Election 2012: 5 Things I Don’t Understand about Christians Who Voted for Obama

“God is in control.” Well, duh.

I’ve heard this refrain reminding of God’s sovereignty countless times now since Election 2012 as a mantra to console evangelical Christians and religious conservatives bemoaning the recent win by Barack Obama. Contrary to what some seem to have concluded from my posts “It’s the End of America as We Know It”  or “We Are All Victims Now, Mr. President,” I have never doubted for a moment that God was, is, and will always be in control.

But Scripture also demonstrates, from the Garden of Eden on, that each of us is ultimately responsible to our Creator for our own thoughts, actions, and votes.

The numbers show us that evangelical Christians turned out to vote for Romney at a higher percentage than they did for McCain (unarguably the worst candidate ever nominated at the worst possible time). Pew Research puts support for Romney at 79%, the same as for Bush, a professed born-again evangelical. But that still leaves 20% of self-described born-again evangelicals who voted for Obama.

Among the broader Protestant vote, however, only 57% supported Romney with 42% for Obama. And don’t even get me started on the Catholic vote — which Obama somehow won in spite of his hostility toward the Church. That tally has troubling implications for how Catholics view the church leadership. See the Pew Research report here.

But for Protestants, who supposedly place a premium on Scripture as the supreme voice of authority for life, I confess confusion as to how even 20% could find a way to vote for Obama and still remain true to Scripture. I cannot recall a clearer distinction between two candidates in my lifetime on several key issues.

So I share with you 5 things I don’t understand about Christians who voted for Obama.  I suspect that likely speak for many others, but I’ll stick with “I” rather than the royal “We” so as to offend as few critics as possible.

5 Things I Don’t Understand about Christians Who Voted for Obama

  1. Life. Obama’s record is one of the most radical in support of abortion. I could understand some thinking Romney might be soft on it, given his late-arriving public opposition. But between the two, one supports the killing of unborn children. The other does not. Again, I’m talking about Christians who supposedly are all about Scripture as the final authority. There can be no neutrality on this issue. You can’t sort of support abortion and sort of not. In the end, something is dead. How do you get around that? By narrowly defining life to after-birth?
  2. Marriage. I know we’re all supposed to pretend the Bible doesn’t say what it actually says. I know we’re all supposed to bow at the temple of tolerance. I’m pretty sure that’s why the angels told Lot to get out of Sodom. Because the city had refused to be tolerant. Not. Obama has stated clearly that he supports redefining marriage in opposition to how God defines it in Scripture. Romney supported preserving a Biblical definition. Any explanation here, especially from the 20%, would be welcome. And yes, I’m also asking the 95% of Protestant Christians whose skin God made darker than mine who supported Obama. If Kingdom comes before race, how does that vote get cast with a clear conscience? I love you, but I don’t get it.
  3. Religious Freedom. The HHS Mandate tramples our religious freedom, and it does so unnecessarily. Too many of us think that we can somehow all hold contradictory viewpoints and still make it all work out. Ideas have consequences. What the HSS mandate shows is that Obama values certain perceived freedoms  (reproductive rights) as greater than other God-given freedoms. A vote for Obama was a vote to continue to restrict the freedom to freely worship God. 20%? Help me understand.
  4. Private Property. This concern will sound the least religious to most Christians because we have long embraced the Greek/gnostic thinking that the physical world is inferior to the spiritual, in spite of the fact that the second person of the Godhead will be forever be both spiritual and physical — as will we. God is the ultimate owner of all things. In his sovereignty, he has put His world into our care in general, but into individual hands in particular to steward on His behalf. “You shall not steal” is the clearest affirmation of private property there can be. And yet Obama has expressed that it is the role of government to correct God’s incorrect distribution and spread the wealth around according to another standard. While neither candidate was perfect on this issue, one candidate took a far less Biblical position than the other.
  5.  Leadership. Admittedly, this is the vaguest concern of them all. I could likely find others on which Scripture is clearer for most. So I’m not taking some kind of adamant position on this one. But, as someone who has spent a lifetime studying leaders and leadership principles, I just don’t understand it. Biblical leadership principles — that is, all sound leadership principles, for they all find their foundation in Scripture — leave me confused as to why anyone would think him a sound choice. I know, critics are demanding that I reprint every leadership book ever written. I can’t in this limited space. But I’d be curious as to why that 20% thought Obama the better leader, the more Biblical, or even the wiser choice. I see him as very similar to another Biblical leader named Barak from the book of Judges, a leader who lacked the courage, vision, and integrity to lead faithfully. Or as Rehoboam who foolishly sought to crush his opposition and thus created far more conflict for those he led. Many more poor examples come to mind. But I don’t understand how evangelical Christians could see Obama’s leadership model as being Biblical. A little help?

So, yes. God is sovereign. And yes, I will be praying for President Obama. Just as I would be praying, I hope, for the political leader who may one day order the torch to light the sticks heaped around me. But that doesn’t mean I would understand how fellow Christians could have supported it.

Maybe I could hear from someone who is a self-described born-again evangelical who voted for Obama. I would like to understand why. Seriously. I just do not see how that decision is Biblical. But I’d love to hear your perspective.

For far too many Christians of all stripes, God’s revelation in Scripture has become an optional handbook. Kind of like the directions that come with your kids’ toys at Christmas — relevant only if all other options fail. We tend to see it rather like the pirate code from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. To paraphrase the infamous Captain Barbossa, “It’s more like guidelines.”

Maybe that’s it. Guidelines. I’m trying, but I just don’t understand it. Any input?

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  • John Evans

    1.) Not every Christian agrees with you that personhood begins at conception.
    2.) The President runs the government, which is concerned with the purely secular aspects of marriage involving tax laws, inheritance laws, and other laws of property and person. Many Christians realize this has nothing at all to do with religious marriage.
    3.) Many Christians realize that religious freedom must co-exist with the legal rights of others.
    4.) Do you like your public fire department? Or would you prefer that they check your credit rating before putting your house out? Many Christians realize that investing in the nation via taxes can help the needy get on their feet and be productive again. A rising tide lifts all ships.
    5.) Other Christians may have considered Mr. Obama’s performance acceptable in the last 4 years, or looked at Mr. Romney’s past business dealings and found them disconcerting, or may have perceived him as too changeable of opinion on issues that mattered to them.

    More briefly: Not everyone thinks like you. Even other Christians.

    Does that answer your question as to why other Christians may have voted for Mr. Obama?

    • Ok. I understand your first point which is what I suggested might be an answer on the issue of life. Your second point is simply not accurate as the President does not run the governemnt. He has a specific role in it, to be sure. And how marriage gets defined has very definite legal implications on Christians and Christian organizations.

      My specific question was how evangelical Christians, who are supposedly committed to Scripture as the final authority, could vote for Obama given the concerns I raised.

      • John

        Perhaps I would have been clearer to say ‘the President’s job is a government job, not a religious one’, or ‘the President runs referee on the complex machinery of state’ or something. I apologise for not being clearer.

        Please elaborate on how exactly a legal definition of marriage impacts the religious of any faith outside of already existing anti-discrimination laws?

        Lastly, if you intended your question to be specifically about evangelicals, I apologise. Reading “But for Protestants, who supposedly place a premium on Scripture as the supreme voice of authority for life, I confess confusion as to how even 20% could find a way to vote for Obama and still remain true to Scripture. I cannot recall a clearer distinction between two candidates in my lifetime on several key issues.” I was confused, as not all Protestants are evangelicals.

        • Agreed. I could have been clearer. Although my confusion still exists, though to a lesser degree with non-evangelicals.

          Scenario: A para-church ministry functioning as a religious organization, let’s say a school, decides that it will not partner with two people ofthe same sex who have a legally defined “marriage” and have adopted a child. Could they be forced to admit the student and partner with the parents over their faith-based objections to the parents behavior which the school believes to be un-Biblical? If not, why not? And what role would hate-crime laws potentially play in this scenario? Keep the backdrop of the HHS mandate in mind.

          Any input?

          • John

            I’m not familiar with the terminology you are using here – para-church ministry.

            Generally, pre-existing anti-discrimination laws do not allow exclusion on the basis of an individual’s religious beliefs. This works in the favour of Evangelicals as well, as it also prohibits – hypothetical here – a shopowner who is a Buddhist could not refuse to sell his goods to an Evangelical due to the latter’s religious convictions.

            Government should work to create an environment where the broadest plurality of religious expression is possible, but it is unreasonable to accommodate practices which are harmful or discriminatory. Sikhs should have to wear safety helmets like everyone else. If they want to invent safety turbans and get them approved by regulatory standards agencies, that’s fine, but they don’t get a get-out-of-safety-headgear pass.

          • Jennifer

            I’m not sure what a para-church ministry school is, Bill. you raise an interesting question, though. I’m presuming (I could very well be wrong) that this school is privately funded? If so, it might be like the Catholic Church only accepting priests who are not married, or who have taken communion. Where does adherence to a certain model end and discrimination begin? I don’t know and I would be interested in learning our perspective. There are many behaviours considered unbiblical. Would a parent having had an abortion rule them out? Or would the discovery that a parent whose child belonged to the school has committed adultery result in expulsion? Or a parent arrested for theft? Or is homosexuality worse because it is ongoing and possibly more public. I know that when I ran a licensed home daycare I turned down many parents who wanted a different education for their child than the kind I provided. I also – because the daycare was in my home – turned down parents who were absolutely opposed to any Christmas celebrations involving Jesus. I would have been terribly upset to be forced to enrol children whose parents had very different philosophies. I would also have been upset to be considered discriminatory. To me it was more the idea of finding a good fit to benefit all. So no answer here, Bill. Only a small personal experience and more questions!

          • By para-church I mean simply a religious organization that is not a church.

          • Bill, to answer your question, under federal law, a private school can not be forced to admit an adopted child of a same sex couple, because a private school is allowed to discriminate as much as it wants. Your question is a bit upside down though–the onus would be on the government to show why it was able to compel the school to admit the child, not the other way around.

            Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 denies federal funding to schools that discriminate based on race, color or national origin. That’s all. That means (a) private schools can freely discriminate based on other criteria, and (b) private schools can (and some do) discriminate based on race, color or national origin, so long as they do not receive federal funding. Private schools can certainly discriminate on the basis of religion, freely and with no consequences. Private schools can also discriminate based on sexual orientation (or the sexual orientation of family members) freely and with no consequences. Recognizing same sex marriage on a federal level would change none of this.

            So, your hypothetical private school (whether it was set up as a para-church ministry with an educational function or not would not be relevant ot the question) would be allowed to continue to discriminate based on the criteria of its choice. The only restriction would continue to be that it could not discriminate based on race without losing federal funds (if it recieves any).

