Voting and the neighbor

Todd Wilkens, host of Issues, Etc., has a provocative post on voting like a Christian.  He is applying to this work of the calling of citizenship what Luther taught is the purpose of all vocations:  To love and serve one’s neighbor.

Why does a Christian vote? A Christian doesn’t vote for the same reason the unbeliever votes.

A Christian doesn’t vote because it’s his right. That’s why the unbeliever votes. For the Christian, his own rights have nothing to do with it.

A Christian doesn’t vote to get his way. That’s also why the unbeliever votes. For the Christian, getting his way has nothing to do with it.

A Christian doesn’t vote to protect his own interests. For the Christian, his own interests have nothing to do with it.

A Christian votes to serve his neighbor —-period.

A Christian votes because he is called to do so by the needs of his neighbor. This means that a Christian will sometimes vote against his own rights, his own way and his own self-interest; but always in favor of his neighbor and his needs. At the ballot box, the neighbor comes first.

On election day, don’t vote like an unbeliever. Make you vote count …for your neighbor.

via Steadfast Lutherans » Why Vote?.

So what difference would this neighbor-centered ethic make?  Which, in your opinion, would be a better neighbor-centered vote, for Obama or for Romney?  Is there only one answer, or might vocation lead different people to different decisions?  If the latter, does that mean that God calls people to contrary actions?  How can that be?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Philip Larson

    How ’bout this?

    “A Christian votes to serve his Savior–period.”

    By our Lord’s words, serving our neighbor necessarily follows, but this covers more ground.

  • Philip Larson

    How ’bout this?

    “A Christian votes to serve his Savior–period.”

    By our Lord’s words, serving our neighbor necessarily follows, but this covers more ground.

  • James Sarver

    It is difficult to think of our government as “serving our neighbor” when it is funded mainly by reaching into the future to take from our neighbors there that which does not belong to us. Our debt cannot be paid off by those now living. Whatever one thinks the government is doing or should do currently to serve our neighbors should be tempered by the idea that it is done with stolen funds.

    “It is not moral to keep spending more than we’re taking in and passing on that debt to the next generations.” – Mitt Romney

  • James Sarver

    It is difficult to think of our government as “serving our neighbor” when it is funded mainly by reaching into the future to take from our neighbors there that which does not belong to us. Our debt cannot be paid off by those now living. Whatever one thinks the government is doing or should do currently to serve our neighbors should be tempered by the idea that it is done with stolen funds.

    “It is not moral to keep spending more than we’re taking in and passing on that debt to the next generations.” – Mitt Romney

  • EricM

    In order for anything else to matter, my neighbor must be alive. Therefore, I vote for the most pro-life candidate.

  • EricM

    In order for anything else to matter, my neighbor must be alive. Therefore, I vote for the most pro-life candidate.

  • Susan

    Vote to repeal ObamaCare because it grievously hurts the least among us. The cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments received the response from hospitals and doctors that they will not be able to accept the insurance because it will not cover their costs. Insurance is worthless if you cannot find a doctor or hospital to treat your medical needs. Not only that, any payments for an insurance you cannot use further impoverishes the elderly, disabled, and poor.

    Vote no on ObamaCare because it removes the freedom of conscience of the medical community, Christians, and others of conscience to decline support and/or supplying services for abortions, contraception, abortificants, and sterilizations.

    Vote no on ObamaCare because it is unaffordable for many Americans. The will end up paying a tax penalty because they cannot afford insurance payments. The tax penalty further impoverishes them. Others will lose their existing healthcare insurance and end up in Medicaid which see my first paragraph.

  • Susan

    Vote to repeal ObamaCare because it grievously hurts the least among us. The cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments received the response from hospitals and doctors that they will not be able to accept the insurance because it will not cover their costs. Insurance is worthless if you cannot find a doctor or hospital to treat your medical needs. Not only that, any payments for an insurance you cannot use further impoverishes the elderly, disabled, and poor.

    Vote no on ObamaCare because it removes the freedom of conscience of the medical community, Christians, and others of conscience to decline support and/or supplying services for abortions, contraception, abortificants, and sterilizations.

    Vote no on ObamaCare because it is unaffordable for many Americans. The will end up paying a tax penalty because they cannot afford insurance payments. The tax penalty further impoverishes them. Others will lose their existing healthcare insurance and end up in Medicaid which see my first paragraph.

  • Mary Jack

    Short term and long term help for our neighbor can be very different concerns, sadly. Of course there are still different ways to vote. We live in Christian freedom. It’s just a very sad thing that sin and a fallen world are such that voting, no matter what, will be tainted and likely loveless to some. But at least that is to limit our self-righteousness. We remain in God’s care.

  • Mary Jack

    Short term and long term help for our neighbor can be very different concerns, sadly. Of course there are still different ways to vote. We live in Christian freedom. It’s just a very sad thing that sin and a fallen world are such that voting, no matter what, will be tainted and likely loveless to some. But at least that is to limit our self-righteousness. We remain in God’s care.

