Voting Biblical Values

A day behind in the newspaper, yesterday I opened the Sunday New York Times to this full page ad from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association imploring the American people to vote “biblical principles” next week.  The full text portion of the ad reads:
The legacy we leave behind for children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial.  As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.  I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.  Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that American will remain one nation under God.

This ad follows my sister calling me from Colorado (we like our swing states in my family) to say she’d seen a church marquee that read “Vote Biblical Values” and wondered out loud if that meant they too were voting for President Obama.

I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Graham and the congregation in Colorado that I have a responsibility to vote biblical principles next week; that the legacy we leave behind for our children and grandchildren matters.  And so, I offer my support, volunteer hours, even a little money, and above all else my vote, to the candidate I believe comes closer to standing for biblical values– President Barack Obama.

Mr. Graham and others have tried to turn biblical values into marriage equality and abortion.  But I am reminded yet again of the biblical principles that command we care for the orphan and the widow.  I look to the biblical principles that require fair lending practices and genuine care for creation.  The biblical principles that talk about equality, peace, forgiveness, setting aside our judgment, and love.  I will continue to be guided by the more than 2,000 references in the Bible that talk of our obligation to do justice and God’s preferential love for the poor.

I am voting biblical principles on November 6th.  I am voting for President Obama because he protects the sanctity of life, not just while it’s in the womb, but with health care, education, and a social safety net that insures no one gets left behind and that women will continue to have access to family planning and if need be, safe and legal abortions.  I am voting for President Obama because he supports not just one hetero-normative model for families, but rather stands by families in their beautiful diversity and believes who we love should never stand between us and our civil rights. I am voting for President Obama because he understands care for the environment entrusted to us is not the butt of a joke, but our solemn responsibility.  I am voting for President Obama because Jesus simply was not kidding when he demanded we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, heal the sick, and care for the least of these in our midst.

Content Director’s Note: This post is a part of our Election Month at Patheos feature. Patheos was designed to present the world’s most compelling conversations on life’s most important questions. Please join the Facebook following for our new News and Politics Channel — and check back throughout the month for more commentary on Election 2012. Please use hashtag #PatheosElection on Twitter.

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  • Frank

    There is nothing biblical or Christain in voting for a party that has a abortion on demand. Each week over 6000+ innocent unborn children are killed only 3% due to rape, incest or life of the mother. Protecting the least of the least of these is a Christians priority. The Christians choice is clear. Jesus is not going to ask how much wealth we distributed, or how many government programs we created. He is going to ask what did you do to stop the killing of my children?

    Not to mention the terrible record that Obama has over last four years. We could expect another four years of disaster if he gets reelected. Our country is smarter than that, I hope!

    • Jesse

      Actually, in Matthew 25, Jesus defines what he means by “the least of these”: the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, and the prisoner. How nations treat them, he said, is now nations will be judged. Where’s your evidence that “the least of these” actually refers to the blastocyst, the embryo, and the fetus? Why do you have so little respect for Scripture that you feel the need to revise what Jesus said? Do you not trust God?

      • Frances

        Amen, Jesse.

        • ToronadoBlue

          @Jesse and Frances:
          I would include an unborn child in the ‘least of these’ category. It is dependent on another for his/her very survival.

          Here is a question for you, what would Jesus say about partial birth abortion?
          1. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby’s leg with forceps.
          2. The baby’s leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
          3. The abortionist delivers the baby’s entire body, except for the head.
          4. The abortionist jams scissors into the baby’s skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole.
          5. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The baby’s brains are then sucked out and the head is removed from the womb, completing the procedure.

          “And he [Jesus] took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.’ ” (Mark 9:36)

          If you can’t answer that question, that’s cool… I don’t expect you to.

      • Ted Seeber

        Looks like the Apostles knew more about religion than you do:

      • Frank

        The unborn are sick, hungry, thirsty and both a stranger and a prisoner.