            For the most part, the interaction between the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the 1st Amendment’s Free Exercise (of religion) Clause as applied to race already maps out the most restrictive likely future of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

            Right now, your church can refuse to solemnize interracial marriage. Your church can refuse to employ people based on their race. Your church can refuse to admit people to membership or leadership because of race. Your church can preach the most virulently racial theology. Your church can refuse to even let people of another race through the door. (And I’m not sure what “hate-crime laws” you have in mind that would even be relevant here–generally hate crime laws in the United States merely impose harsher penalties on crimes that are motivated by animus against one of a set of specific categories, but since none of the foregoing are crimes, the fact that they are racially motivated doesn’t make them hate crimes).

            Race is the most extensively protected discriminatory category under federal law by a significant margin. Even if sexual orientation were given the same protection under law that race is given–and federal recognition of same sex marriage would not do that by a long shot–your churches and private schools could still discriminate. The only possible consequence (other than bad PR, which you just have to live with–ideas have consequences) for your hypothetical school would be a loss of federal funding.

    • Joan Bingham

      I had made a commitment not to respond to any more postings that I disagreed with but I can’t help but respond to yours. Without a doubt, that is a lame perception of the truth of the writing by Mr. Blankschaen. That is exactly why the country is so screwed up. Whether it’s a social issue or not, these subjects are clearly stated in Schripture and there is no acceptable comprimise. Why would a Christian vote for Obama? It has nothing to do with hate-crime. If so, could God be accused of hate-crimes? Or is it that His commands and principles are just plane unacceptable because they ‘come down hard’ on killing 55,000 babies, etc,etc, etc?

    • Roger Thuh

      Any answer you have that leaves God out of the equation is wrong. Therefore, all your answers, and reasoning, are wrong.

    • Nottingham72

      John Evans, you said……1.) Not every Christian agrees with you that personhood begins at conception. I will first begin with Deuteronomy 30:29. The ten commandments “Thou Shalt not Kill”. Jeremiah 1:5 and ultimately……Luke 1:26-38
      The Birth of Jesus Foretold
      In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
      Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
      Jesus was named before HE was even born………If you are a Christian, who can you explain this?
      Luke 1:13……But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.
      If God know’s us before HE creates us and named our Savior Jesus and John the Baptist while they were unborn. How can you say that a Christian dosen’t believe life begins at conception. We are confirmed as legally dead when our heart stops and we are alive when our heart is beating which can be found at 6 weeks in Utero. I hope your right when you stand before God

      • I suspect we’d likely all agree that if we knew with certainty that life began at conception that most, if not all, Christ-followers would agree that abortion is morally wrong. Is that disagreement on definition of the beginning of life at the crux of differing viewpoints on abortion in Christianity?

        • Susan Quinn

          I believe in the heart of hearts of most Christ-followers would be the belief that life begins at conception. I think that those people who voted for Obama and put abortion in the category of “women’s choice”, and who are Christ-followers will not, and perhaps cannot, admit that abortion, conception, etc., are valid issues for life. They don’t wish it to be so, therefore, it is not so. I am Catholic, and agree with the Church, but many do not and still consider themselves to be “good” Catholics. Do I understand it? No, nor do I like it.

          • It is odious to tell other people what they really believe in their heart of hearts. You’re impugning the integrity of everyone who takes an opposing viewpoint to yours.

        • John

          Why do you all keep saying ‘life’ here? Life began in the distant past somewhere. Both the egg and sperm cells are alive.

          I’m talking personhood. When does a person appear? This raises non-trivial problems if you say it is at conception. If the blastocyst divides in two and develops into identical twins, are they one person, or two? If fraternal twins fuse into a chimera – which does happen – is the result one person or two? Is a molar pregnancy – where fertilization and implantation are successful but no differentiation in cells begins, so the result is a genetically unique, healthily growing tumor – a person? If not, when did it stop being a person? What about ancephalic development?

          We are not considered legally dead if our heart stops. Hearts are stopped during surgery all the time. If I was hooked up to a machine to oxygenate and circulate my blood, was awake an aware, and had my heart removed – would I stop being a person?

          And you may find it difficult to believe that Christians may be pro-choice, but your disbelief does not alter the fact that some are. Please note the existence of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: http://www.rcrc.org/ Their members include Methodists, Presbyterians, and members of the United Church of Christ.

          As I said in my original post – not everyone who believes Christ is Lord agrees with you on all issues. And that is, ultimately, the answer to your questions about how Christians could vote for Obama, Mr. Blankschaen.

          • Frank

            People who have called themselves Christians have been rejecting God and Christ since Jesus’ time. It’s no excuse. There is no way voting for a political party that celebrates abortion and denies Gods design for marriage is compatible to the Christian faith. Those that try and argue differently are simply trying to justify their rejection of God. Good luck with that.

          • John Evans

            Ah, Frank. Thanks for trotting out the No True Scotsman fallacy. There are something like 4000 different sects of Christianity. Each of them thinks all of the others is doing at least one thing wrong, and are therefore not true Christians.

            How is it determined which sect is right?

          • Veronica

            How can you get around “”Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;????( Jeremiah 1:5) Clearly God has a purpose for all of us before he places us in the womb. Abortion eliminates that purpose! It is murder, plain and simple. The Bible does not cater to what we “want” to believe. You think God really said “Ok…I’ll let this one slide.” Absolutely not! It’s black and white. You either abide by God’s word, or you don’t. There is no in between.

          • John Evans

            So god’s plan for more than 50% of everyone he ensouls is oblivion before they ever get a chance to think their first thought? That seems kind of pointless.

          • John Evans

            Also, true icon (isn’t idolatry bad?) if you want to reference scripture

            If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. — Exodus 21:22-23 So only if the mother dies in this case is it considered murder.

            Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. — Numbers 3:15-16 Babies under a month old aren’t to be counted as people.

        • Jennifer

          I’ve seen Exodus 21:21-23 quoted a lot in the abortion debate. I have a question that might sound very stupid to those of you who are more familiar with the Bible than I am and who know how various words and phrases should be translated. My question is: How, if “no mischief” follows after the mother’s “fruit departs”, do we interpret this as the baby dying? I am asking this as a genuine question and am not trying to poke a hornet’s nest.

          • Good question, Jen. That passage leaves it open to interpretation, I think, saying only that the consequences of “harm” (ESV) is life for life (whose exactly, it doesn’t say). The principle of equivalent retribution applies. Verse 22 does place an emphaiss on protectingthe unborn child as it allows boththe father and the local authoritites to punish simply for someone causing a premature birth by fighting without ensuring others around them are protected.

            To put it in a modern-day scenario (for these are case scenarios from Exodus were not meant to exhaustively cover every circumstance), I think we could compare it to someone driving a car under the influence of alchohol, road rage, or after not sleeping for two days, or some such risky behavior in public. If the driver hit a pregnant woman, causing the baby to be born prematurely — yet no harm follows — the authorities should punish the reckless driver AND he would be liable for damages of some kind from the family. Keep in mind the broader principle described elsewhere that the family/father would be restricted from making frivolous claims against the driver because if the claims were proven false, they would need to pay what they falsely tried to get the other guy to pay.

            Keep in mind also that this negligence scenario is different from an accident caused by apparent random chance.

  • C.J.W

    I must admit that your thoughts are difficult for me to read, because it seems you believe that the Republican or Conservative party is going to somehow protect traditional marriage and religious freedom. Sean Hannity had to people from a Fox show called “The Five” on his program. One of them said that if Conservatives want to win back the House and Senate, they must run on fiscal conservativism and NOT social issues. I am not at all pleased that President Obama won the election, but I am no longer blind to the FACT that the Republican/Conservative party is no longer significantly interested in social policy. Are you actually willing to admit this to your readers??

    Putting hope in politicians is somewhat idolatry and it seems pervasive on the Evangelical Channel of Patheos. Christians cannot trust politicians to govern under the authority of Scripture. So, what is left for Christians politically, if the Republican establishment and the Tea Party, are not interested in tackling social issues from a biblical perspective? In my opinion, not much. I guarantee you that if the economy was doing fantastic, conservatives would not care about social issues. Reagan was president for 8 years, no repeal of Roe V. Wade. Bush Sr. was president for 4 years, no repeal of Roe v. Wade. Bush Jr. was president for 8 years, no repeal of Roe v. Wade.

    On the issue of religious freedom, the establishment clause became a legal foundation before either you or I were born! Attack on religious freedom stems from this origin. No one cared when it became law then. Please stop giving Republicans/Conversatives credit for upholding social issues and values to which they would not seriously care about as long as the economy was doing well.

    As far as traditional marriage goes, courts have struck down the will of the people in several states. Some of the lawyers (from the Republican side) are fighting for homosexual marriage. Be honest, do you really believe any Republican in the last thirty years could have appointed life-time federal judges that would be socially conservative enough to prevent the legalization of gay marriage? If you do, I have a great peace of land to sell you in Lake Erie.

    My question is: how could Christians vote for either party when neither cares about Scripture, extending the kingdom of God, and seeing lives transformed through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Most of them could care less about these things.

    In the end, you seem to want a Christian nation rather than a nation of Christians. Our hope should be built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, not on a politician. I know you have opinions that blend patriotism to Christian faith, but please be more honest. The reality is that the Conversative – Republican party cares just as little for Evangelicals than Democrats do. If this is the case, then neither party deserves our vote because politics becomes more and more about the money.

    • Thank you for your frank assessment. Much to consider. Now where exactly is that Lake Erie land?

  • Jeremy

    You’re mistaken in two presuppositions. First, you assume that Christians should rely on the government to sort these things out. What is your Biblical argument for why Christians should rely on the government to change the actions, however heinous we find them, of non-believers? (I am thinking 1 Cor. 5). Second–and I don’t want to overstep here but this is what I am hearing from Right-wing Evangelicals–your actions show that you believe that changing/maintaining culture is more important than saving the lost. Christian conservatives have done far more damage than good in their attempts to change culture through political means. I lead a college and a high school Bible study (Evangelical, Bible believing, expository teaching, etc.) and have faced significant opposition from people who think our group hates gays, women, liberals, etc. Whether this is grounded in reality or not is not the issue. The issue is that my ability to outreach to lost non-Christians has been significantly damaged by the Christian conservative movement. I would encourage you to give up politics if you are serious about reaching the lost. The Christian right has no significant victories on abortion, marriage, etc. Furthermore, any gains they have made will shortly be swept away, as was evidenced by this election. Changing culture is not Biblically mandated but reaching the lost is. Your movement is not worth the cost.

    • Interesting. And thanks for the comment. I see reaching the lost and dicipling the nations (the Great Commission) as two parts of the same mission. They are not mutually exclusive. As people are discipled, wouldn’t they then act out their faith in their public life?