  • WebMonk

    I don’t think it will make the tiniest bit of difference if people vote “for their neighbor”. Why?

    Because everyone feels that what is generally best for themselves is also best for their neighbor. Not in the minutia of details, obviously it breaks down in the small scale, but in the large scale of nationwide policy.

    What is best for me? Some generally “conservative” answers might be: Strong economy, Government not going broke, Fewer taxes, Good moral principals in society, Etc.

    What does that person think is best for his neighbor? Huh, that’s weird, but it’s all those same things. Who woulda’ guessed.

    From a more “liberal” view the answers might change: Solid social safety net, Clean environment, Universal healthcare, Etc.

    What does that person think is best for his neighbor? The same things.

    When you’re looking at broad scale things like that, a person’s view is almost always that what is best for me is also best for my neighbor.

    Therefore, taking into consideration one’s neighbor when voting for presidents will have exactly zero change from only considering oneself.

    Maybe that article strikes some of deep and revolutionary, but it strikes me as eminently pretentious and useless.

  • WebMonk

    I don’t think it will make the tiniest bit of difference if people vote “for their neighbor”. Why?

    Because everyone feels that what is generally best for themselves is also best for their neighbor. Not in the minutia of details, obviously it breaks down in the small scale, but in the large scale of nationwide policy.

    What is best for me? Some generally “conservative” answers might be: Strong economy, Government not going broke, Fewer taxes, Good moral principals in society, Etc.

    What does that person think is best for his neighbor? Huh, that’s weird, but it’s all those same things. Who woulda’ guessed.

    From a more “liberal” view the answers might change: Solid social safety net, Clean environment, Universal healthcare, Etc.

    What does that person think is best for his neighbor? The same things.

    When you’re looking at broad scale things like that, a person’s view is almost always that what is best for me is also best for my neighbor.

    Therefore, taking into consideration one’s neighbor when voting for presidents will have exactly zero change from only considering oneself.

    Maybe that article strikes some of deep and revolutionary, but it strikes me as eminently pretentious and useless.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Big government, less freedom. Smaller government, more freedom.

    We ought vote. Which one you want for yourself and the neighbor is up to you.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Big government, less freedom. Smaller government, more freedom.

    We ought vote. Which one you want for yourself and the neighbor is up to you.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Typical conservative economic theory and its political extensions says that citizens should follow “their enlightened self-interest.” Vocational ethics says the reverse: deny yourself, take up your cross, and love and serve your neighbor.

    And yet, Webmonk, you are right that the way we think of our neighbor ties back to ourselves. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Thus, the laws of economics work pretty much the same, whether the players each pursue their self-interest or whether they pursue service to the neighbor. The difference is in the heart of each person and in the meaning found in the work.

    And, Philip, the way God tells us to serve Him is by serving our neighbors. (Luther pointed out that when we just think of serving God while leaving our neighbors out of it we can slip into works righteousness, as in the world-rejecting monks and hermits that he was battling, who claimed they were serving God by NOT getting married, having children, pursuing economic activity or the duties of citizenship, all of which vocations bind us to different kinds of neighbors whom we are to love and serve.)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Typical conservative economic theory and its political extensions says that citizens should follow “their enlightened self-interest.” Vocational ethics says the reverse: deny yourself, take up your cross, and love and serve your neighbor.

    And yet, Webmonk, you are right that the way we think of our neighbor ties back to ourselves. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Thus, the laws of economics work pretty much the same, whether the players each pursue their self-interest or whether they pursue service to the neighbor. The difference is in the heart of each person and in the meaning found in the work.

    And, Philip, the way God tells us to serve Him is by serving our neighbors. (Luther pointed out that when we just think of serving God while leaving our neighbors out of it we can slip into works righteousness, as in the world-rejecting monks and hermits that he was battling, who claimed they were serving God by NOT getting married, having children, pursuing economic activity or the duties of citizenship, all of which vocations bind us to different kinds of neighbors whom we are to love and serve.)

  • Jon

    We need to save our neighbors from themselves and the government that wants to take care of their every aspect of life–pre-cradle to grave.

    Our weaker neighbors and brothers are sorely tempted by the siren song of the socialist progressive left. We need them to understand that government is not the answer to their plight. Government is the problem.

    We need to uphold our weaker neighbors directly, by loving and serving them directly.

    We should not try to support them by encouraging them to continue to vote to adopt a surrogate government that has no idea how to truly care for the weak and lift them up, but that only wants to serve its own ever growing needs.

    Romney in the debate last night had a statement to this effect. Despite his wacky Mormonism, he at least put forward that neighbors need to support neighbors directly, and not through the government.

    In short, I don’t love and serve my neighbor by voting to let the government do it for them as a surrogate. It’s lazy of me, highly ineffective, and actually is bad for my neighbor and therefore is unloving in my book to continue down the current path of governance.