      • Anna

        You think that murder of unborn children is going to go unpunished by God? I’m glad I won’t be you on judgement day. I am surrounded by conservatives like myself and we ALL help the poor, the sick, the hungry. But we don’t want to do it through a beauracracy that just wastes, wastes, wastes.

    • revsharkie

      I just read a very good article by David Frum on, in which he makes a very convincing case that one of the very best ways of reducing abortions is making sure the people who are already born have basic access to the necessities of life. Economic anxiety is one of the main causes of abortion. So feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc., and help them to have economic stability, and they are less likely to find themselves in situations where they’re desperate and abortion seems like the only viable option.

      • ToronadoBlue

        The argument that Frum makes that economic conditions is a cause of abortion doesn’t impact the issue of whether abortion is wrong or right.

        For instance, suppose we lived in a society in which it was legal to sell your 9-year old daughter as a prostitute. Now suppose that Frum argued that bad economic conditions is a cause of pimping out little girls. Would you agree with him then that we should redistribute incomes in order to reduce child prostitution, all the while keeping it legal?

        If Democrats were wanting to ban abortion as well as redistributing income, that would be a different story. But they don’t.
        Is it ever justified in legalizing child murder, or vote for a party that wants to keep it legal?

      • Ted Seeber

        Now that I agree with! The real question though is if you create a soup kitchen that tells a pregnant woman that she must, to feed the four children she has, kill the fifth, is that actually taking care of the poor?

    • Larry G Smith

      What about sending young men and women into a WAR as an agressor nation, no we were not attacked by Iraq, we invaced them just to take down their leader and for MONEY. How many thousands of those people over there died as a reault of this. Not just our military but victoms of that WAR. Please do not base your votes on only one issue, abortion, that issue only really comes up at election time. THINK and READ before you deside to vote. Where was this country at 4 years ago, check the history and look at where we are at today. Every thing is better and getting better. Do not vote us into another WAR for things to get better for just the RICH and big defence contractors. THINK. JESUS preached LOVE to all men.

      • ToronadoBlue

        Larry G Smith,
        Things are getting better?
        I can bring up how we are screaming into debt, not enough jobs are being created, global food prices are increasing, the hostile business climate, the attacks on free speech, the attacks on religious freedom, increased taxes on the middle class, declining incomes, increasing food stamp use, gas prices, pensions going broke, towns going broke, states going broke, the compliance of the liberal media to protect this administration, the stalled economic recovery, Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, Jeremiah Wright, etc. But nothing says evil like ‘abortion’.

        Regarding your war comments- I hate war and I don’t know anyone who wants war for the sake of having a war. I personally am a contentious objector, but can have some understanding if war is conducted for the purpose of self defense or if by doing so saves lives. When Republicans were all over Clinton for bombing Serbs in Bosnia and then later in Kosovo, I sided with the democrats because I was familiar with the situation and felt the actions were saving lives. Oh yes, democrats believe in wars and bombing too… more recently in Libya and Obama’s war of necessity in Afghanistan. Maybe you conveniently forgot all those drone strikes. More recently, Sec. State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria to encourage them to ‘invade’ Mali.

        Whether these wars/battles are justified is a reasonable debate, but you would be wrong if you believe that Republicans are ready to have a war for any willy-nilly reason.

        You are correct “JESUS preached LOVE to all men.” He also threw the money lenders out of the temple. And with that example, I’m calling out any ‘pro-choice’ christians that you cannot be both.

      • Ted Seeber

        Well, we certainly have fewer soldiers at war. We’ve replaced them with flying robots taking shots at random at brown people.

    • Frances

      Frank, I seriously doubt that you won’t be with Jesus in the end. You show your ignorance of biblical teachings in this comment.

      • ToronadoBlue

        Then perhaps you could teach us about how Jesus would have been ok with abortion (including partial birth) with your extensive biblical knowledge.