      • Jeremy

        “As people are discipled, wouldn’t they then act out their faith in their public life?”–The right way to do it is to win people and then help them become more and more sanctified after they receive the Holy Spirit. Your way is to simply create laws that address actions that you find reprehensible. If you tell non-believers what they can and cannot do, they will only hate Christianity. This is counterproductive. Also, you have not provided anything like a Biblical argument for why Christians should engage in changing secular culture and government. I would be very interested in knowing more about it.

    • newcreation00

      Jeremy is incorrect. It is the Progressive/Liberal movement that has created this perspective that Believers are hateful toward gays, liberals, women, etc. They’ve been hard at work at it for about a century, and very successfully. Disagreeing with something does not equate hating the people who do it. Also Jeremy is wrong that Christians are trying to change/maintain culture. Again, it is the Progressive/Liberal movement that has changed the culture. Christians who speak out against it are simply reacting to those changes. I have been a Believer for almost 13 years, coming from decades of embracing hard-core left-wing liberal ideas. Based on my experiences living both mindsets, and observing the actions and words of both, it’s pretty apparent who the hateful ones are. Jeremy has fallen into the trap set for him to undermind Christians and portray them as evil and hateful. Followers of Christ don’t keep their faith or their beliefs in a little box they only take out at church or Bible study. We live it and that includes being active in our culture/society in local, state, and federal elections. Jesus sure didn’t keep his mouth shut when He walked the earth. There may rapidly be coming a time when the Republican party we’re stuck with does not represent us enough that we can vote for its candidates. But look at the Democratic Party platform, and any Christian who thinks it’s okay to vote for any Democratic candidate is telling themselves a lie. Or else they’re getting something from the government and are afraid if they don’t vote Democrat, they’ll lose it. Maybe that’s it . . . they’re trading their Faith and Principles for food stamps.

      • Well said.

        • Jeremy

          This is a set of very week arguments based on a “victim” mentality that says that Christians played no part and made no mistakes in attempting to sway secular culture. If Right-wing Christians are not trying to “maintain” culture through opposition to gay marriage, etc., just what are they trying to do? You are neither logical in your response, nor connected in any way to historical reality. You have referenced a set of straw men and give no indication that you actually understand Jesus’ goals. He wanted nothing to do with changing secular culture and everything to do with saving souls. Again, if you are serious about reaching out to people so they can know Christ, you cannot engage in the “culture wars.” Bill, you still have not provided any sort of Biblical argument for why it is OK for Christians to attempt to change culture when their actions clearly and needlessly turn potential converts away from Christianity. I can only assume you don’t have one.

  • Dorfl

    If I understand you correctly, you believe that if you have money, and your neighbour does not, then that proves that God intended for you to have money and not your neighbour, and thus taxing you more heavily is thwarting God’s will.

    I have no idea how to respond to a claim like that. I really don’t. Pardon me while I stare at you in bafflement.

    • I hope you didn’t spend too much time staring. Life is too short for that :).

      May I ask a possibly silly question? If my neighbor came over and took whatever it was that I had, do you think God would be OK with that? Based on Scripture?

      • Dorfl

        I imagine God saying something on the general lines of – assuming the thief is named Fred:

        “Fred! Don’t take Bill’s stuff! Give it back – I clearly told you not to steal. Bill! why do you have a bunch of stuff to be stolen? I clearly told you to give what you don’t absolutely need to the poor. You have both behaved very badly and should both feel deeply ashamed.”

        Although I suppose he’d express himself in a slightly more dignified way, I think the general message matches the new testament fairly well.

      • DanH

        Luke 6:29 And unto him that smites you on the one cheek offer also the other; and he that takes away your cloak forbid not to take your coat also.

        I strongly suggest you read the Bible in regards to what Christ said about taking care of the poor and his comments on the rich.

      • Grant Anderson

        Bill, I can’t recall the exact verses, but there is an Old Testament concept of caring for the poor by way of leaving some of your harvest left on the field, orchard, vineyard, etc. so that rather than taking 100% of your crop (earnings), you left some behind for your neighbours, strangers and travellers to take what they need. Not stealing but taking what they had no part in creating/cultivating. similarly, the year of jubilee when every debt is forgiven, slaves are released, etc, yet again, at least to me, speaks of God asking the “haves” to provide for the “have nots”. so, the idea of tax as a means to provide for others is a similar concept.

        • Grant, An excellent reminder of a Biblical concept. I would need to do some thinking on how that might translate out of an agrarian culture. Thoee who came behind still needed to do work to get it which would support a welfare to work approach. However, I’d be interested to see if the government then was called to force them to leave some behind or if it was left to voluntary obedience before God to care for the poor. In other words, charity versus coercion. It wasn’t so very long ago in the US that all such good was done through voluntary association and not through government force.

      • Except that taxation is not stealing.

        One of the fundamental parts of the social contract in a representative democracy is your consent to abide by the policy decisions of the policymakers you elect (and in the case of the US, within certain Constitutional limitations). Since you have a voice in the government, you get to decide things like how much the government should take in taxes, and from whom–or you get to help select the people who decide.

        Add that to the idea that taxation ispart of the cost you pay for reaping the benefits of living in our society and under our laws, and you really are not talking about anything in the same conceptual realm as stealing.

        • My concern is with the purpose for taxation. Not with taxation itself.

          • The same reasoning applies though. You get to vote. By choosing your representatives, you are able to voice your opinion (indirectly, but that’s just the deal with representative democracy vs. direct democracy) about how much taxation is appropriate and what it should be spent on. And the social constructinherent to any kind of democracy is that when your opinion does not carry the day, you live with it (at least until the enxt election).

            If you mean “purpose for taxation” in terms of the motivation for passing tax or spending legislation, well, it’s difficult to ever nail down the “purpose” for any piece of legislation. On a federal level, over 500 lawmakers vote for or against any bill, and each one may have a different motivation for seeing the bill passed (or not passed); likewise, scores of voters vote for those lawmakers, and all of them may vote for different reasons.

  • Brantley Gasaway

    Bill, I find it hard to believe that you personally know no politically progressive evangelical Christians with whom you could talk in person about this. Forgive me if this comes across as rude, but are your social and religious circles really that homogeneous? As one who studies the evangelical left, here is how politically progressive evangelicals might briefly response to your five issues:

    1. Pro-life means more than just anti-abortion (see Ron Sider’s numerous writings on this subject.) In addition, clearly not all evangelicals are convinced that fetal life is morally equal to post-natal life–a position that used to be even more widespread in evangelical circles (see Mark Galli’s recent writings on this at Christianity Today).

    2. The “biblical” definitions of family life are much more complex than you suggest (your fellow Patheos blogger Fred Clark, the Slactivist, is running a series on this). In addition, one can distinguish what the church insists upon in marriage (heterosexual covenants) and what a pluralistic state should allow.

    3. The compromise offered by the Obama administration is a fair one that walks a fine line between “religious freedom” and the rights of individuals who do not agree with the Catholic church’s positions on contraception (which, of course, includes most evangelicals). In addition, most progressive evangelicals support universal health care (as does the Catholic church, of course).

    4. The Bible calls for economic redistribution, and the state plays an appropriate role in that process. Yes, there are rights to private property–but the common good also requires forms of taxation and empowering the poor through economic redistribution (again, I would refer you to many of Ron Sider’s writings on the subject).

    5. Since your concern here was vague, a response might involve the belief that Obama better represented the poor and vulnerable in society, while Romney’s policies most benefited the wealthy.

    Of course, conservative evangelicals such as yourself are unpersuaded by these arguments–but they do represent conclusions based upon what politically progressive evangelicals regard as the best interpretations of the Bible. They would categorically reject that they are somehow acting as if the Bible is an “optional handbook.” I hope that you’ll read some of their literature and better understand the positions that a significant minority of your fellow evangelicals hold.

    • Brantley Gasaway

      I should clarify that I’m sympathetic to several but not all of these positions, but I am trying to offer a response to each one based upon my familiarity with the arguments of those associated with Evangelicals for Social Action (led by Ron Sider), Sojourners (led by Jim Wallis), Red-Letter Christians (led by Tony Campolo), and similar groups.

      • Thanks. But calling oneself evanagelical does not make one so. Not that I am all that concerned with that word. It’s Scripture that cncerns me. Thanks again.

    • Excellent Brantley. I appreciate your tone. No rudeness taken. I would disagree with, of course, on all points. But will process your and continue to try to understand the progressive Christian mind….

    • C.J.W

      But, the bible also does not say that we should approve of homosexual marriage and homosexual practice. Progressives, in general, believe such is ok. Therefore, Christians should not vote for democratic. On the Republican side, the politicians are generally concerned about keeping money in their own pockets and have push away social conservatives in favor of fiscal conservatism. Christians should not simply choose between the lesser of two evils, when they comprise the entirety of the biblical narrative. By the way, although Scripture does speak about the distribution of wealth, it does not set aside being responsible and good stewards of what you receive. Neither party acts to do both of these principles. So, why support a government that is not concerned with upholding scripture as a whole. I’m sorry, but Jesus did not say, “Vote for the lesser of two evils, because getting some of my teachings is better than none at all.”

    • Doug Sumerauer

      >>The Bible calls for economic redistribution
      Could you point me to where in the Bible this is called for? Seriously, I would like to investigate them. My first though was Matthew 19:21 “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” or Acts 2:45 “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”
      This is more voluntary charity than I consider government redistribution. I consider this type of charity to be the responsibility of the family or church (or local community), not the government.
      And this charity was for orphans and widows.

  • Part of the answer to your question is that many Christians live a dualistic worldview similar to the Gnostics. They relegate their spiritual life their faith but when it comes to living in this world, the Bible does not apply. Nancy Pearcey has written about this disconnect in her book “Total Truth.” We need to have another spiritual reawakening among the lay people since our clergy have become a part of the problem as many have adopted this worldview of platonic dualism.

    • Excellent, book, Hector. I have taught from it often. Thanks for the comment.

  • Are you being serious?
    I voted for the Christian. Mormonism is a cult, bro.

    • Thanks, bro. Jesus proposed a dillema to the disciples. One servant was given an instruction, said he wouldn’t obey, but then did it anyways. Another servant said he would obey, but then disobeyed. Jesus asked, which one was the better servant? The one who acted in accordance with the wishes of the master. Likewise, I am far less concerned with the words that come out of either candidates mouth than I am with their actions. Which one would have — or future candidates for that matter — acted in a way that would be most in line with Scripture?

      I do not agree with the tenets of Mormonism, but I would prefer an atheist who acts Biblical than a professing Christian who does not. Wouldn’t you? Hypothetical situation, of course.

      • Wow. So, hypothetically, you would have voted for David Duke over Obama, because, as you claim, actions judged by you to coincide with biblical teachings trump all else?