  • Jon

    We need to save our neighbors from themselves and the government that wants to take care of their every aspect of life–pre-cradle to grave.

    Our weaker neighbors and brothers are sorely tempted by the siren song of the socialist progressive left. We need them to understand that government is not the answer to their plight. Government is the problem.

    We need to uphold our weaker neighbors directly, by loving and serving them directly.

    We should not try to support them by encouraging them to continue to vote to adopt a surrogate government that has no idea how to truly care for the weak and lift them up, but that only wants to serve its own ever growing needs.

    Romney in the debate last night had a statement to this effect. Despite his wacky Mormonism, he at least put forward that neighbors need to support neighbors directly, and not through the government.

    In short, I don’t love and serve my neighbor by voting to let the government do it for them as a surrogate. It’s lazy of me, highly ineffective, and actually is bad for my neighbor and therefore is unloving in my book to continue down the current path of governance.

  • Cincinnatus

    I have to agree with WebMonk@6: most folks believe that their chosen candidate will be the best not only for themselves, but for the whole country (i.e., their neighbors). Republicans, for example, believe that the free market is the most just, effective system for distributing resources. And what kind of metric exists to discern which candidate is best for my neighbors? I could, right this very moment, make an argument for either Obama or Romney being the most neighborly. It’s just not a helpful guideline; it’s not like the choice is between Jesus and Hitler.

    Of course, all this assumes that voting in a Presidential election is at all an effective way of demonstrating love to your neighbor. Your vote is quite literally statistically meaningless, so I’m not feelin’ the love. Feel free to tell yourself that you’re making an important choice, but you’re not.

  • Cincinnatus

    I have to agree with WebMonk@6: most folks believe that their chosen candidate will be the best not only for themselves, but for the whole country (i.e., their neighbors). Republicans, for example, believe that the free market is the most just, effective system for distributing resources. And what kind of metric exists to discern which candidate is best for my neighbors? I could, right this very moment, make an argument for either Obama or Romney being the most neighborly. It’s just not a helpful guideline; it’s not like the choice is between Jesus and Hitler.

    Of course, all this assumes that voting in a Presidential election is at all an effective way of demonstrating love to your neighbor. Your vote is quite literally statistically meaningless, so I’m not feelin’ the love. Feel free to tell yourself that you’re making an important choice, but you’re not.

  • Dan

    And who is my neighbor?

  • Dan

    And who is my neighbor?

  • Cincinnatus

    Dan@11:

    A pertinent question.

    And, given that no candidate will ever be “best” for all of my neighbors, whoever they may be, how does this principle help me choose?

  • Cincinnatus

    Dan@11:

    A pertinent question.

    And, given that no candidate will ever be “best” for all of my neighbors, whoever they may be, how does this principle help me choose?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I think my neighbor would be much better off if he weren’t so dependent upon gov’t. largesse.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I think my neighbor would be much better off if he weren’t so dependent upon gov’t. largesse.

  • DonS

    I also agree with Webmonk @ 6. Most of us vote because of governing principles that we believe in, which we believe are to the benefit of our neighbor, as well as ourselves.

  • DonS

    I also agree with Webmonk @ 6. Most of us vote because of governing principles that we believe in, which we believe are to the benefit of our neighbor, as well as ourselves.

  • shell

    The principle that “a Christian votes to serve his neighbor” could, in some instances, override what is in his own self-interest.

    Take, for example, a person who thinks that one candidate’s proposed policies might help him to improve his own personal finances, but he might determine that the same policies would hurt more people in other economic situations. So he might vote for someone that would not help him as much but would help his neighbor.

    Or take as another example, a person who believes that one candidate would improve the availability of healthcare for him personally but might determine that the candidate’s position on abortion would be more detrimental to his neighbor. So he votes not for his own self-interest but that of his neighbor.

  • shell

    The principle that “a Christian votes to serve his neighbor” could, in some instances, override what is in his own self-interest.

    Take, for example, a person who thinks that one candidate’s proposed policies might help him to improve his own personal finances, but he might determine that the same policies would hurt more people in other economic situations. So he might vote for someone that would not help him as much but would help his neighbor.

    Or take as another example, a person who believes that one candidate would improve the availability of healthcare for him personally but might determine that the candidate’s position on abortion would be more detrimental to his neighbor. So he votes not for his own self-interest but that of his neighbor.

  • WebMonk

    Oh bugger. I was trying to toss in a firebrand with my comment to get all sorts of fireworks started. I even gratuitously insulted the article as “pretentious” even though it really isn’t (very).

    And now people are agreeing with me. Pbbbt.

    Y’all are no fun. :-D

    Let me try again – voting for what what is best for your neighbor is exactly the same as voting for what is best for yourself, and not just in practical outcome, but also in internal attitude.

