After spending the last two years exploring a non-partisan Christian ethic of politics in the column and book called Faithful Citizenship, it feels, frankly, bizarre to have to choose a candidate for president now that the election is upon us. But when I go into the early voting booth this week in Texas, despite the fact that my vote will not matter at all in this reddest of red states, I will be casting my vote for President Barack Obama.
I read a full-page ad on biblical values from Billy Graham or his handlers the other day, and while I respect his/their right to their interpretations, my thinking on what constitutes biblical values remains more in tune with the Democratic Party than with the Republican. I read the Bible as St. Augustine did, as a call to love of God through love of our neighbor, and so I am less interested in mandating America’s morality and less interested in whether or not I will be able to forge ahead as a radical individual than I am in whether we respond when called to serve our neighbors.
I work hard, have been successful in my field, and I could survive under the every-man-for-himself ethic such as I sometimes see espoused in Republican and Libertarian platforms. But I see compassion, justice, and equity as biblical values—and to me they trump non-issues such as marriage and perceived support for Israel.
I’m troubled by elements in the Democratic platform, and I think it’s important to note that this two-year experiment of writing about faithful citizenship has made me both much less partisan and much more willing to listen to those with who I disagree. But given the choice between President Obama and Governor Romney, I’ll vote for the constitutional law professor who was raised by a single mother and his loving grandparents. I’ll vote for the husband and father who was willing to change his stance on marriage at political cost because his wife and children convinced him that he was wrong.
After I vote, I’ll remember that at the end of the day, America is a nation, not a church, and anyone for whom I vote will be an imperfect human being entering an imperfect system. And I’ll give thanks for the God who has all things under control, no matter who gets elected president.