Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Can You Be Evangelical and Vote Democrat?

I've heard it said, you've heard it said, that you can be a Democrat when you come to Christ, but as you mature and grow in the Lord, you will naturally vote Republican.

Is that a true statement? Have you heard that said? Is a definition of solid theology mean that salvation is a free gift, but to keep it you have to vote Republican? Is that the natural flow of logic? According to Christianity Today, young evangelicals are drawn to Obama? Are they mis-guided? Or Holy Spirit guided?

Should Obama earn the Democratic nomination, his message of hope and unity will appeal to young evangelicals, said Allen Hertzke, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. Obama talks openly about his faith, often employing biblical imagery in his speeches. But any outreach effort from Clinton would need to overcome her family's history.

According to Dr. Dobson, there are no choices and therefore, the truly Christian, family friendly thing to do is to not vote...

"Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for President in my lifetime," Dobson said in a message to his e-mail subscribers the morning of Super Tuesday. "I certainly can't vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for President for the first time in my life."

C'mon Dobson, you're acting like a strong-willed child.

How can we not talk about politics? This is the biggest Presidential Election I can remember.

Source: Super Tuesday Results Show Split Between Evangelicals and Their Spokesmen | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction


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Kat said...

[quote]Can You Be Evangelical and Vote Democrat?[/quote]
Well, I am, and I did! For once, since the 70's I voted without the clothespin on my ample nose. I had four I liked parts of. Since I am a registered Democrat, I could only choose between two of them. A friend reminded me yesterday, that no matter what happens, God's Word says "all authority is of God." It's comforting to know that.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed with Dobson. While I wouldn't be thrilled with McCain, I would hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, so to speak. I agree with Kat that it is comforting to know that God is the ultimate authority. I will pray for whatever President is elected.
The Huckster isn't perfect, but he's my pick out of the bunch. Doesn't look good for the nomination, though.

I think Rush said the same thing as Dobson... I think it's irresponsible for a public figure to announce that they wouldn't vote. Some people will blindly follow them!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I started out my adult life quite conservative and have found myself gradually moving to the liberal middle as I've gotten older. I hate it when Christians try to tell me how to vote based on what they believe God would have us do. There are plenty of conservatives out there who lack a sense of social justice, just as their are plenty of libs out there who lack a sense of social responsibility. I believe that both are quite biblical.

Mike West said...

Your question can't be answered yes or no . Our principles are shaped by our depth of knowledge; especially our knowledge of the Bible. Most of us don't take the time to thoroughly research a candidate's voting record; the one thing that can best predict what they will do in the future. "If" we will do our due diligence, it's then a matter of drawing a line down the middle of a piece of paper and list the pros and cons of a candidate and see how they align with your principles. Your principles will differ from mine because again, it's based on the principles you have developed from your level of knowledge. A label like "evangelical" is just a quick way to degrade people of faith because the term now carries a negative stigma within the general population just as the term "Christian" now carries a negative connotation. Too bad, huh?

Bryonm said...

I think ALL labels are used to communicate something negative. If you're the Evangelical and you say "Democrat," that usually means something negative. If you're Democrat and you say, "Republican," it means something negative. You're right, it is too bad. Let's decide that WE won't do it. How 'bout it?

Anonymous said...

I try to research the candiates and see where they stand on certain things. I don't tend to follow what other people think because we all think differently.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it matters so much being democrat or republican as far as the essence of what each party represents. For example you are no or more less "christian" because you prefer big or small government. I think it matters more where a given candidate comes down on certain issues, the most clear cut for me being abortion.

I think that you can be a Christian and Democrat or Republican or whatever, but I do not see anyway a Christian can be pro-choice. If the democrats were to put a pro-life candidate in the general election then I could see myself even voting that way given where he stands on other issues such as the economy, Iraq and so on.

I think young evangelicals are drawn to Obama exactly because of the baggage that has been tacked onto the word because of Bush.

Carole Turner said...

Thanks for this post, I stole it but gave you totally props for it.

I live in Louisiana and NO you can't be a Christian and a Democrat here or you are seriously ostrisized and your love for Jesus comes into question big time.

I will vote for Obamah if it's him vs McCain BUT I will vote for McCain if it's him vs Hillary.

Anonymous said...

I dislike labels, tho' I am sometimes guilty of using them. I do NOT like what Dobson has done. I think it's irresponsible (a label!) and a slap in the face of the troops that are fighting to preserve our rights and freedoms. It is, however, his conscience that he's trying to follow, and he who will or will not have to answer for his choice. But if he doesn't vote, and subsequently denounces anything done by whoever is elected, I may very well jump all over him, because he will--in my book--have lost the right to complain.