        For what its worth, Frank is wrong. According to the statistics I’ve seen, 3000 children are aborted everyday, not 6000 per week. That is a 9/11 everyday.

  • Mike

    The consistent forgetfulness to care for the poor and the marginalized on the part of evangelicals has me wondering where it really comes from. I am reminded that Billy Graham single-handedly reshaped fundamentalism during the Red Scare. In addition to his’ entwining the evangelical gospel with nationalism, that being over and against all things likened with Communism, Graham set in motion an even more biased angle on the gospel that ignores so much of Jesus’ teaching, what Graham and others in the evangelical tent have preached is not the Gospel at all. Uniting religion with nationalism in a way over and against Communism must have dictated, in their minds, they ignore the community and its overlooked members. That is in direct contradiction to Jesus’ teaching.

    • ToronadoBlue

      Don’t equate going into trillions of debt with caring for the poor and marginalized. I’m all for helping those who the hungry, homeless, and helpless, but stealing from future generations to fatten government coffers today is irresponsible and doesn’t show good stewardship.

  • Rick Middleton

    I agree with you. My Christian friends mostly believe “the government has no right to provide a safety net,” and they will vote for folks like Paul Ryan who are working to dismantle it. Now, that would be perfectly fine if some alternative were available; we would simply swap the government’s food stamp program with a Church-Charity Food Stamp program and be on our way. The only problem is that this “Church-Charity” entity wouldn’t be able to afford such a burden for more than 9 days. Until the Right can craft “the world as it should be”, they shouldn’t rip apart institutions that address the world “as it is”, leaving the elderly, poor and vulnerable with no recourse.

  • Alex

    Ann Rand’s philosophy directly contradicts Jesus’ teachings. So who’s philosophy are you basing your vote on? Are we blind to corporate greed, lack of any safety net for the struggling and poor etc.

    At some point the Republicans narrowed their definition of morality to abortion and homosexuality. If you’re going to hang your hat on these issues, at least try to be consistent. Ban In Vitro Fertilization and Divorce for starters. The list can go on.

    • Melissa

      I very much agree with Alex. The Republicans seem to based their philosophy on wealth, which is necessry for living, and abortion, which is cruel and homosexuality. Yet they do not see the big picture. This country’s financial status is not solely based on President Obama. I agree that abortion is wrong, yet Planned Parenthood is necessary. The list does goes on as far as other issues such as divorce and health care that are not being assessed correctly by the Republicans. As far as Biblical morals, in the book of James it is written a whole list of sins to avoid, misuse of riches is one of them. Taking care of “the least of these” is another. It seems that President Barack Obama is the one who is concern for “the least of these”. The issue on abortion should be based on the State level. Yet women should still be able to acquire the needed help that they may have as far as Planned Parenthood. The issues needs to be assessed in a wider range not just focusing on two issues. If judging on Biblical morals, Hmm… Mitt Romney is NOT following the written WORD, from which he has based his faith upon anyway. And that should be the central of his issue.

    • Ted Seeber

      Agree with this too! While we’re at it, can we attack the unbiblical economics enshrined in Article I Section 10 of the US Constitution?

  • Tom Bennett

    As Christians, we need to be very careful where we place our allegiance. It seems to me that progressive Christians anchor their theology on social justice and inclusivity. Loving the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves also encompasses repentance from sin. Granted, we have come up short in the love our neighbor part. We certainly need to examine and act on the social justice aspect of our faith. But social justice does not mean we place our allegiance in a political party or a federal government as our savior. There is a moral price to pay. Just look at the attacks on religion from this administration. There is also a troubling path in the doctrine of inclusivity. The church should welcome all people. We are not called not to judge and we are not to accommodate or ignore sin. Progressive Christians and theology are often not neutral. Their pastors and clergy have embraced and developed doctrine to redefine the Holy Sacrament of Marriage and to ignore right to life issues. They love to opine only on the social justice of Jesus. Would anyone care to make the case that Jesus would approve of this slaughter of about 1.2 million annually just in the US? Progressive Christians take the correct approach to welcome all people without condemnation, but their pastors and clergy leave out the part about repentance. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus preached repentance, but progressive want to ignore the murder of babies and reinterpret the scriptures to support an evolutionary view of marriage. And, the path of inclusivity leads to embracing all religions as a path to God and a “Moving beyond Jesus.” It is no wonder that the foundation of their faith is social justice and non-confrontational inclusivity. Because, when repentance is removed, that is all there is to stand on and it then it becomes easy to support a political party that believes in abortion on demand and a president that goes even further and has a record of voting for partial birth and live birth abortion. As Christians, we need to be careful where we place our allegiance and our worship.