        • Umm, if I thought David Duke’s actions were remotely Biblical, maybe. But I don’t. Maybe he does…. But that’s the point. Scripture cannot support positions that are completely contradictory. too often we hide behind the excuses, “Well, it’s complicated.” Or “There are people who disagree.” Nearly an entitre empire disagreed with Wilberforce, etc.

    • Dan

      “Are you being serious? I voted for the Christian. Mormonism is a cult, bro.”
      I have heard this from so many Christians. Yet, many of these same people would have no problem voting for a Unitarian, or a Buddhist, or an agnostic, or some other faith that many consider to be neutral. The problem is, no matter who you vote for you are voting for someone with a faith, so unless that person specifically believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, and has placed their faith in the Lord God Jesus Christ, then you are voting for someone with a different faith, whether that faith is a cult, or false religion, or the religion of atheism, etc.
      You say you voted for a Christian, but Christ says you’ll know them by their fruits. Your “Christian” supports killing babies, covers religious symbols, approves of homosexuality, the overtaxing of people in order to give it to many who do not deserve to have it, has killed four people in Libya (if King David was guilty then so is Obama) by keeping indefensible people on the “front lines” so to speak when he knew things were stirring up, and when he sat their and watched – knowing it was terrorists attacking them. He says he is Christian, yet he behaves like an Islamic Socialist. In the meantime, your cultist, though mislead by the same enemy you, I and the rest of humanity has, lives a life much more consistent with the principles found in Scripture; not a perfect life by any means, but more closely than the other candidate. The question isn’t who claims to have faith. The question is whose life more closely reflects God’s principles? Who cares what comes out of their mouths if their lives tell a different story? It would be great to have a Biblical Christian in office, but when that is not an option, then we need to ask ourselves, which candidate will more closely support Biblical principles; and I think there is Biblical grounds for not voting for anyone who kills babies or approves of things that God calls abominations!
      Furthermore, yes the Bible says we need to help the poor and those who are less fortunate; but it also says if you won’t work then you won’t eat. The job of helping those who cannot help themselves, or who are in need of assistance is the responsibility of the people and the churches, not the government. Reagen provided tax cuts which put money back into the pockets of the people. It did a couple of things: one, it helped to create jobs, so much so that it generated something like $900 billion of brand new income for the government; something which, unfortunately was outweighed by the spending increases he had to agree to in order to get the Democrats to agree to the tax cuts. That plus the increased military spending needed to fight and end the USSR and thereby slow the cold war (yes, it only slowed the cold war – communism stills exists and the United States is losing the battle because we are becoming increasingly more socialistic, aka communistic – which, by the way, is antithetical to the Bible), is what ran up the deficit and why people blame Reagen for the deficit. If the Dems (and many Repubs!) wouldn’t insist on increasing spending, tax cuts pay for themselves because they generate more jobs and with more people paying taxes, there is more income to the State. And two, it increased the giving from the people to churches and charities around the world like never seen before from the people of the United States! And the people, the churches and charities do a much better job of helping those in need than the government.
      The principle in Scripture is for people to give to help others, not for anything to be taken from one to be given to another, especially another who won’t work even though he/she can!
      Considering all this, I don’t think your Christian is Christian and you and many others have been duped.

    • Linda

      To Johnny……A vote for Romney was not condoning Mormonism. Obama is clearly a Muslim and hates America! Very much worse. At least Romney is a very moral person. And would have been very good for America.

      • For the record, there is no evidence that Obama is a Muslim or that he hates America. We may disagree on what it means to be an American, but let’s keep the conversation civil even though we may be passionate.


        • Dan

          Have you read anything about Black Liberation Theology? politicalislam.com/blog/islam-and-black-liberation-theology/ you can add the 3Ws and the dot before the politicalislam

  • Rick Middleton

    Private Property — I’m not aware of any plan to confiscate personal property. Please provide a link if you have some evidence of Obama-as-Stalin. If you’re suggesting that a tax hike of 3.5% is the end of freedom as we know it, then I think you are being a ridiculous fear-monger.

    • Dan

      A tax hike of 3.5% to better help those who will not help themselves is definitely a confiscation of personal property. For someone else to decide they know better than you how to use your money to help others than you do and then take it from you for that purpose is to confiscate it.

      As to a tax hike of 3.5% being the end of freedom as we know it, it is the increase of the socialistic government in our country that is the end of freedom as we know it. The opposite of fear-mongering is to stick your head in the sand.

      • Edgar

        Even if the upper income rate goes up by 3.5%, it will still be significantly lower than it was during the Reagan administration, and half of what it was in the 1950s and 1960s. And that doesn’t even factor in the special rates in place for capital gains income. The average rate for the highest bracket was over 70% for the first 70 years of the income tax, including the wildly prosperous 50s and 60s. And lastly, when asked about taxes, Jesus did not refer to it as stealing, but instead confirmed it was a responsibility to be fulfilled. I see those who don’t wish to meet that Scripturally-confirmed obligation as the takers, wanting the benefits of our freedoms without paying the costs.

        • I agrre with in general principle. But at what point does taxation become theft? Would 100% be there? 90? Does it depend on the purpose?

          • When you don’t get to vote.

  • Linda Bolton

    Cannot really comment, only to say that we have the very same questions as you do! How in the world can “Christians” vote on so much that stands against the Word of God??????? How indeed!

    • Thanks, Linda. I think these comments might be revealing and helpful.

      Here’s hoping.

  • Andrew Lim

    As both an evangelical Christian and a supporter of Barack Obama, the religious and moral beliefs of a candidate are not the sole factors for voting a candidate. God is neither Republican or Democrat. I disgree with Mr Obama on various issues like abortion and homosexuality, but in terms of international relations he would have been the lesser evil compared to Mitt Romney. I have to admit I am not an American myself, I live in New Zealand but I take a keen interest in American politics and current affairs. While Mr Romney wants to sole engage the world on America’s terms (unilateralism) while Mr Obama is willing to work with other countries as equal partners (multilateralism).

    I appreciate that the US remains a force of stability in many parts of the world but many people outside America still associate the Republican Party with an aggressive foreign policy and the Iraq War. With Romney, we would be seeing more tensions with Russia and China, and even a war with Iran. The Islamist regime in Tehran with its illegal nuclear programme and anti-Israel rhetoric is a threat to Middle Eastern stability but resorting arms would only strengthen the resistance of the Islamists in power. Matthew 5:9 says “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” I accept that Israel has a special place in Bible prophecy and that its the historical home for the Jews. But does that justify turning a blind eye to some of the injustics that go on there like the Palestinian issue?

    Thus, the main reason why the GOP lost was that the Democrats were able to exploit the strong sense of anti-GOP sentiment within sections of American society and the world. Elements of the Republicans resorting to cheap tactics like the ‘birther issue’ and the ‘closet Muslim’ conspiracy theory also did not help. While Obama has not lived up to many of his promises and expectations, he has made some progress like the arms talks with Russia and the assassination of Osama bin Laden. People outside America have a better perception of Obama since a significant number still see him as the first Black President in American history. Sadly, America has become a divided society since the 1960s counter-cultural movements and the Vietnam War.
    Our rightful concern for moral and Biblical concerns should not lead us to ignore other issues like the environment, social inequality, crime, high incarceration rates, rehabilitation, and climate change.

    • Thanks, Andrew. I was just over your direction (Guam) last week. We should have had coffee next time:). ( I know, it’s not exactly around the corner)

      I disgaree on the animosity toward the GOP. Clearly based on the uproar in the Middle East, they’re not fans of Obama either. But that’s not my focus.

      From what you are saying, foreign policy perceptions should trump life and marriage? The Bible also says to rescue those being led to death and defend the innocent.

      I do not believe, as many modern evangelicals do, that the nation of Israel has special place in Biblical prophecy, but they are a key democratic friend, one whom Obama has intentionally alienated.

      I am not suggesting ignoring other issues, there are Biblicla solutions for all of them. My question is one of priorites. Why shouldn’t the issues I raised come first?

      • Can reasonable minds differ on which Biblical values are given priority?

        • Of course. On some we can make clearer Biblical arguments than others. And where we fundamentally disagree, we can’t both be right.

          • I am skeptical that the Bible is always going to give clear direction on how to prioritize competing values.

  • Sus

    1. Life – I’m pro-life for all. I worry for the people that have been born, just as I do the unborn. Health care goes a long way to ensure a better Life for all.

    2. Marriage – I think every US citizen should have the same rights. Someone’s sex life is a very small portion of their life. Gay marriage is not going to do anything to traditional marriage. Traditional marriage has all its own problems that have nothing to do with the gays. Who are we to judge when the divorce rate is 50% in traditional marriage. Perhaps we might even learn something.

    3. Religious Freedom – I agree that the HHS Mandate tramples religious rights. However, it isn’t a done deal. There is an exemption now and I believe there can be a compromise to please all.

    4. Private Property – Not on my radar as it was crazypants talk. Here’s a good explanation of what the President said about redistribution in 1998 that has been picked up like he wants to take our homes and give them to the poor. ““Fourteen years ago, then-Senator Obama was making an argument for a more efficient, more effective government — specifically citing city government agencies that he didn’t think were working effectively,” LaBolt said. ” He believed then, and believes now, that there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard. Unlike Governor Romney, he doesn’t believe that if you’re a student who applies for a loan you’re looking for a handout.””


    5. Leadership – Our President’s domestic policy includes every one, not just the highest tax bracket people. His foreign policy has resulted in top terrorists deaths. Our President has had huge challenges with the economy. I believe our President is willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response. I disagree on most, but I am curious as to where exactly Obama has shown a tendancy to admit to mistakes. Could you name three examples? Or one? One thing that does concern me about his leadership is that have not seen a humility to admit mistakes. Instead I see a hubris that I think dangerous in any leader.

      By the way, it has become clear now that Romney failed last Tuesday as his get out the vote efforts fell apart. Obama’s team out strategerized Romney’s team. A surprise to me, I confess.

      • Sus

        This article by Jeff Greenfield details where Obama has admitted his mistakes http://news.yahoo.com/political-confessions–a-mistake-to-admit-mistakes-.html

        “The mistake of my first term—couple of years—was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

        “The one thing that has frustrated me the most over the past four years … is I’ve not been able to change the atmosphere in Washington.” He went on: “I think there’s no doubt that I underestimated the degree to which, in this town, politics trumps problem solving … my expectation was that we would see more cooperation.”

        • Thanks Sus, but no specific mistakes he has made. Just words… Still searching….

