We are not single-issue voters.

September 20, 2004

[God is NOT a Republican ...or a Democrat]God is not a Republican …or a Democrat.
(Thanks to i am paradox for the link.) Exploring beyond the satirical flash animation, I found the following text, part of a larger manifesto:

We believe that poverty — caring for the poor and vulnerable — is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ budget and tax policies reward the rich or show compassion for poor families? Do their foreign policies include fair trade and debt cancellation for the poorest countries?

We believe that the environment — caring for God’s earth — is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ policies protect the creation or serve corporate interests that damage it?

We believe that war — and our call to be peacemakers — is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ policies pursue “wars of choice” or respect international law and cooperation in responding to real global threats?

We believe that truth-telling is a religious issue. Do the candidates tell the truth in justifying war and in other foreign and domestic policies?

We believe that human rights — respecting the image of God in every person — is a religious issue. How do the candidates propose to change the attitudes and policies that led to the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners?

We believe that our response to terrorism is a religious issue. Do the candidates adopt the dangerous language of righteous empire in the war on terrorism and confuse the roles of God, church, and nation? Do the candidates see evil only in our enemies but never in our own policies?

We believe that a consistent ethic of human life is a religious issue. Do the candidates’ positions on abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, weapons of mass destruction, HIV/AIDS — and other pandemics — and genocide around the world obey the biblical injunction to choose life?

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

8 responses to We are not single-issue voters.

  1. Better be careful Jon or someone will acuse you of being one of… “THEM.” And the trouble is you never know who THEY are. They are everywhere, and a lot of THEM are running in Stealth Mode. Anyway, I voted my conscience once, a very scary event,…. except, I liked it. So, I too am now ..GASP.. one of them…a Christian independant. What is the world coming to. Isn’t there anything a person can rely on anymore?? Free thinking Christians, can you believe it?!!
    Couldn’t help the slight sarcasm, it just happened.
    Somewhere between social engineering and greed, there has to be sane choice. Isn’t there?

  2. Interesting post.
    I agree, of course, that God does not choose a political party. This particular organization, however, seems to be implying that the only clear choice for christians is the Democratic party (except for the reference to abortion). Many of the statements seem to be directly aimed at our current president.
    The thing is, when reading the manifesto, there were some underlying assumptions that I would reject.
    1. Caring for the poor=social programs. I beleive that private charities and people acting on their own do a better job than government in caring for those in need. Often, government “help” only traps people in a cycle of poverty. Does that mean I think welfare should be abolished? No, but I don’t accept the premise that it’s government’s responsibility to take care of people.
    2. Corporations=evil. Corporations do many good things, including providing jobs for people, and they should not be uniformly demonized. Are there some bad corporations? Sure, but they are certainly not the majority.
    3. The war in Iraq was based on a lie. This assumption is not based on incontrovertable facts. People can have different views on this and it’s patronizing to imply that there is only one “good, Christian” view.
    4. The Abu Ghraib scandal is the worst human rights issue facing the world today. Abu Ghraib was awful, but don’t be ridiculous. Look at what’s happening in Sudan. Look at what’s happening in Cuba, Venezuela, etc. Look at what Saddam was doing before he was removed from power.
    5. The United States is trying to build an empire. I’m sorry, I thought we were trying to protect ourselves after what happened to us 3 years ago.
    Stating that God does not choose a political party, then having a manifesto that clearly favors one party over another seems somewhat hypocritical to me. Just wanted to state my views, and make it clear that being a free thinker does not equate solely with being a liberal democrat.
    All the best,
    A registered Independent.