    Why? Everyone thinks that what is best for themselves (on the large scale that we’re discussing here) is ALSO best for everyone else (on the large scale).

    Even if one takes the internal attitude of A)”I’m voting for X because that will be best for my neighbor”, that is the _exact_ same thing as the internal attitude of B) “I’m voting for X because that will be best for me.”

    Why? Because A = B. What is best for neighbor? The exact same thing that is best for me. How do we determine what is best for our neighbor? By determining what is best for ourselves.

    The article is trying to make a big deal of sounding like their proposing some sort of revolutionary change in perspective, but, just like all that silly Lutheran theology, it’s nothing more than a pretentious non-change dressed up in different words to sound different.

    (There, if that doesn’t get me qualified as a troll to be targeted by flames, nothing will! :-D )

  • WebMonk

    Oh bugger. I was trying to toss in a firebrand with my comment to get all sorts of fireworks started. I even gratuitously insulted the article as “pretentious” even though it really isn’t (very).

    And now people are agreeing with me. Pbbbt.

    Y’all are no fun. :-D

    Let me try again – voting for what what is best for your neighbor is exactly the same as voting for what is best for yourself, and not just in practical outcome, but also in internal attitude.

    Why? Everyone thinks that what is best for themselves (on the large scale that we’re discussing here) is ALSO best for everyone else (on the large scale).

    Even if one takes the internal attitude of A)”I’m voting for X because that will be best for my neighbor”, that is the _exact_ same thing as the internal attitude of B) “I’m voting for X because that will be best for me.”

    Why? Because A = B. What is best for neighbor? The exact same thing that is best for me. How do we determine what is best for our neighbor? By determining what is best for ourselves.

    The article is trying to make a big deal of sounding like their proposing some sort of revolutionary change in perspective, but, just like all that silly Lutheran theology, it’s nothing more than a pretentious non-change dressed up in different words to sound different.

    (There, if that doesn’t get me qualified as a troll to be targeted by flames, nothing will! :-D )

  • DonS

    OK, Webmonk @ 16, I’ll push back. It’s not always exactly the same. What if you’re voting for the guy because he took your bribe to approve your casino, to be built next to your neighbor’s house?

  • DonS

    OK, Webmonk @ 16, I’ll push back. It’s not always exactly the same. What if you’re voting for the guy because he took your bribe to approve your casino, to be built next to your neighbor’s house?

  • WebMonk

    Don, you [fill in nasty, gratuitous insults]! What the [more bleeping swear words] could you possibly be thinking!! :-)

    Ok, I guess there are potential situations where the two are different. I sit corrected.

    But how about in the general, more realistic sense we’re talking about with respect to the presidential or US Congress/Senate elections?

  • WebMonk

    Don, you [fill in nasty, gratuitous insults]! What the [more bleeping swear words] could you possibly be thinking!! :-)

    Ok, I guess there are potential situations where the two are different. I sit corrected.

    But how about in the general, more realistic sense we’re talking about with respect to the presidential or US Congress/Senate elections?

  • DonS

    Shell @ 15:

    Or take as another example, a person who believes that one candidate would improve the availability of healthcare for him personally but might determine that the candidate’s position on abortion would be more detrimental to his neighbor. So he votes not for his own self-interest but that of his neighbor.

    Yes, abortion is always detrimental to your neighbor, the unborn child.

    As for your broader point, I don’t think many people vote the way you’re describing. You may vote against the politician who offers a “goodie” that you think might benefit you personally, but you do so because you think his overall policies will somehow make society worse, which will ultimately be worse for you and your neighbor.

    Maybe the government employee union member who votes for the Democrat to preserve his pensions even though he knows government unions are bankrupting our kids would be a good example of a voter putting his own interests ahead of his neighbor.

    (Now I’ve started something ;-))

  • DonS

    Shell @ 15:

    Or take as another example, a person who believes that one candidate would improve the availability of healthcare for him personally but might determine that the candidate’s position on abortion would be more detrimental to his neighbor. So he votes not for his own self-interest but that of his neighbor.

    Yes, abortion is always detrimental to your neighbor, the unborn child.

    As for your broader point, I don’t think many people vote the way you’re describing. You may vote against the politician who offers a “goodie” that you think might benefit you personally, but you do so because you think his overall policies will somehow make society worse, which will ultimately be worse for you and your neighbor.

    Maybe the government employee union member who votes for the Democrat to preserve his pensions even though he knows government unions are bankrupting our kids would be a good example of a voter putting his own interests ahead of his neighbor.

    (Now I’ve started something ;-))

  • shell

    DonS,
    Your union member example is a good example of how a Christian might vote to serve his neighbor even if it would not serve his own interest. As far as people not voting according to this example or the two examples that I offered, I think you’re probably right. But perhaps that is the point of the ideal that “a Christian votes to serve his neighbor.” It is certainly a different political view–consider the other guy first. Will people do this? Probably not.