  • bswi

    Life: Important, yes. But you can’t talk about abortion without talking about some other things in society. Poverty cycles, access to healthcare, social support systems, etc. are critically important to those mothers. But the GOP platform basically forces women to have their children, and then takes away any support system to allow them to live. If they take time off of work to have a child, then they become freeloaders too (part of that “47%”) and have to rely on safety nets to provide at all.
    I don’t think anyone in the world is happy when the number of abortions go up. Addressing the issue holistically means that you approach it from many different fields. This can provide some counterintuitive data points, for example, fewer abortions per year under Obama’s 4 years than under the previous 4 years of Bush. While this necessarily forfeits the moral high ground, it is pragmatic and produces more actual results. In addition, repealing Roe v Wade (which won’t ever happen) would only eliminate a federal mandate, giving power to individual states to decide for themselves. This wouldn’t really accomplish as much as conservatives think. Romney has pandered to whatever persuasion he is speaking to, and certainly has no pro-life record to stand on himself.
    Finally, on this topic, being pro-life isn’t just about abortion, but also about the death penalty, defense spending/war-hawks, and foreign policies that doesn’t respect the lives of those born in other countries. Christians who claim to be citizens of a spiritual kingdom with no visible lines (Gal 3:28) certainly do play favorites when it comes to arbitrary geopolitical lines. If we are truly Christians first, human beings second, and Americans third, we have to reorganize our priorities to serve those three in proper order. Evangelicals sometimes have those mixed up in “American Christians”, which sounds hauntingly like the German Christian church that was in Hitler’s corner in the 30’s.

    Marriage: Let’s do a little reading here—‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.’ (Ezekiel 16:49) To me, that sounds like Sodom had a lot more problems than just their lack of tolerance or the desires of a few men.
    I happen to completely agree with John Evans comment #1, the things being debated have to do with legal rights. A same-sex partner currently doesn’t get widow(er)’s benefits, tax breaks, or visitation rights in the hospital. It has absolutely nothing to do with what the church ordains as holy. If your particular congregation doesn’t condone gay marriage, don’t allow a ceremony in your church. You have that right. It is private property.
    Besides, “biblical definitions of marriage” aren’t quite as obvious as you would think. Polygamy? Adultery? Incest? Pedophilia? Arranged marriages/selling your daughters? These could all be drawn out of stories in the Bible that are not directly rebuked.

    Religious Freedom: If you are only concerned about YOUR religious freedom, you don’t really believe in religious freedom. If you stand by the freedom of religion given to those of religions you don’t agree with, then do you really believe in people’s rights and freedoms or are you just concerned about making sure you can do whatever YOU want? When moderate muslims wanted to build a community center (open to all faith traditions) and a mosque in Manhattan, several blocks away from ground zero, what was your response? Were you supportive of their freedom to express their religion or were you one of many voices who were indignant about their proposal?
    All in all, I think there are a lot bigger things that could be worried about than whether or not your tax dollars go to fund contraceptives. I don’t really like my tax dollars funding the military-industrial complex, bailing out wall-street elites, an unnecessary war in Iraq, or funding a government agency that refuses to utilize technology to improve efficiency. How much of that is part of the total package, “giving unto Caesar…”? I don’t have all the answers, but I think comparing the mandatory funding of something you don’t agree with with being thrown in a gulag or tortured for your beliefs is a little hysterical, and more than anything shows a lack of a bigger perspective.

    Private Property: While I won’t repeat recommendations of Ron Sider, I will affirm the need for a study on the way the OT spoke about government involvement in personal property. Ideas like Jubilee speak to me about the way God ordered society and administrative involvement in it.
    I’m certainly not arguing for the abolition of private property, but in the case you are talking I would like to address just a couple of things. When arguing “You shall not steal” it needs to be examined, who stole first? When the wealth gap is increasing rapidly, you are saying that this is God’s perfect distribution? When people have lavish lifestyles that waste more resources than twenty people need to survive, and people just down the street are starving to death, living in cardboard boxes and dying from easily curable diseases, you think that exemplifies God’s standard?? Maybe we don’t read the same Bible. Mine mentions how we are to interact with the poor a lot more than how many times we are to defend the rich and powerful. There is a tension between God’s ideal and the brokenness of humanity that we need to explore as a church, but it can’t start until evangelical Christianity gets un-intertwined with Ayn Rand’s capitalistic hedonism.

    Leadership: For me, it comes down to who each candidate appeared to care about. I’m not sure where you can find biblical support for a vision that is top down, as Romney’s appeared to be. Obama (whether he actually is or not is a different question) appeared to be more concerned about the middle class, the weak, powerless, and impoverished. He had a foreign policy that treated people from other countries as people instead of subjects and tempered the American exceptionalism that permeates American Christianity and engulfs Mormonism (and enrages non-US-citizens).
    You really present no evidence about how Romney was the better choice here. How did you see Obama and Romney’s leadership in any sort of objective way (“objective” meaning outside of their policy platforms), other than claiming biblical superiority sans evidence?

    • John Evans

      Bswi I love you. That was very well written and more clearly expressed ideas I had but was unable to parse into text.

  • Robin Ewers

    Hi, I agree with you. I think you should read something i read last week that provided sound biblical insight on voting period. Here is the site. rcg.org/books/scv.html
    I don’t beleive many people are what they say they are.

  • Kathryn

    My vote was based in Scripture and I cannot fathom why Christians voted for Romney.
    Read Deut 17:15 and I John 1:10-11.
    Some say Obama isn’t really a Christian as he professes (read Philippians 1:18).
    If God is to be believed, He will heal our land when His people humble themselves and pray and turn from their own wicked ways, now when we elect an enemy of the gospel of Jesus Christ as our President.
    I John 1:11 says if we encourage a heretic we are partakers in their evil (Do we want to bestow a position of utmost honor and visibility that will serve in the furtherance of a false gospel that will lead untold millions into eternal damnation?)

  • Jesse

    Any so called Christian that would vote for Obama should check to see if there in the faith I can’t judge but they don’t know the same Jesus I do you don’t support killing a baby nor same sex marriage plus the man would lie all the time . Obama is one evil man and has no right to the highest office in the usa

  • Mary

    Honestly, both candidates are horrible. I can’t understand why Christians would vote for Romney, either. I actually didn’t vote for either of them. I couldn’t. Too many of us were tricked into believing that he is Pro Life, but what he really is, is Pro saying whatever he can say to get himself into office! Obama as well. I’m so tired of reading this kind of crap from people who call themselves Christians and pretending like Obama is some sort of Anti Christ in disguise. Since we survived four years with him already, i’m sure we will survive another and if we don’t then at least we know Jesus will be coming soon!! and that’s a wonderful thought!

    Here’s a video that shows Romney’s true stance on abortion.. the main reason so many Christians voted for him. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_conversion/2012/02/mitt_romney_s_abortion_record_flip_flop_or_conversion_.html

  • Florence Itodo

    I believe a true christian is assured that God is ever present to fight any battle for his people.
    God allowed the tower of Babylon to be built to a promising extent before he showed his supremacy.
    Politics and religion are antagonistic to each other. The devil is now using politics to tempt Christians and it will fall like the tower of Babylon.
    I doubt if any Christian voted Obama because he is in support of the Gay propaganda. I feel that some, their choice was based on the issue of rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer; racism; past record and other things.
    Christian leaders should be firm in their believe and propagate the christian faith. Government cannot force a church to wed or accept as members, people against the church doctrine. If that happens, stepping on religious doctrine, it means no freedom of religion.
    In this battle, no real christian should put hands crossed. Christians need to pray more fervently; present the case to God who knows all our problems but still say in the book of Matthew, ask, seek, and knock.
    If God is with Christians, no power will outweigh them. They only need to ask in prayer, be good and be patient with God.
    I am not much perturbed, for God has promised that he will be there with me at all time. He fights my battle and victory has been the end story.
    Don’t be deceived, some of those commenting camouflage; they can be pseudo-christians.
    Stand firm in what you believe, you will never be left alone, God is with you till the end of time. Remember, when it became worst, God decided to save the only righteous man of the time, Lot, even the wife was not spared.
    Remain blessed in the Lord.

    • Florence, there is some wisdom in what you shared although I would not agree with the wall you erected between faith and public life. Thanks.

  • Lynn

    Wow, to all the comments by “Christians” to each other. Like Ghandi said, I would love to be a Christian, but for the Christians and how they behave toward one another. (I am paraphrasing) I think there are very few true conservatives in our country today, some might say a “small remnant”, the same number as true Believers in Christ. People say they are Christians, but when asked don’t even believe He is the only divine Risen Son of God. What is a Christian then? And if life does not begin at conception, when??? You can hear a heartbeat at 3 weeks, just cells? If not a human, what? How can anyone really believing they are a believer in Jesus voting for someone who is pro abortion, and feels like we all have to pay for them. We all have free will, God gave us that, so if you want to kill your babies, you will have to stand before Almighty God, but I don’t want to be party to it by paying for it. I would rather vote for a Mormon who tells the truth, than a Christian who doesn’t. If you don’t believe you could vote for a Mormon, how could you believe you could vote for someone who doesn’t live their Christian faith? As a believer in JC, you either live Biblically, or you live in the world. We are to be set apart. We are to act in the world, but not OF this world. Our true citizenship is in the heavenlies. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”Phil 3:20 So often today, Christians want to dabble in things of this world, but then cry to God when things don’t go so well. Jesus said you are either with me or against me. He also said to some lukewarm, Get away from me, I never knew you. I am so afraid that many Christians today will be surprised when they meet Him, and He will say I never knew you, not well done good and faithful servant. As Christians, we can’t be faint of heart and follow the world, we must follow the Word even though it might be contrary to our yearnings for the things of the world. We have to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and we are commanded to pray for those in government, but do I have to like it? 🙂 Look up for our redemption is at hand. We are children of the day, so we should not be caught unawares. I believe there is very little true discernment in the world today. Pray for our President to receive Godly wisdom and gift of discernment. Also, Pray for the peace of Israel as we are also commanded to do. Thank you, Bill for your post!

  • Linda

    Bill, Totally agree with you on all points! This election has left me very angry at Christians. Apparently we have a lot of people in this country who call themselves Christian and have no idea of what that means. For years now, I’ve been wondering how someone who calls themself a Christian can vote Democrat based solely on what the Democrat party platform is….supporting abortion and now this year at their convention they were so blasphemous as to declare they don’t want God in their party at all! That should be a loud enough wake-up call to not side with that party at all!!! Jesus said: “You call me Lord, Lord but you don’t do what I tell you. I don’t even know you.” If people don’t get their heart right with God and take His Word seriously in every aspect of daily life, many won’t even be recognized by the Father. We have been so blessed by God to have such a land of freedom and all of our needs met so exceedingly abundantly. But so many can’t even vote in line with Biblical values! When God led Isreal into the Promised Land, He said I’m giving you a land flowing with milk and honey and He did. But the Israelites had to fight and conquer the evil that was there and what they had to do was not pretty but they did it. Now today, in America, a Christian can’t even discern the correct way to vote?!!! Those who voted for Democrats are in deep trouble and they will answer for it someday.

