and mock their brethren. We mock what we don’t understand.

As Christians we tend to focus on the former to the neglect of the latter, especially churches predominately of the majority culture, which tends to be more affluent. However, we should be doing both, fighting for the unborn AND caring for those of our society in need.

The reason that being pro-life trumps everything else for me is that I can still do both that way, help the unborn and the living. For example, even if the government did absolutely nothing to help people, I still can. In fact, I think the government's involvement, and the church's willingness to let it take the lead, has led to the marginalization of the church's influence in/on the communities.

Many churches that are influential in their communities typically are so because they make up the difference (or at least attempt to do so) where the government leaves off.

What if the government didn't do anything to help people? Would the churches step up in this regard? Would Christians start really giving so that people could be helped ala pure and undefiled religion (cf. James 1:27)? I'm all for helping people who cannot help themselves (even making up the difference), but less inclined for those who can but don’t (2 Thess 3:10).

If Christians (and consequently churches) were salt & light in their communities and made contributions of time & money, then they would have an impact and Christ would be honored and depended upon, rather than glorifying government through dependence therein.

I said all that to say this ... while this is a involved issue, I go pro-life as my trump card (even or against party where/when necessary (e.g., Giuliani (R) vs. Lieberman (D), although Lieberman seemed to go pro-choice in 2000 when put on the ticket)). I figure the government can't prevent me from helping others, but there's not much I can do to help the unborn.

I believe I do understand my Democrat minded Christian friends, but would encourage them to evaluate how they prioritize their values. I strive to be a “compassionate Conservative,” not because I want votes, but because I want to see Christ honored in how I vote and try to care for humanity, the born and the unborn.

In another venue a brother asked:

are we concerned with life (6th commandment) when we only address a certain stage of life?

I'm certainly not suggesting a Christian ought to be a one-issue voter.
Rather, Christians (people in general, really) ought to rank their values so that when one value is in competition with another the decision may be more easily be made.

The easy answer to our brother's question is "No," because a person concerned with life is concerned with all (human, in this discussion) life, its preservation and quality therein.

But, for a person who does value all of the above, difficult decisions still arise. For example, does one vote for the candidate who is pro-choice yet is for helping unwed mothers?

My rationale is that whether or not the government gives a dime or a minute of time to help the unwed mother, that hinders me not from doing so. But, there is no alternative method of helping the unborn. If they are dead, no help (potential or otherwise) can be given.

Now, is it hypocrisy to be for life with regard to abortion, but apathetic with regard to helping others in our society that we can? Certainly, but that should transcend merely voting patterns to take shape in real efforts to advance the name of Christ as we are His agents of grace.

But, though quality of life is huge, snuffing out the life of one made in the image of God is hard to top. We mock what we don't understand, but I hope we can at least understand each other in the interest of genuine discussion about such matters.



At 11 March, 2006 15:45, Blogger Go-Panda said...

With this all in mind is it any wonder why I am a member of the Constitution party? It is not the government's job to function as the church so why do we let them? (SSDI, SSA, Welfare, Education ect.) I specifically did not vote in the primaries so that I could sign the Constitution Party Access Petition

At 11 March, 2006 22:09, Blogger GUNNY said...

No, it's no wonder, Go-Panda.

Once the church started to abdicate its role as helper and nurturer in society, the government stepped up to be our "Daddy" and the church further resigned itself to less influence as it took a back seat, becoming second fiddle in the benevolence department.

Consequently, even Christians began to look to government as our source of hope, as opposed to Christ or His church.

At 12 March, 2006 08:22, Blogger Go-Panda said...

OK then the question arises:

How then is the church to do the following:
1)Take the Gospel to every tribe toungue and Nation
2) Take her position in the world

The question is often asked:
Does the church even have an obligation to those outside of the church for anything beyond the Gospel?
If so where is it found in Scripture and what is its extent?

Lastly, how does the church do all this without:
1)Preaching a Social Gospel or even Liberation Theology
2)Becoming Theonomistic
3)Avoiding "Rice Christianity"?

PS if we were to do this I do not think there would be any issue of ethnic diversity in the church local.


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