  • Tom Bennett

    Jesse, God is the Author of Life and the Giver of everlasting life. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you …” and “Thou shall not kill.” Is it your position that Jesus would approve of the millions of babies that are being slaughtered? Please make your shameful case.

    • Julie

      The verse from Psalms only speaks to God’s knowledge of us before conception, not in the womb.

      Every Biblical reference to the beginning of life that I can find, from Adam on, says that life begins with breath. The Breath of Life. While I do not care for abortion as a form of birth control, and certainly not late term or partial birth abortions, I find it really interesting that the argument seems to center around this idea that “life begins at conception” which has absolutely no biblical backing that I can find. The Psalm doesn’t work- that one says He knew us BEFORE the womb, not at conception. Everything else points to life beginning with the first breath.

      • ToronadoBlue

        Luke 1:15
        For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.

        Luke 1:41
        When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

        These verses show that whatever is in the womb is alive and thus has life.

        • Julie

          How so? The first says that the Holy Spirit will fill John, not that John already has life.

          And we know that a fetus can move in the mother’s womb, that proves nothing new, either.

          I’m not saying that life necessarily should be defined legally as starting at birth, but I do think that the Bible supports that view most clearly since breath and life are so closely tied. Neither of those say anything about life, not to mention they are about a very specific fetus, not life in general. Those are both in the same single passage about John, which is thin for defining a biblical stance on the beginning of life.

          • ToronadoBlue

            How so?
            Because I’m not sure that a dead thing or an inanimate object can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, a baby moving in the womb shows life.

            Just you think it is ‘thin’ evidence doesn’t make it so. There is clearly life in the womb as any ultrasound will show.

  • Marianne

    I have to point out your reference to “I am voting for President Obama because he protects the sanctity of life, not just while it’s in the womb,…” is unbelievable. Mr Obama places absolutely no value on life in the womb. He is a proponent of abortion on demand, without exception or reason. He is NOT a person who cares about unborn human people.

  • Sus

    “Mr Obama places absolutely no value on life in the womb. He is a proponent of abortion on demand, without exception or reason. He is NOT a person who cares about unborn human people.”

    I cannot find one source that says President Obama wants all pregnancies to end in abortion. When he says he is pro-choice, he is saying he wants abortion available for pregnancies that are unwanted for whatever reason. He’s saying we need to take care of the people that are here right this minute. I’ll be glad for abortion to end. As revsharkie says above, abortion will continue to be an issue until we take care of the people here no.

    You don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. It’s very simple.

  • Tom Bennett

    You’re not looking hard enough. Check his voting record as State and U.S. Senator.