    • But I could ask, how can a Christian vote for Romney in light of his open hostility towards the poor? Jesus was crystal clear about that.

      • And I could ask you for evidence of his “open hostility to the poor.”

        • “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. . . . These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.”

  • Cheryl

    I appreciate your perspective in your column, Mr. Blankschaen, and have wondered the same things myself. I even have relatives who claim to be Christians who support gay marriage and voted for Obama. Also fellow church members, because they happen to have a child who is homosexual, decided that we all must be tolerant of their “lifestyle”, and I presume they voted for Obama. Even a young woman who is a very popular Morman blogger wrote a post describing why she chose to vote for Obama.
    It is so disheartening that, as you pointed out, so many Christians do not believe the Bible to be the true, but just a bunch of suggestions that we can take or leave. I fear for our nation, for our children and grandchildren’s future. And I know people will call me crazy for this, but now I am seriously wondering if Obama is the Antichrist, since in spite of his horrible record as president, he charmed and fooled millions of “sheeple” into voting him in for a second term.

    • Cheryl, Thanks for the comment and, yes, many will think you crazy for calling Obama the Anti-Christ. I won’t call you crazy, but I will disagree. Let’s not go there. I guess it helps to be one of those rare evangelicals who don’t subscribe to Tim Lahaye’s modern version of eschatology.

  • Marie

    I had a very difficult time at first with the out come of this election. It is difficult to understand why some christians voter for Mr. O. I did my best to get the truth out about Obama, but some just wouldn’t believe. For those who are dedicated christians, some were hung up on the fact that Mitt was is a Morman and many christians concider this a cult. I have always been taught and believe that it is as well. They have a simularity to christianity, but they are not christians. So why would I vote for Romney, it’s simple, Obama is so far removed with his beliefs and policies. Taking a life is not exceptable and neither is the marriage of the same sex. I have one of my sons living in this life style. I love him more then any thing, but I hate this sin. Romney lives what he believes his faith teaches and his character closly resembles that of a christian. Obama surrounds himself with questionable shaddy people. Christians are to be in the world, but not of it. I believe Obama to be Muslin by his actions and associations. A friend of mine voted for him because she is convinced Mitt is in a cult and it would be wrong to put him in power. She is not infavor of abortion or same sex marriage, but felt it was worse being a morman. I still can’t wrap my mind around that thinking. Some were so hung up on Mitts money and womens rights. Obama did a good job making Romney look bad to many in those areas. I don’t agree with your breakdown. Mostly because people concider themselves to be christians because they believe in God, but not nessessarly serve him.

    • Hmmm… Don’t agree with all your logic or conclusions, but thanks for the comment.

  • Craig
  • Christine Blair

    God knows who are His and who are not. If we profess to be true believers then we must live as believers in every area of our life. That means the Lord should be our ulltimate autority in the decisions we make in life especially something as important as choosing the President. This nation began on biblical principles according to our forefathers it began on faith and morality..A little known about monument stands in Plymouth Mass and to me it is the true statue of liberty. It is called the forefathers monument and it depicts the blueprint of our freedom and liberty. Faith and morality married together gives us freedom from tyranny. Without those two buillding blocks we find ourselves enslaved under tyranny. America is about to learn this lesson the hard way. True believers will vote for righteousness and they are the ones who honor God’s standards. God is of the Author of life therefore we have no right to take the life of the unborn life that He has decreed to be. God ordained marriage between a man and woman to procreate be fruitful and multitply. Two men or two women could not have obeyed that command. God ordained the traditional family. If we obey the Lord and choose righteousness we would as a nation be blessed. The true believer does not just profess Christ with our mouths but we possess His life within our beings. We live and move and have our being in Him. We strive to be like Him and think like Him and know His heart. We intimately belong to Him so we would not want to hurt Him because we love Him and He died for us and we cannot take thst love and sacrifice for granted or should not. Jesus says you profess with your mouth but your hearts are far from Me. That is the difference between a true believer and possesser of Life eternal and a professing believer who lives his life in the flesh and thinks not with the spirit that lives within but with his own intellect and logic. This kind of believer has no real consept of what salvation is and will be very disappoinnted when He does not hear the Lord’s call to come home. That day is fast approaching infact I think the Lord is at the door knocking.
    God gave a very clear choice righteousness or evil..This was our last chance and we chose evil a 2nd time. If we would have chosen righteousness God would have kept the torch of liberty lit and given more us grace but now the torch will be put out and judgement will come. Those who chose OB will soon be betrayed and they will mour their choice.

    • Thanks! Let’s be sure we live out our faith by speaking thetruth in LOVE though we may disagree vehemently with other believers.

  • Lynn

    Hi Bill, thank you for posing these questions, which have perplexed millions of us post-election. The conclusion that I’ve unfortunately reached reading these comments and just generally processing the outcome of the election is that people’s faith, no matter their specific religion, is now defined by their politics. It used to be the other way around. That’s lead to secular humanism, moral relativism, and quite frankly, shameful apathy. Everyone’s suddenly got different “truths,” and the tolerance mantra has eroded our ability to unequivocally denounce sin and evil. I pray that one day we won’t even need to have to ask these questions anymore because , we’ll all be living according to the Lord’s Word, which does not require a human reinterpretation according to current trends. I’m sure a lot of people will see this as overly simplistic and naive, but you know what? I don’t think it’s the Lord that complicates things, I think it’s us.

    • You are welcome. I think the shift in worldview to secualr humanism happened befroe the politics, but it clearly has shifted how we think as a culture. Lest we forget Ezekiel’s prophecy that the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

  • Kevin

    I too am disappointed with the outcome of the election. Regarding “Life” science says we are human at our conception. Once the egg is fertilized all the DNA is there. It will be a human being. As to the viability argument even after birth a baby cannot take care of itself for several years. This issue is too much for some to bear as it comes down to who we are as a nation. What is our respect for human life? As Christians, do we see the face of Christ in each person we come in contact with. We are going to be judged not on which denomination we belong to but on how we loved. What you did to the least of these you did to me Jesus tells us. Do we ask ourselves this if we favor abortion, war, capital punishment, euthanasia, oppressive economic policies? Neither of our political parties can pass this test.

    • John Evans

      Only that’s not true, Kevin, in a meaningful sense. Yes, a fertilized zygote has unique human DNA. So does a cancer. And a fertilized egg is in no way guaranteed to become a human being. Something like half of fertilized eggs fail to implant, and a significant portion of those that do self-abort.

      If you truly believe that all fertilized eggs are people, where is the massive funding towards preventing those failed fertilizations?

      Moreover, even if it were true, the mother still has right to bodily autonomy. No more than I can force you to donate a kidney or blood to someone who will die without it can I force a mother to maintain a pregnancy she does not want.

      • John,

        I appreciate your investing time to comment, even when we obviously disagree about many things.

        Could you explain what you mean by a “right to bodily autonomy?” At what point do YOU think that an unborn child acquires the same “right to bodily autonomy?”

        • John

          Right to bodily autonomy is the right a person has to determine the disposition of their own body. That is, people own their own body and get to make decisions regarding it. My eyeballs are mine, and other people do not get to make decisions about what happens to them.

          As for when an unborn child acquires the right to bodily autonomy, it gains it when it becomes a person. I would say that for sure, personhood begins at some point after the cerebral cortex develops, as that is the seat of identity in the brain. Now, even after that point, the foetus’ bodily autonomy does not trump the mother’s, for the same reason stated above. The mother can’t legally be required to donate part of her body to another person, even if not doing so would mean the other person would die. The mother has the right to end her pregnancy at any point she wants to. Now, after a certain point in foetal development, ending the pregnancy would be better accomplished by either inducing labour or performing a cesarean section and transferring the premature infant to an incubator to continue to develop, certainly. But before then, especially before the cerebral cortex and anything conceivably resembling a sense of self could exists, this shouldn’t even be a discussion.

          “It can feel pain.” is not a good argument. We kill things that feel pain all the time. Depending on your definition of ‘feel pain’, that includes plants. “It has a heart beat.” is a similarly meaningless argument, as few people bat an eyelash at crushing grasshoppers or mice. “It has human DNA.” is not a good argument, as – apart from cancers – your body destroys millions of its own cells every day.

          The question is “Is it a person.” And something with no brain can’t be a person. Ancephalic babies are used for organ donation all the time, and I don’t hear you complaining about that.

          As for “It could be a person.” or a variation of that – so what? In no other part of society do we count a potential thing as a thing. Six-year-olds don’t get to drink or vote because they’re ‘potential adults’. New graduates from business school do not get seven-figure salaries because they’re ‘potential CEOs’. Seedlings do not sell for the same price as full grown trees at nurseries. Bauxite does not sell for the same price per ton as a Mercedes-Benz. It’s not a person now, so you’re not killing a person now.

  • Ak Whitworth

    If God is in control of individuals why does He say we should choose Him (or an alternate) as Lord? Why doesnt He make us tithe? Why do believers who say “God is in control” lock their doors?

  • I asked a Christian brother why he was voting for O. My question was, “How can you support a party that leaves God out of their platform and then when it gets published they add Him , the change gets booed.” His comment was that he votes for the person, not the platform. Oh, also “MR was not a Christian. Mormons are not Christians. “

    • Thanks for the comment, Jim. I would argue that the candidate decides the platform. But are you sure that one cannot be part of the Mormon church and be a true follower of Christ? Certainly, one can be a member of evangelical Christianity and not be. Jesus said himself that there will be many — many — in that day who will claim to have followed him faithfully. Yet he never knew them.

  • Rick Middleton

    More from The Atlantic:

    In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism, tax cuts are the only way to raise revenue, adding neoconservatives to a foreign-policy team reassures American voters, Benghazi was a winning campaign issue, Clint Eastwood’s convention speech was a brilliant triumph, and Obama’s America is a place where black kids can beat up white kids with impunity. Most conservative pundits know better than this nonsense — not that they speak up against it. They see criticizing their own side as a sign of disloyalty. I see a coalition that has lost all perspective, partly because there’s no cost to broadcasting or publishing inane bullshit. In fact, it’s often very profitable. A lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption.

    On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media. And movement conservatives, who believe the MSM is more biased and less rigorous than their alternatives, have no way to explain how their trusted outlets got it wrong, while the New York Times got it right. Hint: The Times hired the most rigorous forecaster it could find.

    It ought to be an eye-opening moment.

    But I expect that it’ll be quickly forgotten, that none of the conservatives who touted a polling conspiracy will be discredited, and that the right will continue to operate at an information disadvantage. After all, it’s not like they’ll trust the analysis of a non-conservative like me more than the numerous fellow conservatives who constantly tell them things that turn out not to be true.