  3. Wow, I touched a nerve… and not just in some random person, but in a friend! Wheee! Hi Sami! 🙂
    I was about to state some of my biases more fully, but have decided not to for now. Let me just bring it back to the point: You can vote for Bush and still be a Christian 😉 as long as you favor his policies. But please, please don’t vote for him because “he’s a fellow Christian.” Look at his policy decisions and their consequences, and if you approve, vote for him.
    There are many voices which imply that if you are a (theologically) conservative evangelical, you must also be politically conservative. What I appreciate about Sojourners is they show the possibility of being evangelical left. Their very existence shatters common assumptions.
    Our home group included two people who, politically, were on the far right and the far left. And they still like — no, love — each other! (And we shared lunch together today.)

  4. Thanks for the response, Jon.
    I certainly agree that Christians can have all sorts of political beleifs. I guess I was just bugged because the Sojourners thing seemed to imply that true Christians would be on the left. And yes, I know that most of the mainstream evangelical movement would say that you have to be conservative.
    I’m not voting for Bush because he’s a Christian. Clinton was a Christian, too. I don’t agree with Bush on everything (especially the constitutional ammendment against gay marriage), but I agree with more of his policies than Kerry’s. I’m really more of a libertarian.
    And I certainly would not let politics get in the way of friendship.
    Anyway, Erick and I are doing great. I’m still planning on visiting your church sometime.

  5. Go Sami! I like what you had to say! I agree with what you said. I am leaning toward Libertarianism as well. I am voting for Bush “for sure.” Kerry is a waffler if you ask me.
    I don’t like everything Bush does. I’m not sure about this war thing, I don’t like his educational policies, or the enviroment stuff. Eeek!
    I DO like the stand he takes on moral issues like abortion, homosexual “marriage” etc. I like that he is privatizing some instituional stuff. I want more conservative people in the Supreme Court.
    I was raised in a Democratic household. I have voted for Democrats at times. The moral issues are too important to me right now, which is why I am voting for Bush.
    I think the poor are better off being taken care of by their communities and the church versus Governmental hand outs.
    I agree that stuff like this should never come between friends. Hugs to Jon and Sami! Helen

  6. Uh oh, Helen, don’t get me started.
    Well OK, just a little bit… 😉
    After 9/11, America had the sympathy and support of the world. Even the toppling of the Taliban got support from Muslim & Arabic countries. What happened to this unprecedented groundswell of American support? It has been squandered by our launching an illegal war. “We have united our enemies and divided our friends.” As an American who has spent half my life overseas, I find this shameful.
    Al-qaeda is thriving because of our actions in Iraq, indirectly by stirring up Jihadists worldwide, and directly by turning Iraq into a Jihadist playground when it not previously. The war on terror has been compromised.
    Clinton was also labeled a waffler because he changed his mind on things. I consider that (changing your mind) a positive trait. I voted for Bush before, but now I want him out.
    I am opposed to the constitutional amendment on marriage. I continue to see abortion as something God hates. But I also think he hates divorce, yet I support my divorced friends — this is an illustration of how I am rethinking abortion, that fighting for legislation is not the answer in our society.
    (BTW, since the door has been opened — let’s confine political commentary to this post. Feel free to state your views in civility; bash issues, not people. I will not hesitate to delete any comments which bash people. As opposed to the world stage, I have no problems acting unilaterally on my own blog.)

  7. Sami, I loved what you had to say in your original comment.

  8. Hmmm… but many people feel that religious issues are then personal issues that should not necesarily be translated into politics and public policy.
    My parents believe (or at least professed to believe) that caring for the poor is a religious issue – but that it is the responsibility of the local church, not the local or national government.
    Acknowledging God is a religious issue, but do you want your representatives deciding which version of God they will say YOU believe in?
    Is it possible to find leaders and representatives that can lead and represent both Christians and non-Christians, without tipping the balance in either direction? Is it possible that the only thing you need from your representatives is the protection of your freedom to exercise your religion, not necessarily a government that is slightly more conducive to your religion than others?
    And is it possible to look at religiously and emotionally charged issues (like marriage and abortion) from a different perspective, and draw conclusions based on *rights*, rather than emotion, guilt, or anything else being thrown at you from either extreme? (Admittedly, it’s quite difficult. 🙂