  • Alex

    “Obama places no value on human life in the womb.”. Are you in LaLa land? Who the hell would delight in a woman getting an abortion? It is always a horrible predicament, except perhaps for the recent Republican candidate who impregnated his patient.
    Obama has said that he wants to make abortion safe, legal, and rare. There are plenty of Christians and other people of faith who believe the same way, because the politics of sexuality are not black and white. Religion is an important factor, but we are not a theocracy. If the Pope were president, he would also ban condoms and oral contraceptives. Mormons actually believe that the alien soul has not attached itself to the body until it breathes life outside of the womb. There are also some tragic genetic defects that we can pick up now early. How about IVF, where you have to discard embryos. Etc. Christian teenagers have sex just as often as non-
    Christians and with less protection. Christians gets divorced at the same rate as non Christians. Women in most countries don’t have access to contraception. Read Thomas Friedman’s recent opinion piece,”Why I am pro-life.” A culture of life includes advocacy for peace and not militancy, banning the death penalty, banning of assault weapons, nuclear weapons which kill millions of innocents with generational consequence. We are not a theocracy. In our democracy, there are plenty of people who believe women should make their own reproductive decisions, and not the government. Ironic, huh! I also think that Christian conservatives are once again easily manipulated by these hot button issues while avoiding an intellectual or spiritual consistency. How about our stewardship of the earth and protecting our environment in the face of blind greed?
    Interestingly, Jesus talked a lot more about the poor than many other issues. He did not mention homosexuality or abortion. You can say that those issues are wrong from your theological standpoint. But recognize that it is a theological viewpoint, and that these issues are more complex than you make it out to be.
    Lastly, don’t call us Christians who are pro-woman’s right to choose, pro abortion. Sorry for the ramble.

    • Ted Seeber

      “Are you in LaLa land? Who the hell would delight in a woman getting an abortion?”

      Near as I can tell, everybody who considers being “unwanted” and “unplanned” reason to impose the death penalty.

    • Marie

      Amen, Alex! Well said, appreciate the ramble.

  • Ted Seeber

    Arguably the least of those in our midst are fetuses and embryos, especially the unplanned and unwanted ones. I notice that Obama isn’t actually for doing anything for the least of those in our midst except continue the historical 40 year genocide against the least of those in our midst.

  • Ken

    1. You cannot be pro choice and be true Catholic or Christian. The defense of human life must be our number one priority. The protection of all the other innocents (the sick, the poor, the lame, the homeless), all flow out of this primary, fundamental principle.
    2. This nonsense about a woman’s right to choose is pure hypocrisy. Those on the liberal left that support abortion and don’t want the government to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body, ignore the fact that prostitution is illegal. So let me get this straight, the left believe that a woman controls her uterus (so abortion is ok) but that the government controls her vagina (can’t sell it – prostitution is illegal?). This makes no sense.
    3. More government hypocricy: In this country it is illegal to kill the fertilized eggs of the American Bald Eagle. You go to jail for this if convicted. Why?! Because those eggs grow up to be Bald Eagles. So why is it ok to kill the fertilized eggs of humans in the womb? Again the hypocrisy is alarming. Those fertilized human eggs grow up to be PEOPLE, like you and me. Whether they are wanted or not is irrelevant. Life is life!! Otherwise, infantacide starts to make sense. You can see the slippery slope. A baby is born and the pro-choice person says “I don’t really want this baby now, lets kill it” the only difference between the abortion of a fetus and the murder of this infant is that the infant passed thought the birth canal. This birth canal is life giving? Of course not. So why is one ok and the other isn’t?!!
    This is not about some stupid choice of a woman’s right to do whatever she wants with her body, otherwise the left would be out pushing the right for a woman to choose to sell her vagina as prostitution.
    We must first defend life at all costs!! It is clear that President Obama and his administration is anti-life. Vote Romney Ryan!

    • Frank

      Don’t confuse them with facts and logic. It upsets them and they simply attack.

  • Alex

    Don’t tell me I can’t be Christian and pro-choice. That’s for God to decide.
    Again, refer back to my note earlier. At least try to be consistent in your argument, if you’re going to take a moral high ground.

    • Sundown

      Actually, didn’t you hear? Ken thinks that he is God!

    • ToronadoBlue

      Can you be Christian and pro-slavery?
      Can you be Christian and pro-pedophilia?
      Can you be Christian and pro-sex-trafficking?

      These are honest questions because I see abortion as the same evil as slavery, pedophilia, and sex trafficking (among other things).