    And yet these people voted for a non Christian Mormon. The Mormon view of Christ is not consistent at all with what it takes to be a Christian. Rather their view of Christ and of Mother Mary is about the same as it is in Islam.

    Obama says he is a Christian and there is no proff otherwise. Just as there are Christian who seem to prefer the God of the Old Testament who was judgmental and vindictive, there are Christians who take the word of Christ and believe in a loving and forgiving God. Many on the Christian right need to decide if they are really Christians as Christ intended or if they are Jewish Christians who cherry pick the New Testament. Christians who are more comfortable with the miracles and less with following his teachings.

  • Al

    All I can say is that those who voted for obama and called them selves christians are hypocrites because you can’t serve two masters God and Satan. A vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behavior (Abortion, same sex marriage, homosexuality, contraception, cohabitation, etc…) that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your soul in serious jeopardy.

    • Td Thomas

      Get over yourself! Judge not lest ye be judged!

      • I guess I should say the same to you? Judge not my opinions lest your opinions be judged? Where does that leave us but in a world completely antithetical to the one Christ preached and created.

  • Rodney Vermillion

    Who cares? If you truly are a “born again” evangelical Christian who follows the bible to a “T” Jesus didn’t run around worried about politics of the day. Perhaps if Christians would worry and focus more on the love that Jesus taught rather than acting like Pharisees and Saduces perhaps you would be more respected and could actually win people to Christ that are from this nation? Simply put, your article, written 2,000 years ago would go something like, who is this Jesus guy and why is he mingling with prostitutes and tax collectors and evil doers? Why is he dining with them? I just don’t get it. You’re right you don’t get it and it’s pretty plain to see why you don’t. I could go on and on and tackle each rhetorical point but it is futile and pointless. Except for the first paragraph or so. God is in control yet he expects us to make all decisions etc? Which is it? Sex slave industry? Check, god is in control. Famine? Check, god is in control. Oppression of the weak? Check god is in control. Poverty? Check god is in control. Rape, genocide, innocent children being mammed and killed? Check god is in control. Sure am glad we have this awesome god looking out for us.

    • What is love?

      • Jeremy

        Answer my question man. Don’t be an intellectual coward.

    • Dan

      There’s no question there’s evil in the world. The question is where would we ALL be if it weren’t for His mercy? (Clue: it’s really really dark and the most extreme unending unbearable loneliness [most probably because we are created to have fellowship with God and we chose for ourselves to go against the very reason we are made]; it’s really really really HOT, and there’s no chance to quench the most unimaginably awful thirst -[I suspect the thirst for God since He is the only Water that ever really quenches fully]). However, because of His mercy, we’re not there. We’re here, where, for whatever His reasons are, He allows us the freedom to exploit our sinful natures against ourselves, each other, and let’s not forget against Him! Yes, we’re here, because if He extend us this mercy, we’d be there. And there there’s no chance for rescue. But because of His mercy we are here, where we have a chance to not go there – if we choose to humble ourselves and believe what He tells us about our conditions, about Himself, and about what He had to do to make it so we don’t have to go there, and to give up our struggle and allow Him to save us His way.

      • Dan

        I must clarify what I meant by “thirst for God.” I don’t mean we’d be seeking God. If we were physically in Hell, sadly as so many of us one day will be, we’d have a thirst that is only quenchable by God because that is why we were made; but, we could never have that thirst quenched because God’s mercy is not to be found in Hell. We better get it right now, because it’s a pretty horrendous thing if we get it wrong!

        Some of us would say that talk about Hell is negative, mean spirited, and hateful. I suppose it could be. Then again, for others of us, the reality of Hell is exactly what we need to be shown in order for us to realize how much we DON’T want to go there! That being so, the case could be made that it is selfish, mean spirited, and hateful to keep others from hearing about how awful Hell really will be.

  • Nancy Benton

    Awesome!!! I wish to understand it too!!! I was called radical because I voiced my opinion by saying I could not support anyone who supported murder (abortion) or gay marriage and I said it was because Gods word is true and I will not compromise, so if that’s the case then I am proud to be radical ! God bless America!!’

    • Do you also oppose drone strikes, war and capital punishment? The president actually has some say over those (as opposed to abortions). And a large percentage of the people killed in war and by drone strikes carry no more guilt for their death than an unborn child does for theirs. So if the standard is who is for or against murder, and the reality is that the president has no power over abortion law, then it would seem that voting for an anti-war candidate would be your only option. Is it the one you took?

  • Joe Finney

    I believe that it is our duty to vote. As a Christian we must vote in accordance to God’s will. We only have two viable parties to choose from, since the other parties are almost irrelevant. We had a dilemma before us, the Democrats were against God before they were for Him. The Republicans had a moral man who was a member of a cult. The President wants to transform America and we had four years to see what he was planning. Mr. Romney displayed a genuine love and concern for America. As a Christian we have to vote on morals, principals and for our Country. God placed me in this Great Nation and my love of Country and the morals displayed by Mr. Romney, I could only vote for him. We cannot wait till the perfect candidate is placed on the ticket to vote. We have a responsibility to keep our freedoms. To not have voted was a vote. To vote for more restrictions on our freedom is wrong. One day, while you wait, we could very well lose the right to vote. God will not hold us guiltless with this responsibility He has bestowed upon us.

  • Sylvia Graham

    As a Catholic, I agree that the number of Catholics who voted democrat is disgraceful and worrisome. If one follows the Church, there is no way they can justify this! I am ashamed of these voters, and do not like my religion being associated with such people.

    • Rick

      The Catholic bishops said Paul Ryan’s budget, which featured sharp cuts for social services, was anti-Christian, so you do realize that the Church is not exactly on-board with either party, don’t you? The official Catholic position is that a society unwilling to care for its poor, hungry and disenfranchised is unjust; the small government, let-the-free-market-take-care-of-everything Catholics are as out of touch with their own leaders as the pro-choice Catholics.

  • Char

    What a wonderful outpouring of opinions and exercise in psychotherapy. One of the things I love most about the United States is the many opportunities we have to vent and have constructive conversation. It is a very healthy activity. I am a Catholic who voted for President Obama. I have read the comments already made pro and con about President Obama. Regarding the con comments about President Obama, and especially the emotional comments, from my sincere perspective I could substitute the name President Bush or Mitt Romney in most of them. I do not expect that perspective to influence the critics to change their minds, just as they cannot change mine. I can offer that the religious voters have common beliefs and goals no matter which candidate they voted for but choose different paths to get there.
    For decades I have heard or read the same scripture passages cited to validate a point of view and usually the passage itself is not in dispute. The dispute arises when, depending on one’s political perspective, whose responsibility it is to ensure the country adheres to the passage. What I perceive from the Obama critics is that the morality of money is personal and not to be touched, but all other moral issues are the responsibility of government. And that’s the difference. It is in the government’s domain to manage the economy and the assets of this country in the spirit and principles of the constitution. It is the responsibility of religious leaders to influence personal morality on the personal level and educate the population on the teachings of the Bible.
    It is the responsibility of religious leaders to determine the underlying reasons why abortion is chosen as an option, find and implement ways to overcome those reasons and present the clear choice why not to have the procedure. Changing the law will not eliminate abortion. The illegal abortion industry will be alive and fully functioning.
    Neither President Obama, President Bush (1 & 2) or President Reagan, ever did or ever will have the occasion to personally consider having an abortion. These men did and do have the personal ability to influence and determine whether a person is executed by capital punishment or if thousands are killed by war. We all have the ability and the responsibility to pray for our leaders and for their enlightenment when faced with tough decisions. Let’s also pray for our religious leaders and pray for ourselves to search out real solutions to end abortion. Finally, may we pray for the women making a decision concerning abortion that for whatever reason it is being considered that a better reason is manifested to reject the procedure.

  • 1. Life: Republicans are no more committed to doing anything about Roe v Wade than Democrats. I at least give Democrats credit for being honest about it. Besides. abortion is a massive social problem and laws can’t fix that.

    2. Marriage: Again, the Republicans aren’t going to do anything about this issue. At some point we’re forcing people to live according to Christian norms that they don’t accept. We need to get over the idea that the way of Christ and the use of power are compatible. The way of Christ is service, submission, even allowing our enemies to profit from us (“lend to your enemies without expecting to be repaid” was what Jesus said). When we decide that some issues are so important that we need to go to battle over them rather than taking the path which Jesus laid out for us – the one that means being willing to lose – we are being faithless.

    3. Religious Freedom – First of all, see #2 above. There’s a way to stand up for Christ and it isn’t to go to battle and demand that our rights be protected. If we won’t follow the way of Christ, then we have no faith that God knew what he was talking about when he told us how to respond to persecution. Secondly, this issue is being way overblown. It’s a bit like a vegan with a company demanding that their employees not use their paychecks to buy any animal products. If you’re a vegan with employees, then the money your company makes will be used to buy animal products. Get over it or only hire people who are also committed vegans.

    4. Private Property: The idea that private property is one of God’s concerns flies in the face of the testament of scriptures. I could go all Old Testament on you (don’t harvest your fields to the edges or go back to pick up what gets dropped in the harvest – leave it for the poor, is one example). But let’s look at taxation. People went to Jesus and asked if they should be paying taxes. Jewish taxes didn’t go towards services for themselves and their neighbors. By paying taxes they were actually footing the bill for their own oppression. Those soldiers who crucified Jesus? Paid for with Jewish tax dollars. And many of the taxes were confiscatory – Rome took up to 80% of income at times. But Jesus responded to this question of taxes by pointing to the name on coins: “Give unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s. Give to God what is God’s.” Despite the blasphemous “In God We Trust” on your money – the owner of money is clearly identified: Federal Reserve of the United States of America. Give unto the Fed what is the Fed’s. At least our taxes sometimes help keep people from starving or living on the streets.

    5. Leadership: I will admit that I voted for Obama this time. (I didn’t last time.) And this was the deciding factor for me. I have become very alarmed at the behavior of Republicans over the last several years. From where I’m sitting, they have shown a shocking willingness to do whatever it takes to gain power. They have treated a lawfully elected President as illegitimate. They have openly announced that they would do whatever it took to “make him a 1 term president” rather than act as loyal opposition who put the needs of our country before their own desire for power. All of this was done under the belief that it was for a higher good – getting the “right” people into office. But the means they have used and the sewer level they were willing to go to showed me that the character of the Republican establishment was incompatible with good leadership.

    So, you asked – I answered. That’s why a Christian with a very high view of scripture would vote for Obama. You may disagree with my analysis, but I hope you are at least able to understand that my vote is very compatible with a deep commitment to the Christian Way as taught by Jesus. Of course what Jesus taught is wildly different from how Christianity is too often practiced and understood here in America. But that’s a whole other discussion for another day.