Oh--Mike, I used to be a pro-choice, Republican Christian. That was during the days when I had moved to a "moderate" sociopolitical stance from the very conservative one in which I grew up. I have now moved back to the right, but have brought with me the sense of social justice and social responsibility that I gained. But I do know other Republican Christians who are not apparently bothered by pro-choice Republican candidates. Again...personal decisions that I have no room to judge, although I now strongly disagree with them. And, yes, these are committed Christians.

Anonymous said...

I am sure they are committed Christians, but I don't think they have Biblical based world view. I do not see how you can be about social justice (standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves) and not be about justice for the unborn.

j a n said...

"You can be a Democrat when you come to Christ, but as you grow in the Lord, you will naturally vote Republican." Is that logical? No. It sounds more like church-think to me. We seem to believe that becoming a Christian means we all think alike - in one-dimensional black & white.

The reality is, we all have different life experiences, and God has uniquely gifted each of us with different gifts and passions and challenges that influence our thinking. Good, God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians can rightly disagree about a lot of things, including politics.

J Dub said...

Mike--first of all, be careful about your abortion stance (I agree with you, by the way, in my personal view). The main issue at hand is whether or not that "fetus" is a human being, and at what point "it" becomes so. If everyone held the belief that life begins at conception, then the question of abortion is negated, and it is unequivocally called murder.

In the view of the vast majority of Christians, life does indeed begin at conception (for what clearer line is there to draw?), so abortion is widespread murder, making it a complete social atrocity. If you hold the view, as most liberals do, that life begins at some point after conception, then abortion is nothing more than a procedure to remove some tissue from a woman, at her discretion. I completely disagree with this view, but that's what the debate is really about. To me, anything other than conception is a completely arbitrary line drawn to ease someone's conscience. But, the line still gets drawn. It's not as black and white as "Is killing a person wrong?" If it were, there would be no debate.

A side note: why don't we emphasize education on abortion as much as we do sex education? I think if people heard more about the impact abortion has on women (psychologically, physically, and spiritually), regardless of when you think life begins, that abortion numbers would significantly drop.

Next, Christians (or "evangelicals," as is popular to say now), have a tendency to become one-issue voters. "Oh, he's pro-life? He's my guy." "She's against gay marriage? I know who I'm voting for!" It's frustrating that we can become so narrow-minded, and a lot of times, we earn the stereotypes. There is no "perfect candidate," and their total body of work has to be considered. So, yeah, a Christian can, in clear conscience, vote Democrat.

Finally, as has been mentioned before, Romans 13 says that no authority exists except that which God has established. Emperor Nero, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton...all established by God. When it's all said and done this November, the President will have been established by God. Who becomes President doesn't always match up with your personal tastes, but that doesn't mean that you are excused from submitting to him or her. Rom 13:7-"Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

Anonymous said...

Justin- I know the pro-choice arguments. I do not however think that I am being hasty in my stance on abortion. Bryon asked the question, can a Christian vote democrat? My answer was that neither the republican nor democratic philosophies on government are anymore righteous than the other, both could fit inside the frame work of a Biblical world view. I do not think that abortion can ever fit inside this frame work, so therefore I think that a candidate needs to be evaluated further then just what party he or she represents, but what world view is being manifested in their politics. I understand that there are pro-choice Christian's I just don't think that on the issue of abortion they are thinking Biblically. There are certain things that are essential to a Biblical based, Christ centered world view and I believe that this is one of those things.

We are discussing how a Christian should enter the political arena, and to the Christian the standard of morality and justice is the Bible, so therefore I think you can say it is as simple as "killing a person is wrong" because the Bible assigns the same value to life both inside and outside the womb.

And like you said the line drawn as to when life begins is arbitrary. So who is say that and even more arbitrary line won't be drawn further on down the road as we become more of a post-christian nation. How do we know that someone some day won't say, "life only exists between the ages of 5 and 65, out side of that life does not exists so to kill a 4 year old is not murder." Biblically speaking that statement is just as absurd as saying life beings eight to nine months after conception so to kill 4 months after is not murder.

Making provisions for a pro-choice view within the Christian faith is a slippery slope and I hope that our churches would have strong enough Bible based preaching and teaching to prevent from us from sliding down it any further.

J Dub said...

I agree, Mike, and I'm definitely not making provisions for a pro-choice view within the Christian faith. Instead, I'm trying to give an example of how I see the issue, and how it stands now. It's apparent to me that abortion equals murder. But...that's not how the debate has been framed in this country, unfortunately.