      To me it is murder of someone who is innocently depending on someone else for its very survival.

      Could you explain to me how you can be Christian and pro-choice?

  • John G

    What about the end of a pregnancy due to miscarriage that occurs through no fault of the mother? Perhaps as many as 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage (the number is understandably difficult to estimate) and I venture to guess that the miscarriage number is far greater than the abortion total. How do you explain miscarriage? Is it God’s will? Is God therefore not a Christian?

    • ToronadoBlue

      JOHN G,
      Miscarriages is a separate issue from abortion. Abortion is a deliberate taking of human life and a miscarriage is death of the baby for other medical reasons. For instance, someone getting cancer is a separate issue from someone stabbing someone to death.

      Your question, IS GOD A CHRISTIAN? Since Christian is defined as a follower of Christ and Christ is recognized as the ‘Son of God’, I wouldn’t define God as being a Christian.

  • dave

    The writer of this article is a devil of Hell. Who I might add will not be with Jesus in the end unless he repents. My prayer is that all who vote for Obama will be barren, have their families torn aparrt by non traditional marriage, and be financially ruined, because those are the value they are voting for.

    • ToronadoBlue

      I vehemently disagree with the attitude that you display here. While I agree that all need repentance and it may be poetic justice to suffer for the causes we advocate, your attitude is not Christ-like. Pray for your enemies!
      I beg God to forgive me for my sins, and I beg God to forgive the sins of even those who are my enemies. Hell is an eternity and I do not wish it on anyone.

    • Frank

      Dave back away from the ledge and get some help please.

    • Rachel Johnson

      @ToronadoBlue and @Frank, Thank You. You have been among the most outspoken opponents of our site and our writers and have had strong words to say to us. But as Christians we are called to show love above everything else, even – or especially – when we are vehemently disagreeing with others. You did not have to respond to Dave, but you did.

      @Dave – We welcome dialogue, and even strong disagreement. But personal attacks and prayers for harm to others are not in keeping with the spirit of our site or the tone of dialogue we expect from our commentators. Please refrain from them in the future.

      • Frank

        Rachel from my perspective it is not so much that I am critical of this blog as much as I believe that the unborn’s voice has been lost or marginalized in the discussion. So yes I am critical of the posts and positions here but I do not hate or wish harm on anyone. Dave and people like him, on both sides, need to be stood up to even if they agree with our position. One thing I do know is there is truly no hope if we all become like the Dave’s of this world.

        Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard here.

      • ToronadoBlue

        Your Welcome. Dave clearly went over the line in wishing harm to others That is not what Christ was about.

        Never the less, @Dave, if you happen to read this. Hope all is well with you and I hope the outburst was only out of frustration and not due to some troubles in your life. I’ll say a prayer for you.

  • Kris Morrison

    I cannot believe Christians are willing to support a party that is dedicated to erradicating God from our society in the name of “helping the needy.” Republicans help the needy too. Democrats want to give them fish. Republicans want to also teach them to fish. The Bible teaches us to support those who cannot support themselves. We are supporting too many people who could support themselves but will not because they don’t have too. Today, I am ashamed of America. Take for example, the Earned Income Credit. Yes, it has helped many single mothers and their children. But, it is also responsible for creating more single mother households. The mothers have learned that getting married disqualifies them. The EIC also subsidizes dead beat dads. They don’t have to be responsible because the government is raising their children. Oh well, I can only get on my knees and pray that God will remove the scales from our eyes before we reach a point of ultimate destruction. We’re heading for 20+ trillion in debt. The American experiment is almost over anyway.

  • Denise

    This article is very sad indeed….you’re being deceived.

    Being poor or being rich is not a sin, only the love of money is sin….taking a life, both in or out of the womb is sin. Homosexuality is called an abomination….all sin. NO Christian should be supporting these things, nor should they ever be voting for a president who supports them.