  • shell

    DonS,
    Your union member example is a good example of how a Christian might vote to serve his neighbor even if it would not serve his own interest. As far as people not voting according to this example or the two examples that I offered, I think you’re probably right. But perhaps that is the point of the ideal that “a Christian votes to serve his neighbor.” It is certainly a different political view–consider the other guy first. Will people do this? Probably not.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, I want to open a brothel at the local mall and I demand that you accommodate me as your neighbor to do what is in my best interests. Besides, I’ll give you a 10% discount.

  • SKPeterson

    Well, I want to open a brothel at the local mall and I demand that you accommodate me as your neighbor to do what is in my best interests. Besides, I’ll give you a 10% discount.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I smell a whole lot of Theology of Glory in this thread.

    Look people, this is Law we’re talking about. When you hear that you are to vote to serve your neighbor (which is, of course, merely an application of the command to love our neighbor in all ways, including voting) and you think to yourself, “Yup, I’ve done that!” then you’ve missed the point. Not just of voting, but of the Law.

    The point of the Law is to point out our sins, and to call us to repentance. It is not a secret recipe for how to live the perfect life. Because you’re not doing that. No, you’re not fooling anyone.

    So sure, you can tell yourself that voting in your own self-interest is practically the same as loving your neighbor. Many a self-righteous person has done that.

    But again, if all you get from this discussion is a confirmation that you’re doing everything right in voting for that tax cut or that government program that just so happens to benefit you … think again.

    Because the Law is not there to give you a pat on the back. You are a sinner. The Law reminds you of that.

    So no, you’re not going to vote perfectly. You don’t do anything perfectly, why would voting be different? Your sinful nature is going to screw it up, as it always does.

    And don’t forget: voting to serve your neighbor also means all the time, energy, and emotions you invest in the lead-up to voting. Is your neighbor served by all the time spent obsessing over politics? Is he served when you demonize those who disagree with you politically?

    As Cincinnatus points out, voting doesn’t actually have a tangibly large impact on your neighbor, so there are probably more useful things you could be doing for him than getting all fired up over politics. Do your due diligence, of course, but then let it go. Again, you’re going to screw it up with sin, anyhow.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I smell a whole lot of Theology of Glory in this thread.

    Look people, this is Law we’re talking about. When you hear that you are to vote to serve your neighbor (which is, of course, merely an application of the command to love our neighbor in all ways, including voting) and you think to yourself, “Yup, I’ve done that!” then you’ve missed the point. Not just of voting, but of the Law.

    The point of the Law is to point out our sins, and to call us to repentance. It is not a secret recipe for how to live the perfect life. Because you’re not doing that. No, you’re not fooling anyone.

    So sure, you can tell yourself that voting in your own self-interest is practically the same as loving your neighbor. Many a self-righteous person has done that.

    But again, if all you get from this discussion is a confirmation that you’re doing everything right in voting for that tax cut or that government program that just so happens to benefit you … think again.

    Because the Law is not there to give you a pat on the back. You are a sinner. The Law reminds you of that.

    So no, you’re not going to vote perfectly. You don’t do anything perfectly, why would voting be different? Your sinful nature is going to screw it up, as it always does.

    And don’t forget: voting to serve your neighbor also means all the time, energy, and emotions you invest in the lead-up to voting. Is your neighbor served by all the time spent obsessing over politics? Is he served when you demonize those who disagree with you politically?

    As Cincinnatus points out, voting doesn’t actually have a tangibly large impact on your neighbor, so there are probably more useful things you could be doing for him than getting all fired up over politics. Do your due diligence, of course, but then let it go. Again, you’re going to screw it up with sin, anyhow.

  • Jon

    Well, then, as Susan says @4, at least you know you should not vote for the one who says that he supports killing the unborn to the maximum extent possible. At least that service to tiny neighbors seems clear.

  • Jon

    Well, then, as Susan says @4, at least you know you should not vote for the one who says that he supports killing the unborn to the maximum extent possible. At least that service to tiny neighbors seems clear.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@23) said:

    …you should not vote for the one who says that he supports killing the unborn to the maximum extent possible.

    Hmm, I wonder if the Eighth Commandment is still in effect. Or maybe words just don’t mean anything anymore.

    Anyhow, yes, one could choose just that one aspect of that one issue as one’s rubric for determining how best to serve his neighbors.

    But the way you phrase things makes me wonder if you’ve actually looked into Romney’s position on the matter. Arguably, both candidates “support killing the unborn” to use your phrasing. It’s just different degrees.

    Of course, there’s quite a bit of indirection between the President and any actual abortions that occur. More directly under a President’s control is the military.

    I wonder if our obligation to our neighbor will also cause us to consider the innocent people — even American citizens, denied due process! — that are intentionally targeted by things like our drone program. Would you equally argue, Jon, that it is wrong to vote for a candidate who supports such things?

