I don’t consider myself a liberal, or a conservative, or even a middle of the road type of person. Although others may categorize me as white, evangelical, and male, I am first and foremost (I hope) a follower of Jesus. When I make big decisions, I try to root my decisions in how I understand Jesus to have lived. I don’t believe in the divisions that create some issues to be moral or personal or ethical or secular. I believe all of life is to be lived spiritually, and life is most fruitful if we look to Jesus in all things — not just ‘religious things’ . Basing my decisions on him may put me in different camps, depending on the time and context in which I live. In the past, I’ve voted Republican, I’ve voted Democrat, and I’ve not voted out of Christian convictions. I’ve considered these three options for this election as well. For the following reasons, I decided to vote for Obama on Tuesday:
1) The poor will be better off with Obama. I believe this to be the first question we must ask of a candidate. Jesus promised a jubilee to his followers. He created a community that shared generously with one another. For a Christian to support a candidate, that candidate must look to create a system that resembles this community of sharing. I don’t call it “socialism” — I call it gospel…
2) Blessed are the peacemakers — we must support people who strive for peace. And Jesus was not saying use the sword to achieve peace — it was ‘use the means of peace to achieve the ends of peace’ (why would he say ‘love your enemies in the same Sermon?). I believe Obama seeks to end the war. I’ve been concerned by the strong military talk by both candidates. However, I think Obama is taking a more direct route to peace. We must support the peacemakers to align ourselves with the Sermon on the Mount.
3) I believe Obama will begin to repair the damage done in our relationships with other countries. I believe he will look to bring reconciliation where there are divisions. In Christian baptism, the two peoples, Jews and Gentiles, become one. The body of Christ, made up of many members from many races, is to be one. It is at the heart of our faith that we overcome our divisions while celebrating our differences. For a candidate to receive the Christian vote, he or she must seek to do likewise. In the United States, I believe that Obama will be a force in healing the racial divide in our country. It is a huge task, and we might not get very far, but I think he will move us in the right direction.
4) I believe Obama will bring other voices to the table. Jesus spent time with the outcasts and sinners shut out from the main halls of power. I believe a candidate, to get the Christian vote, must create a space to hear other voices. I believe Obama himself is one of these other voices. In addition, we need to talk to those who hate us, and we need to know why. I believe Obama will do this in foreign policy — and I believe he will do it here in the US.
5) We are to be better stewards of creation. Right now, it appears we’ve damaged the way the earth is to function through driving our cars and consuming so much of our natural resources. We need to move in the direction of better stewardship of creation as we honor God’s gifts to us. I believe Obama has a better plan to move to alternative fuels and energy than does John McCain. I believe, after 9-11, we should have pushed for energy independence for many of our families through tax breaks for solar panels on houses.
For these five reasons, I’m casting my vote for Obama on Tuesday…