Time for Christians to Make a Choice

By Jeff Fulmer

I’m ready for this election to be over. As with most hotly contested campaigns, it’s been full of half-truths and outright lies. And, while I have my opinion on the source of the vast majority of deception, the casual observer simply sees partisan bickering and endless gamesmanship. The result can be a cynical electorate who loses interest in the whole political process. I’ve noticed many Christians who seem to fall into this category. Already suspicious of politicians, they hear the hypocrisy espoused in the campaigns and no longer trust either party to be a viable part of the solution.

In an attempt to transcend the right and left, it can be tempting to avoid making any choice at all, leaving less scrupulous elements to pick our leaders and determine our policies. It’s true; Jesus sidestepped politics. He talked of feeding the poor and showed compassion for the sick and suffering. He admonished us to take care of the least of these and warned about the love of money. He even paid taxes without complaint. At the same time, he avoided questions about Roman rule. Of course, Jesus had a much more important mission; one that takes place in hearts and souls.

Once we have responded to the gospel, we should have a desire to do God’s work here on earth. For me, this involves trying to support causes that reflect his love and mercy in all aspects of life: families, communities, culture, and yes, politics and government. So, shouldn’t we want a government that more closely aligns itself with the principles that Christ exemplified?  Do we want to cut social programs to the poor while giving tax breaks to the wealthy? Do we want to turn our backs on the uninsured? Do we want an economic model that is based on survival-on-the-fittest? What are real Christian values?

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These are not just ideological questions. They are real to a mother who has been cut from her health care provider. It’s real to a boy who can’t afford a school lunch, much less a decent education. It’s real to a dad whose job has been shipped overseas. It’s real to a grandmother who worries she’ll outlive a voucher to cover her end-of-life expenses.It’s real if we find ourselves in another war and thousands are sent off to fight. It becomes real in the wake of a natural disaster.  Even if you are not directly affected by any of these issues, hopefully, you still care about them because they do affect real people.

The government cannot be all things to all people and we must make some hard choices. We need to discuss how we can reasonably reduce the debt; however, surely, the most marginalized are not the first that need to be asked to pay. If the richest 1% controls 40% of the nation’s wealth (and certain wealthy people are paying less than 15% in taxes), maybe they can do a little more. Let’s discuss how we can reduce abortions, including all the ways to lower the number of unwanted pregnancies. Let’s talk about gay marriage, and how can give all people equal rights. While I know no politician or party is perfect, I don’t hear a willingness to talk about both sides of an issue from the right.

Religion can transform a person’s life, but government can help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and provide basic shelter for the homeless. It can heal the sick. It can educate the young, providing a brighter, safer future for all of us. It can help ensure that the strongest don’t take advantage of the weakest.  I believe these are all worthy goals of a society. God has given us the free will to determine what kind of world we want to live in. Hopefully, Christians will not lose their faith in a flawed system, and be willing to make the tough choices.

Jeff Fulmer is the author of the Christian fiction, Hometown Prophet.   You can receive a free copy of his e-book, “As a Christian, Why the GOP Doesn’t Speak for Me,” by signing up for his newsletter at http://www.hometownprophetbook.com.

  • Frank

    Hopefully Christians will realize that it is in direct opposition to their faith to vote for a party that has abortion on demand in its platform.

    Since legalization, abortion has become so routine more than 40 million unborn babies have been aborted since 1973. In 1996, 1,365,730 abortions were recorded, an increase of well over 100% since 1973, when the annual figure was 615,831, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About every 20 seconds a baby is aborted. 159 abortions are done every hour, 3,805 every day, 115,744 every month. Almost 30% of all pregnancies are now ended by abortion.

    Between 1974 and 1983 the repeat abortion rate soared drastically – 166%.

    • http://singingwithcrows.blogspot.com Marian L. Shatto

      Frank, you really are very efficient at what you do, jumping in first to derail a nuanced discussion with your single-issue rant. Who pays you? American Family Association? Operation Rescue? It’s a shame you don’t follow what Jesus said about abortion, which is precisely nothing.

    • http://JaneMyersPerrine.com Jane Perrine

      Frank, I hate abortion. I wish there would be better sex education and the information on contraception were available. I wish there were more support for a poor mother who doesn’t know how she’ll care for another child–but there isn’t and the anti-abortion crowd has blocked these. I also diklike the term, “Abortion on demand.” With that phrase, you are–with great intention–making a woman’s right to choose into a frivolous and not thought out choice. Abortion is legal. If you don’t like it, Frank, don’t have one.
      I am a values voter. My values are to do what Jesus preached: love, feed, visit, care for, clothe.

      • Frank

        Meanwhile I had my figures wrong. 21,000 innocent unborn children are killed each week, 97% for reason of convenience. Sleep well supporting their slaughter either actively or passively.

    • Christy

      It’s easy to only look at one side of that coin. Now, think on this…had all those women, some of which could not have possibly taken care of a child, had those children…what state would we be in now? Our government can only take care of so many…and no one else will do it. There would be millions of children in our foster system…we all know how alot of these kids end up. While I am personally against abortion and would never ha ve one…it is not my place to take that choice away from another person. We are all different and we do not have the same values…our government should represent ALL of us and not just some of us.

    • http://www.patrickhouston.com Patrick

      If Republicans would get on board with addressing the causes and conditions that make abortion so prevalent, we might actually make progress on reducing the demand.