    Or is it only a sin to vote for the guy who supports legalized abortions the most?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@23) said:

    …you should not vote for the one who says that he supports killing the unborn to the maximum extent possible.

    Hmm, I wonder if the Eighth Commandment is still in effect. Or maybe words just don’t mean anything anymore.

    Anyhow, yes, one could choose just that one aspect of that one issue as one’s rubric for determining how best to serve his neighbors.

    But the way you phrase things makes me wonder if you’ve actually looked into Romney’s position on the matter. Arguably, both candidates “support killing the unborn” to use your phrasing. It’s just different degrees.

    Of course, there’s quite a bit of indirection between the President and any actual abortions that occur. More directly under a President’s control is the military.

    I wonder if our obligation to our neighbor will also cause us to consider the innocent people — even American citizens, denied due process! — that are intentionally targeted by things like our drone program. Would you equally argue, Jon, that it is wrong to vote for a candidate who supports such things?

    Or is it only a sin to vote for the guy who supports legalized abortions the most?

  • Grace

    If one puts the LORD our God first, how can one vote for a man who believes that God is Michael the Archangel? Michael was created by the LORD, he was no god, but an angel.

    Loving ones neighbor doesn’t mean one can put God somewhere else when they hit the ballot box. Who is the voter trying to satisfy, himself or is he honoring God.

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    38 This is the first and great commandment.
    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
    Matthew 22

    The FIRST Commandment “love the Lord they God with all thy heart” is often trumped by the second “love they neighbour as thyself” – that is the one those who lean towards sin rest their case, the first to love the LORD is rarely mentioned.
    It isn’t neighbor first, it is the LORD thy God first.

  • Grace

    If one puts the LORD our God first, how can one vote for a man who believes that God is Michael the Archangel? Michael was created by the LORD, he was no god, but an angel.

    Loving ones neighbor doesn’t mean one can put God somewhere else when they hit the ballot box. Who is the voter trying to satisfy, himself or is he honoring God.

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    38 This is the first and great commandment.
    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
    Matthew 22

    The FIRST Commandment “love the Lord they God with all thy heart” is often trumped by the second “love they neighbour as thyself” – that is the one those who lean towards sin rest their case, the first to love the LORD is rarely mentioned.
    It isn’t neighbor first, it is the LORD thy God first.

  • Jon

    Todd, I don’t decry the death of the likes of an Al-Awlaki in a drone strike. He was an enemy combatant, an enemy of the state, a “domestic,” home-grown enemy of the Constitution. He and his ex-pat ilk are no different than any of those foreign jihadis we routinely schwack with or without the permission of the country in which we’re operating. And, yes, my point is to best love and serve the tiniest neighbor, vote for the one guy who wants to kill the fewest of them.

  • Jon

    Todd, I don’t decry the death of the likes of an Al-Awlaki in a drone strike. He was an enemy combatant, an enemy of the state, a “domestic,” home-grown enemy of the Constitution. He and his ex-pat ilk are no different than any of those foreign jihadis we routinely schwack with or without the permission of the country in which we’re operating. And, yes, my point is to best love and serve the tiniest neighbor, vote for the one guy who wants to kill the fewest of them.

  • Jim_777

    I don’t think I can in good conscience vote for Romney or Obama. If forced, I would of course vote for the one who is not in favor of infanticide. But I don’t think I have an obligation as a Christian to vote at all. I’m required to obey the law (unless the law demands that I sin), but voting is a voluntary activity. It seems like the imposition of rule not founded in Scripture. If Christians want to vote, great. But I don’t believe that God requires it.

  • Jim_777

    I don’t think I can in good conscience vote for Romney or Obama. If forced, I would of course vote for the one who is not in favor of infanticide. But I don’t think I have an obligation as a Christian to vote at all. I’m required to obey the law (unless the law demands that I sin), but voting is a voluntary activity. It seems like the imposition of rule not founded in Scripture. If Christians want to vote, great. But I don’t believe that God requires it.

  • Grace

    Jim_777 @27 “I don’t think I can in good conscience vote for Romney or Obama.”

    I cannot as well. I’m hearing more people stand up and say the same thing.

  • Grace

    Jim_777 @27 “I don’t think I can in good conscience vote for Romney or Obama.”

    I cannot as well. I’m hearing more people stand up and say the same thing.

  • Michael B.

    Gene, I have an idea for a thread on Tuesday, November 6. How about the title is simply “Did you vote, and if so, for whom did you vote?”. Just as a simply question. Whenever voting is brought up on here, there’s a lot of “I may do this, I may do that”, and I’m curious what people end up doing.

  • Michael B.

    Gene, I have an idea for a thread on Tuesday, November 6. How about the title is simply “Did you vote, and if so, for whom did you vote?”. Just as a simply question. Whenever voting is brought up on here, there’s a lot of “I may do this, I may do that”, and I’m curious what people end up doing.