    • DougS

      Odd how you would applaud the Democrats for their honesty on abortion, but not the Republicans for wanting the President from the other party to be one term. That is just politics. Another example is from the 88-92, when the Democrats did whatever they could to make Bush Sr break his “No new taxes pledge” just so it could be used against him in the next election to make him a one term President.

      BTW, I agree with you that abortion cannot be fixed by laws. In my view it’s a moral problem that needs to be fixed with a change of heart from the individual.

      • Agreed. Abortion is a reflection of our cultural values. But permitting it is still immoral in itself.

      • The Republicans chose “one term president” OVER the needs of the country. I turned 18 in 1991, so I can’t say I was real keyed into the “no new taxes” deal back then. Can’t comment. And my applause for Dems is of the faintest sort. Consider it a slight clap accompanied by an “ahem”.

        If I were made goddess of the universe, I would ban nearly all abortion in a half a heartbeat. I agree that permitting it is immoral in itself. Fortunately for the universe, but unfortunately for the unborn, I have no such power. Not even my vote can do any good. So, I guess I’m stuck doing the hard, messy work of helping others so that maybe the demand won’t be so great.

  • Joe Finney

    At one time a candidate for high office had to meet some qualifications to get elected. That is not true today. Since being a Christian is not so important for a candidate, a Christian must still vote. We have to take a stand against an assault on our freedoms. We have to stand against evil. God placed us in a Country and He gave us our freedom. We are bound by Him to protect that gift. We are required to vote and to vote for our liberty at the least. On that, no Christian should have voted for Obama besides the other issues.

  • House

    Can someone please explain to me how abortion somehow trumps other policies that create death — like pro-death penalty legislation, pro-war legislation, pro-gun legislation, etc.?

    • Jennifer

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’m guessing it has something to do with the constitution? American rights?

    • Yes. Future post comng soon. Thanks.

  • House

    Also … the author didn´t quote one Scripture verse in his “5 Things” list. Finally … how can I trust Romney? He changed his position on abortion for example — and although he may have made the change as a result of some biblical and moral evidence — could it have been that the change was made not because he really became pro-life, but rather to cater to both the conservative block of the Republican party and to conservative voters alike — i.e. in order to get elected? I mean how much “etch-a-sketching” can really be tolerated by the Christian mindset?

  • Javier

    The short answer is that Christians disagree on politics at least as much as we disagree on theology. I am a progressive young Methodist Christian who does not believe in fundamentalist or rightwing teachings on same-sex marriage. I am a pro-gay Christian, as are millions of other, largely younger Christians. That being said, my theology does not determine my politics. I believe the US COnstitution demands a sacred separation of church and state, and therefore, my religious orientation does not dictate my politics. Moreover, as a Christian, I respect my fellow neighbors enough not to try to force my theology on people who have a different theology or philosophy of life. My Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, pagan, or Episcopal friends should not be forced to abide my laws that reflect a particular theology. True Christians should not be trying to force our faith and beliefs on people. Salvation and faith are Sovereign acts of God in the heart of the individual, not a political regime that forces people to submit by force of law. Finally, polls and surveys show that people are leaving the church in droves and the one reason they cite the most is their disdain for the the religious right and its attempts to inject religion into politics. A lot of Christians are sick of the religious right and its obsessions too.

    • House

      Thanks Javier. Although I don´t agree with all that you said, I think where we would agree is that there are clearly theological differences among Christians. My friend and brother Dan put it well when he said “The great debates of the church fathers, the great schism, the crusades, witch burnings, the reformation. . . . on and on. Parts of Jesus are grabbed and pulled away like the drumsticks of a cooked chicken. . . . all to add legitimacy to one’s own pet issue. . . .”add some Jesus to your argument so you can be right, never mind what’s true.” That said … I think it´s the heart that matters in terms of voting. We do the very best we can to understand all the pertinent issues, go to Jesus with all that is on our minds regarding the election, and then cast our ballot. I think a heart, mind, and soul truly surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ might very well be able to vote in a variety of directions. As a believing friend so wisely put it … such doesn’t make a vote “right” or “wrong” but it does make for a voter who is focusing on job 1 : devotion to our King. Let´s be devoted to Jesus Christ as well as His revelation in Scripture and with those revelations go to the voting booth with the best intentions in mind — carrying in our heart, mind, and soul the desire to please Jesus as much as possible given our brokeness. Remember … we see through the glass but darkly according to Paul.

  • Samuel PG

    I am a born-again evangelical Christian (who also happens to be white and male) and I voted for President Obama (I voted for McCain in 2008). I will try to address your particular points.

    1. Life. Trust me, it sickens me to know that Obama has apparently never had a problem with the legality of abortion at any stage of pregnancy. That is utterly abhorrent to me as a character issue. But, that isn’t very different from my perception of Romney who seems to have only adopted an anti-abortion stance once he was in a position to benefit politically from such a stance.

    Speaking to the actual governmental actions on abortion… it seems to me from both Romney’s late “conversion” on abortion as well as comments he made to reporters that the best that could have been hoped for from him was to not further extend abortion “rights”. That is, he probably wasn’t going to do anything to significantly reduce abortion in the US, so the hope for him was to maintain the status quo. Furthermore, even though I am all for outlawing abortion, research has shown that outlawing abortion does not actually abolish it ( http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_IAW.html ). What is one thing that does significantly reduce the number of abortions? Easy and inexpensive access to contraception. One large study found that making contraception easily available to young women cut the abortion rate by more than half ( http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/publishahead/Preventing_Unintended_Pregnancies_by_Providing.99945.aspx ). When you consider that the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) will make contraception widely available to women, it is likely that it will have the effect of being the most effective abortion-reducing legislation in US history.

    Furthermore, the ACA and Democratic policies in general will make health care (as well as government aid in the form of food stamps and welfare) more affordable and accessible to women and their children, which reduces the financial burden of children on poor women, single mothers, and families near the poverty line, which will likely disincentivize abortion for financial reasons.

    Would I prefer that I could vote for a candidate who was both actually against abortion and effective in moving the number of abortions toward zero? Yes. But given the choice between someone who has adopted pro-life language for political reasons but who will accomplish nothing and someone who is officially an endorser of abortion but whose work will reduce abortions, I have to go with the latter.

    Of course, my response so far has ignored the other issues of life (I gravitate toward the “seamless garment” approach to life issues). I find Obama’s stance on immigration and care for the poor to be more “pro-life” than Romney’s.

    2. Marriage. Listen, I am with you on what the Bible has to say about homosexual practice. I don’t believe that Scripture permits a Christian to engage in homosexual activity any more than it permits a Christian to have extramarital or premarital sex, or more than it permits a Christian to divorce his or her spouse without adultery, abuse, or abandonment being the cause.

    But, and this is a big but, I am not convinced that this prohibition for Christians should be legislated by a secular government. If we want to make the case that gay marriage should be outlawed, we need to make the case through arguments that will make sense to those who do not share our faith (meaning, we can’t just point to Bible verses). I know that some have tried to make a secular case against gay marriage, but I have yet to see someone do it in a truly persuasive manner.

    And, honestly, we would do well to remove the speck of rampant divorce in Christian marriages from our own eye before trying to deal with the logs of civil society.

    3. Religious freedom. There are two issues here, but let’s deal with the Catholic issue first. I understand that the official teaching of the Vatican prohibits contraception (even though most American Catholics do not agree in practice) and that it is a legitimate issue of conscience. But, as the legalities have developed, it has gotten to the point now where church-affiliated charities, universities, hospitals, etc., don’t actually pay for the contraception coverage, but their insurance companies do. You might suggest that in a roundabout way the church is still being required to pay for contraception, but it is no different from the earlier situation. Before, if your church-affiliated university paid its staff, and any of those staff members used some of that income to purchase contraception, than in an indirect manner the institution was funding contaceptive use.

    Now, speaking to many of the Protestant organizations that have objected… I know of very few Protestants who object to contraceptive use. If an organization happens to have had a stance opposed to contraception, than I understand, but in some cases the organizations protesting this development do not have a background of conscientious objection to contraception and seem to be suing out of their general distaste for the ACA as a whole.

    4. Private Property. Taxing someone is not equivalent to stealing from them. Taxes are legitimate for Christians, dating all the way back to Christ. When you say, “And yet Obama has expressed that it is the role of government to correct God’s incorrect distribution and spread the wealth around according to another standard,” you seem to be suggesting that the situation in which the uber-wealthy hoard wealth, evade tax laws, and are often taxed at lower effective rates (consider those like Warren Buffet), while 16 million American children do not have enough to eat (not even including the disparity in wealth between the average American and the average global citizen) is God’s will for distribution?

    While the USA is not comparable to ancient Israel as being God’s chosen nation or a theocracy, we can still glean some insights from God’s law for Israel. Consider that in Israel the land (the primary form of wealth in an agrarian society) was distributed equally to families, that debts were forgiven every seven years, that citizens were required to allow the poor to glean from their fields, and that all land was returned to its original family of ownership every 50 years.

    Consider also Jesus’ parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21 and Jesus’ teaching on the sheep and the goats that God will judge the “nations” for their treatment of the poor.

    5. Leadership. The only good biblical model of leadership I am aware of is leadership through serving others. I do not really know of any presidential candidates who model a Christian form of leadership.

    I hope this is helpful.

    • Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful response.

      • Samuel PG

        Maybe a little too detailed. 🙂

    • House

      Thanks Samuel. You put into words what I was unable to put into words myself. My hope is that more evangelicals will begin really thinking through and wrestling with these issues as you seem to have done.

  • Bill,
    I get the impression that for many, their vote was not ‘for’ a given candidate but ‘against’ the other. Many voted ‘for’ Romney not becuase he was ‘their chose’ but because they were voting ‘against’ Obama. The opposite is also true in some respects. Some protestants comments on FB noted that they had issue with voting a non-Christian (read a Mormon) so reasoned better to vote against him which suggest their belief that Obama’s faith is more like theirs . Much of the answer to your question may rest on three factors. 1. How biblically versed is the voter 2. How convinced are they regarding the biblical knowledge they have and 3. How much of their ‘reasonS’ for voting for a candidate are veiled explanations of hidden unexpressed or even unpalatable reason for being for or against a given candidate. The ensnsuing vicious verbal aftermath of the election I wrote about yesterday on my blog (http://spreadinghislove.wordpress.com/) was evidence that for some, there was subliminal impetuses to their vote than a reasoned analysis.

  • David Ross

    Here’s at least one page that settles this debate. If you can claim
    to be a Christian after reading and understanding this exhaustive list, then
    you need to examine yourself a little closer. You need to consider doing away with some of that PRIDE, and admit you made a terrible mistake (for some TWICE.) One cannot be 100% for Christ while supporting, promoting, and advancing someone who is 95% against Christ. PERIOD.
    America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President