If you’re Romney right now, you’ve got to be cursing your luck. You’re in a neck-and-neck race the week before the election with a message about how the President can’t lead and mistakenly thinks we need a strong and effective government in America…and then wham: the biggest natural disaster since Katrina hits. FEMA–the agency you promised to shut down if elected–handles itself remarkably. One of your biggest supporters spends the day doing national photo-ops with the President, praising him for his leadership and for having put in place the systems that saved countless lives and dramatically reduced the damage Sandy could have done.
Voters throughout the affected regions are reminded that for all the good individuals and the private sector can do, there are times when we just need an effective government. And those same voters can’t help but compare the competence and rapid response of the Obama Administration following Sandy to the bumbling response from the ill-equipped and underfunded FEMA under the last Republican Administration.
You had so many plans for this week! Now all gone! It’s almost enough to let you empathize with those “takers” (as your running mate would call them) who lost everything in this storm…almost.
And this all feels so familiar…wasn’t there another time recently when you were hoping all eyes would be turned toward you and ears open to your spin, only to see those hopes also dashed by a prior “Act of God” (to use the legal term)? Oh yes, that’s right. Nearly half the Republican National Convention had to be cancelled due to the last major “act of God.” And that disaster of a convention sent the campaign into a tail spin, which took over a month to level out.
If it weren’t for the assurance that God sides with the wealthy, the “makers,” and the better half of America who will never need the government and who take full responsibility for their own lives…if it weren’t for that reassurance, one sure might sure start to wonder.
Obviously, my above attempt to channel Romney’s cosmic doubts is largely in jest. I’m not sure whether God wants Obama to win or not. And unlike many of my friends in the Religious Right, I understand there is a real danger in trying to decipher God’s will or judgment in natural disasters. I’m also a firm believer in Providence, so I have no doubt God’s will can still be done in a Romney administration.
Patheos’ question this week is whom should we vote for and how should our faith inform that decision? Bringing faith into politics is a perilous endeavor. Neither Party comes close to reflecting God’s perfect will for the world. And while faith is about service and ideals, politics tends to be about power and compromise. But as Christians, that doesn’t mean we should ignore politics or base our decisions on secular principles. We need to choose between two imperfect options to find the one that more closely reflects Christian values and stands up for the groups Jesus stood up for.
Lincoln probably put it best when he said we should not seek to show God is on our side as much as to work to ensure we are on His. And so I’ll close with a few final points on that front. There is only one time in the Bible where Jesus lays out the criteria he’ll use to determine who makes it into heaven: Matthew 25, where he says we’d be judged by whatever we do unto the least of these. He also had a heck of a lot to say about helping the rich at the expense of the poor (we did a nice Biblical primer on that). Romney has scorned 47% of working American families. Ryan has called 60% of Americans “takers.” And their budget and policies are entirely about cutting programs that help the least of these to make it even harder for the wealthy to squeeze through that needle’s eye.
Another factor to consider is that there is only one sin in the New Testament to get the divine death penalty: hypocrisy. If you haven’t watched it yet, you must watch this video contrasting Romney’s statement to church leaders about his concern for the poor and the important role government plays in caring for them with his statements to rich donors behind closed doors. It is damning. And not to be outdone, Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan faked his concern for struggling families by pretending to wash dishes at a soup kitchen…that were already clean…in a soup kitchen that was closed. When you worship at the altar of mammon, it’s hard to serve anyone else.
And since someone will start crying “abortion” in the comments if I don’t address it now, as I’ve already argued, if you are pro-life and think protecting the unborn is more important than talking about the unborn, you clearly should vote Democrat.
I may not know for sure whom God wants to win or whom Jesus would vote for. But given the choice in this race, there is no doubt in my mind whom I’m going to be voting for: President Obama.
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