  • Robert

    When did Jesus say, “Pick up your cross and carry it into the voting booth”? Chapter and verse, please.

    The problem here is that contemporary neo-Lutherans are deriving their doctrine and practice (and now politics) not from clear passages or Scripture or from natural law, but from systematic categories, Lutheran soundbites.

  • Robert

    When did Jesus say, “Pick up your cross and carry it into the voting booth”? Chapter and verse, please.

    The problem here is that contemporary neo-Lutherans are deriving their doctrine and practice (and now politics) not from clear passages or Scripture or from natural law, but from systematic categories, Lutheran soundbites.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is a difference between voting for what is good for your neighbor and voting for what he wants.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is a difference between voting for what is good for your neighbor and voting for what he wants.

  • Joanne

    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s

    A civil vote is Caesar’s vote.
    A church vote is God’s vote.

    You bunch are making scrambled eggs out of the separation of the two kingdoms. A vote at the Reichstag of Worms is not in the same kingdom as a vote in the curia, or the church voter’s meeting. However, you are a Christian in both places to render your civic duty and your churchly duty.

    If you don’t like cynicism, stop now! If you believed that Jesus would return a month or at the most a year after his Ascention, then living in the Jerusalem Commune was a piece of cake. It worked like a Ponzzi scheme, the new members gave new money to the pauperized longer members who have already sold everthing and given it to the church. You could keep that up for a year with good recruitment and a smashing day like Pentecoste.

    But, if you believe that it might take Jesus as long as, oh, I don’t know, say like 2000+ years to come back, the Ponzzi Lodge #1 of Jerusalem is not gonna work. Those things can’t last that long. Even the Soviets could only get their scheme to work 70 years using up the resources of one of the richest countries in the world. Nah, if you’ve got a long wait, a really long wait, you need sustainable schemes to pay down the church mortgage, to cover the costs of Christian education, etc.

    Anybody for some soft-cooked Ceasaropapism scrambled eggs? Or would you prefer Paperoceasim eggs? Running to the Imperor, Duke, Prince, Governor, Parliament, etc., when the church needs help, bad idea, really bad idea.

  • Joanne

    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s

    A civil vote is Caesar’s vote.
    A church vote is God’s vote.

    You bunch are making scrambled eggs out of the separation of the two kingdoms. A vote at the Reichstag of Worms is not in the same kingdom as a vote in the curia, or the church voter’s meeting. However, you are a Christian in both places to render your civic duty and your churchly duty.

    If you don’t like cynicism, stop now! If you believed that Jesus would return a month or at the most a year after his Ascention, then living in the Jerusalem Commune was a piece of cake. It worked like a Ponzzi scheme, the new members gave new money to the pauperized longer members who have already sold everthing and given it to the church. You could keep that up for a year with good recruitment and a smashing day like Pentecoste.

    But, if you believe that it might take Jesus as long as, oh, I don’t know, say like 2000+ years to come back, the Ponzzi Lodge #1 of Jerusalem is not gonna work. Those things can’t last that long. Even the Soviets could only get their scheme to work 70 years using up the resources of one of the richest countries in the world. Nah, if you’ve got a long wait, a really long wait, you need sustainable schemes to pay down the church mortgage, to cover the costs of Christian education, etc.

    Anybody for some soft-cooked Ceasaropapism scrambled eggs? Or would you prefer Paperoceasim eggs? Running to the Imperor, Duke, Prince, Governor, Parliament, etc., when the church needs help, bad idea, really bad idea.

  • Grace

    A mans foundation, and beliefs declare as to who he is, and to whom he serves. If the true God is not his LORD, then his foundation is unstable, it has no root in truth, and cannot be trusted.

    24 Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    25 For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
    26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Matthew 16

    The LORD Jesus Christ WAS begotten by the HOLY Ghost. To say otherwise is to lie, and contradict HOLY Scripture.

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
    Matthew 1:18

    That is not what Mormons believe. Read below:

    “When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family;

    A Sermon by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 9, 1852. Volume 1, page 50

    How does the above rendition of the Virgin Mary and the HOLY Spirit align with Scripture?

    So how does one call themselves a Christian, and believe the above, and Michael the Archangel being “He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our Father and our God, and the only God”

    When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. “

    A Sermon by President Brigham Young,
    Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 9, 1852. Journal of Discourses, Volume 1, page 50

  • Grace

    A mans foundation, and beliefs declare as to who he is, and to whom he serves. If the true God is not his LORD, then his foundation is unstable, it has no root in truth, and cannot be trusted.

    24 Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    25 For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
    26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Matthew 16

    The LORD Jesus Christ WAS begotten by the HOLY Ghost. To say otherwise is to lie, and contradict HOLY Scripture.

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
    Matthew 1:18

    That is not what Mormons believe. Read below:

    “When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family;

    A Sermon by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 9, 1852. Volume 1, page 50

    How does the above rendition of the Virgin Mary and the HOLY Spirit align with Scripture?