I agree...following Christ and being pro-choice just don't add up. But, with the way the question's being debated, it is conceivable that someone would not think through the issue, and therefore not make the distinction that an unborn baby is as much a life as you or me. They may just blindly accept that a fetus is a piece of tissue, because that's what they've heard. This is largely the fault of our culture and the media that reflects it. However, it's equally the fault of the individual that doesn't think through it completely and doesn't become familiar with Scripture that repeatedly gives evidence that life, beginning at conception, is a gift not to be taken lightly.

To me, when in doubt, you ALWAYS err on the side of caution when it comes to preserving a life. Especially in the Christian worldview, when our life isn't even our own. We, as a society, have become WAY too casual in this discussion and are ultimately just looking for ways to serve ourselves.

J Dub said...

And Mike...I know we agree on this.

But, I just want to make sure we're not saying something to the effect of "You're pro-choice? Oh, you must not be a Christian." Not that you're saying that, but we gotta realize that there are shades of gray here.

Anonymous said...

I don't think being pro-choice negates your christianity but, I would say that it is evident that someone is not operating out of a Biblical world view.

And I know we agree. I was taking it more from the aspect that we are only talking how Christians approach abortion.

Bryonm said...

pro-life is a conviction for christians, but a platform for the political parties. in this case, i feel republicans hold the position in order to hold votes. but there is no way that they'll ever reverse the supreme court ruling.

there is more to being pro-life than simply VOTING for a candidate that's pro-life, especially when it appears as part of a menu item along with pro-second amendment, pro-death penalty, anti-muslim, anti-gay, anti-welfare, pro-war, pro-big-oil, anti-pope, anti-iran, anti-france, anti-hillary clinton... i think you get my point.

In fact, one can vote for a candidate that has a pro-choice stance, but works to reduce abortions. Folks on both side of the aisle do that. But even more so, you and I can do much more that is pro-life than merely casting a ballot for a candidate that agrees with us on one thing. You can volunteer at a women's center. You can raise money for an abortion alternative organization. you can adopt a baby. it's more than a biblical world view, it's a biblical world "DO".

The Washington Political machine is a juggernaut. I don't care who you elect, unless they are unbelievably, almost super naturally gifted, they can't fulfill the promises they make while campaigning. It's easier said than done. It's all hot air unless you can rally people behind you. So far, when it comes to the abortion issue, we've had twenty-four years of republican pro-life presidents that have done nothing in washington to change anything on this issue. However, in the past ten years, abortions have decreased dramatically in this country. The credit goes to Christians and churches doing something more than just talking and picketing and voting. it's not political activism that's brought these decreases, it's been activism in response to the work Christ has done in lives.

Grassroots activism gets so much more done than political wrangling and posturing. It costs unbelievable money just to print out the plan, rules and regulations in order to get anything done in government. But with just a fraction of that money, churches can change and impact their own communities by doing. Don't expect government to get 'r done.

You do it.

J Dub said...

Haha, Bryon. Point taken.

But you asked us how we could not talk about politics.

This was a post about voting.

However, I completely agree with what you said. Relying on government for anything (except things that can't be done by the private sector--like the military and building roads) is usually a bad idea.

Bryonm said...

true enough: the post was about voting. but instead of having a discussion with back and forth vollies, we got nuked right out of th chute with the abortion topic that trumps even the ace of spades and calls everyones intelligence, convictions, and compassion into question. the flow of logic is that if you don't vote a certain way, you condone murder, you don't have a biblical world view, and you'll be easily duped into taking the mark of the beast.

Anonymous said...

I was just using abortion as issue that does not affect whether you agree with the basic premise of being a democrat, big government. My point is that you can be a christian and vote however you want but you must examine all the issues, like the ones Bryon mentioned.

I think you have to use a Biblical world view when selecting a candidate, that includes examining the whole body of work like Justin mentioned earlier. But a personal conviction for pro-life is the correct Biblical world view. That personal conviction has to manifest itself in the ways that Bryon described. I wasn't questioning anyones intelligence nor was I trying to use a trump card. I was simply saying all issues have to examined in light of Gospel and after the examination the ballot should be cast for the one that lines up the closet to scripture, whether that be Democrat or Republican.

Plus I don't even believe in the mark of the beast.

Mike West said...

This is why I love blogging. It sure beats watching the evening news.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how every time politics and Christianity are discussed someone brings up ABORTION. There are a thousand issues to look at, I am pro life, but I categorically cannot be so myopic that I make or break a candidate on that issue. I am a single guy. I get taxed up the... I am tired of hearing about pro family this and that. I want a candidate that wants to tax diapers, milk and baby food!!!

Anonymous said...

It is so refreshing to see someone with priorities in order.

Anonymous said...

I love what Kat said...doesn't that say it all?