Please note the word order in the title.
I did not say that a vote for Obama is a vote for Jesus. That was the mistake of the most enthusiastic Obamaphiles of 2008 when they labeled him a “Lightworker” who is “greater than Jesus.” All claims to the contrary — in fact, some still insist that he’s a Lightworker and “needed to take us into the New Golden Age” — Obama is clearly not, and never was, a Messiah. He is a politician like other politicians. And if it were not for a media that was eager to weave a story of mythic proportions around him, and thus build a movement toward their own progressive utopia, he never would have been elected in the first place. He should not have been elected. He was not qualified. And we have paid with four years of economic stagnation, political gridlock, feckless foreign policy, and a mounting debt crisis for electing a politician with an abundance of élan but an absence of expertise.
No, I’m not saying that a vote for Obama is a vote for Jesus. I’m saying that a vote for Jesus is a vote for Obama.
You see, the “world’s most famous internet evangelist” — at least, that’s what Bill Keller calls himself — has called on all Christians to enter “Jesus” on the ballot instead of voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
Bill Keller is the founder of LivePrayer.com. He claims (against all evidence available through third-party traffic analytics) that his website receives 20,000 visitors a day. The website proclaims: “There are currently over 2,500,000 people who have subscribed to receive the Daily Devotional each day in their email account…We receive daily over 40,000 email prayer requests that a ministry team emails personalized responses to…There have been over 600,000 people that we are aware of who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.” I don’t want to make any accusations, but let me just say that I’m skeptical. Since LivePrayer.com was founded over 14 years ago, prior to all sorts of anti-spam laws, they may indeed have an email list that reaches 2.5 million email addresses. How many of those addresses reach actual people, and how many people actually open those emails, is another question. It’s surely false to say, as Keller said in a mass email, that he has “over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide reading the Daily Devotional” he has written for thirteen years. Sending an email to two and a half million email addresses is not nearly the same thing as having 2.4 million people reading your daily devotional. And I think a certain skepticism is warranted toward grand claims of hundreds of thousands of people who have, apparently through email, been led to put their faith in Jesus Christ by “the world’s leading internet evangelist.”
Keller’s getting an awful lot of free publicity right now (and some paid publicity as well, as I’ve received press releases on his behalf) because of his drive to get Christians to write in the name of Jesus on their ballots. Keller founded votingforjesus.com and claims to have 1.6 million people committed. Snarky progressive Christians like Matthew Paul Turner seem to take this figure seriously, and at least one of Patheos’ atheist bloggers celebrated this as a two-for-one entertainment: a problem for Mitt Romney and yet more occasion to laugh at how stupid Christians are.
Since the traffic analytics suggest that a far smaller number have actually visited the website, again, there’s abundant reason here for skepticism. I don’t want to suggest he’s lying, but, well, I think he’s lying. Or at least misled. Keller founded votingforjesus.com in mid-May. Ironically, his Alexa ranking (Alexa ranks the largest websites in the world) is — wait for it — 1.6 million. But a high number here is not a good thing. It means there are 1.6 million websites larger than this. If his website had actually attracted 1.6 million unique visitors in the past six months, it would be well into the top 100,000. One wonders, too, how many laughing atheists will sit at their computers and register ten fictitious evangelicals to vote for Jesus. And then one wonders about the Obama campaign staffer who’s sitting there all day trying to create the impression of a movement.
But let’s put all that aside. Who knows? Maybe he’s not the charlatan I think he is. Maybe lots of people have made the commitment without visiting the website. Or something. And heck, it sounds like some good has probably come out of his internet ministry.
The question is: Is there anything remotely Christian about this?
Keller says this is an election contest of “Satan vs. Satan.” Obama is “an enemy of God and a true tool of satan!” (I had to include the exclamation mark), and Romney is a “priest in a satanically inspired cult” who would “set aside the US Constitution and enact a Mormon theocracy.” I can’t seem to summon the will to take this seriously. It’s ironic in the extreme for an internet evangelist — or any evangelical, for that matter — to complain that Mormons are aggressive at proselytizing. But when Keller says (without any citation, of course) that “conservative estimates are that over 1 million people in this country alone will become part of his cult without him having to ever say a word,” one starts to suspect that Keller just likes to throw around big numbers he invented in the shower.
Let’s make it simple. Romney’s theology is different from my own. But he believes in God and strives to be faithful to him. He believes that he is saved by the work of Jesus Christ, even though he understands Christ differently than I do. He is a good man who has always been extraordinarily devoted to his family, his community, and his country. We can argue over the details and over his personal evolution, but Romney will be pro-life and pro-marriage, a defender of religious freedoms, a strong hand on foreign policy, and determined to rein in government spending and hand on a sustainable and flourishing economy to succeeding generations. There is no indication that the faith of Presidents sways the faith of Americans. There is no evidence whatsoever that Romney’s election would lead people to become members of the LDS Church.
The Obama administration must love Bill Keller. Keller’s readership are about the least likely Obama voters in the country. Every vote that goes to “Jesus” from the Keller Kamp is a vote taken away from Mitt Romney.
And make no mistake. On many other issues, we can say that the differences between the two parties are subtle and prudential, sometimes hard to untangle. But we cannot say that on abortion. The Democratic party simply is the party of abortion. Witness the lavish celebration of abortion “rights” on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention. On this one issue of overwhelming importance for Christians, the Democratic Party is absolutely 100 percent in the wrong. The Democrats are the abortion regime, and if Obama is President from 2013-2017 then he will be able to install an even stronger pro-choice contingent in the Supreme Court. It will set the pro-life movement back by a generation.
Some evangelicals make the argument that Obama’s commitment to social services would reduce the number of abortions, but (a) a flourishing economy will reduce the number of abortions and Romney is better equipped to bring that about, and (2) you don’t vote for the guy who celebrates the Holocaust but whose policies might lead to marginally fewer dying there, you vote for the guy who opposes the Holocaust on principle and wants to bring it to an end.
A vote for Jesus is a vote for Obama. And a vote for Obama is a vote for abortion.