    So how does one call themselves a Christian, and believe the above, and Michael the Archangel being “He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our Father and our God, and the only God”

    When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. “

    A Sermon by President Brigham Young,
    Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 9, 1852. Journal of Discourses, Volume 1, page 50

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I plan to cast a write-in vote for President. This time it will be for “No”. (Though I’m tempted to vote for Joanne right now. And hungry for a good omelette, though with no politicians in it.)

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I plan to cast a write-in vote for President. This time it will be for “No”. (Though I’m tempted to vote for Joanne right now. And hungry for a good omelette, though with no politicians in it.)

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie @ 34 ” I plan to cast a write-in vote for President. This time it will be for “No”. (Though I’m tempted to vote for Joanne right now. And hungry for a good omelette, though with no politicians in it.)

    Whoop de do – I plan to “write-in” my vote, and so does my husband. We have an individual in mind.

    Too bad you don’t live close by, .. I make the BEST omelettte’s in the city, just ask my husband, or anyone else who has been fortunate to have been served such delicate fare. Including fresh toasted bread or muffins and jam, and of course a glass of wine. OH, a dollop of sour cream atop the omelette

  • Grace

    Rick Ritchie @ 34 ” I plan to cast a write-in vote for President. This time it will be for “No”. (Though I’m tempted to vote for Joanne right now. And hungry for a good omelette, though with no politicians in it.)

    Whoop de do – I plan to “write-in” my vote, and so does my husband. We have an individual in mind.

    Too bad you don’t live close by, .. I make the BEST omelettte’s in the city, just ask my husband, or anyone else who has been fortunate to have been served such delicate fare. Including fresh toasted bread or muffins and jam, and of course a glass of wine. OH, a dollop of sour cream atop the omelette

  • Kelly

    From The Spirituality of the Cross, by Veith: “Another way of coping when our moral reach exceeds our grasp is to push virtue out of the periphery of our experience– becoming a matter of voting right or holding to the correct social positions or supporting virtuous causes– even while our personal or family lives become a wreck. We define down moral perfection, making it something easier and within our control. In doing so, of course, we generally end up violating the moral obligations that really count, those that have to do with our own behavior and our relationships to those around us.”

  • Kelly

    From The Spirituality of the Cross, by Veith: “Another way of coping when our moral reach exceeds our grasp is to push virtue out of the periphery of our experience– becoming a matter of voting right or holding to the correct social positions or supporting virtuous causes– even while our personal or family lives become a wreck. We define down moral perfection, making it something easier and within our control. In doing so, of course, we generally end up violating the moral obligations that really count, those that have to do with our own behavior and our relationships to those around us.”

  • fws

    todd @ 22

    +1

    And the sin? maybe it is that both conservatives and liberals center debate on their “rights” … the right to abortion, the right to gay marriage, the right to say no to gay marriage, the right to cling to OUR money and property , the right to (fill in the blank).

    And what does the Bible say is right? dedicate ones life to self sacrificial acts that serve others who need our help. Read the story of the Good Samaritan.

    Where would one position all that talk about right and wrong as being about our own personal “rights” to dictate to others, keep the government out of our lives, or to cling to what God has given to us materially out of pure mercy and goodness?

    conservatism seems to be all about rights. liberalism seems to be all about rights.

    Talk about my own rights is to go against what is right in the eyes of God. What is right in the eyes of God is to precisely self sacrificially give up our rights in favor of our neighbor.
    If we refuse to do this mercy willingly, God WILL send bad government as a punishment to pry out of our hands what we refuse to redistribute willingly to those who need it.

  • fws

    todd @ 22

    +1

    And the sin? maybe it is that both conservatives and liberals center debate on their “rights” … the right to abortion, the right to gay marriage, the right to say no to gay marriage, the right to cling to OUR money and property , the right to (fill in the blank).

    And what does the Bible say is right? dedicate ones life to self sacrificial acts that serve others who need our help. Read the story of the Good Samaritan.

    Where would one position all that talk about right and wrong as being about our own personal “rights” to dictate to others, keep the government out of our lives, or to cling to what God has given to us materially out of pure mercy and goodness?

    conservatism seems to be all about rights. liberalism seems to be all about rights.

    Talk about my own rights is to go against what is right in the eyes of God. What is right in the eyes of God is to precisely self sacrificially give up our rights in favor of our neighbor.
    If we refuse to do this mercy willingly, God WILL send bad government as a punishment to pry out of our hands what we refuse to redistribute willingly to those who need it.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Omelette-making is an admirable skill. I’m glad you don’t put politicians in your omelettes. They tend to be bitter, even when they don’t look that way on the outside.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Omelette-making is an admirable skill. I’m glad you don’t put politicians in your omelettes. They tend to be bitter, even when they don’t look that way on the outside.


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