      Abortion is a product of poverty and maternal distress.

      Conservative David Frum with some straight and sensible talk about the abortion issue.

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/29/opinion/frum-abortion-reality/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

  • http://www.ronamundson.com/twitter. Ron Amundson

    The rights answer that taking care of the poor is an individual thing is likely mostly on the mark from a heart point of view, but fails economic reality for the vast majority of people and even churches for that matter. Imagine if a 65 person church had to pay for a million dollar baby, or even a $200,000 baby for that matter, so say nothing of $50K/year for each elderly member in a nursing home who had depleted all of their savings… it would put them under in no time flat.

    The ministers to widows and orphans 2000 yrs ago had to pretty much let the sick baby or elderly widow die as there was no other choice… today, society has the tools, and says they value life, but is in tension with the big question of how much its willing to pay, There in lies the uncomfortable elephant in the room that transcends the entire political spectra. Its easy to say life is sacred in theory, but in practice, its a lot easier to buy a 6 figure house than a 6 figure car to keep ones kids safe.

  • Stan

    Be careful not to replace your faith in God for faith in government or bureaucrats.

  • Daryl Forman

    Christy, Ron, and Jane are so right. If churches were to attempt to pay for a premature baby’s care or elderly people’s long term care, they would go belly up very soon…Then there would be no source of payment….and no one left to speak up for the poor. just like a 1000 years ago. We need to worry about post birth babies health care, shelter, feeding, and education/ not every fertilized egg/embryo.

  • Stephen

    I remain a little surprised that after 35 years, the BIG LIE that Republicans are in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade carries weight with Christians. Top Republicans KNOW that actually overturning Roe would be the end of their party at the national level. That is why it has not happened and is very unlikely to happen. BTW, at least 20-25% of all human conceptions end in natural, spontaneous abortion. That makes God the universes No. 1 abortionists. If God ordains everything, why does he require that 25% of human conceptions end in abortion? And since HE does require it, then maybe He does not think a fertilized mass of dividing cells without a functioning human brain is human. Death by cancer or any other disease was considered God’s will, until humans could do something about it, and now cure’s of serious illness are also considered God’s will. Maybe it is God’s will that human society develop to the point that women can CHOOSE when and if to have children…since that is of course what has happened.

  • https://www.facebook.com/paulajconnell Paula Connell

    I find it rather sad that this wonderful post has been immediately derailed by the single issue religious person up above, who is either unable or unwilling to assimilate the rest of the content into his ideological egocentrism.

    Legalized abortion is a sad reality, but for many reasons a necessary one (rape, life of the mother, etc). Don’t you think it’s a bit obscene and immoral to howl on and on about abortion while you ignore the fact that people are dying from lack of shelter, food and healthcare? I sure do.

    So let’s move on, and refocus on the heart of this article.

    • Frank

      The heart of the issue is the value of life. How wonderful for you that you can so causally dismiss it in the name of Jesus. Wonderful.

      No thanks but we cannot move until the wanton killing of innocent life is stopped.

    • Frank

      And btw only 3% of the 1.2 million abortions a year are due to rape, incest of the life of the mother. The rest are for convenience.

  • Scott

    The person that is starving, unclothed, abused, sick, poor, handicapped or downtrodden at LEAST has had a chance at life!!!! What chance does an unborn baby have when a doctor punctures their brain and sucks their brain out!! What if your mom would have decided to do that to you!! Abortion is NOT a religious issue, it is a moral issue. There are even aeithiast with a good sense of morals that can even agree that it is murder. BTW- I’m sure Jesus loves it when we do that to His most precious creation. So, stop making it a left /right issue…it is a moral issue.

  • http://www.pamelagrow.com Pamela Grow

    Wonderful post. And yet again, commentators circle back to the “pro-life” movement.

    And yet, for all of our talk about “life,” the issue of a woman’s right to choose has always struck me as being solely about about money and control. For haven’t abortions been going on since the beginning of time? Indeed, there are many never discussed illegal abortions in the pasts of more than one United States President. Even a Republican. Or two or three.

    And haven’t the wealthy always had access to a safe medical procedure, even prior to Roe v Wade?

    If the real issue was “life,” wouldn’t we be ensuring that the safety net was there for our seniors, for those with disabilities and others in need?

    Wouldn’t we would be supporting programs like Head Start and food stamps, and adequately funding public education?

    Wouldn’t we as a nation be ensuring that all have access to quality health care?

    Wouldn’t we as a nation oppose the death penalty with every fiber of our being?

    And lastly wouldn’t we stop dreaming up senseless wars that do nothing but line the coffers of a select few, and sending our best and brightest off to die?

    To show respect for all, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or gender, and to allow people to live with dignity…this is what it truly means to be ‘pro-life’.

    Being both “pro-life” and pro-choice means recognizing the inherent value and potential in every living human being.

    • Frank

      Agreed but it hypocritical to ignore the over 21,000 innocent lives killed each week mostly for convenience and then say you are for “all life.” If we cannot protect the most innocent, the least of the least of these, what hope do we have?

  • http://www.hometownprophetbook.com/ Jeff Fulmer

    I appreciate all the comments. I get that abortion is an incredibly passionate topic. In Matthew 25 (Sheep and Goats), Jesus gives us a pretty good idea of some of the things he’s passionate about. Might be good to think about those too.

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