The Week-est Link, October 17, 2008: Politics and Other Messy Things

The Week-est Link, October 17, 2008: Politics and Other Messy Things October 17, 2008

1. The Wall Street Journal has a helpful article about certain aspects of the Obama “tax cut” that he’s championed for 95% of the population. WSJ: “For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase “tax credit.”…Once upon a time we called this “welfare,” or in George McGovern’s 1972 campaign a “Demogrant.” Mr. Obama’s genius is to call it a tax cut.”  Read the whole piece and if you can’t understand it, look at the little graph and let that sink in.  From a state that takes a massive bit of my paycheck before I see it (IL), let me encourage you to consider what these “tax credits” will mean for you and your family, church, etc.

2. So you thought that the lower 50% of the population pays the majority of American taxes?  Not so, says the IRS (according to this blog). “According to the most recent (2006) data released by the IRS, the top 1 percent of filers paid nearly 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent paid 60 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent paid virtually no income taxes (3 percent of all income taxes paid).”  The problem with continuing to smash the highest income-class is that they will be less likely to pump a great chunk of money back into financial markets, which they can afford to do because they have the most disposable income.  Money that could go to the market goes to the government (a weakness of both Republicans and Democrats, as recent presidencies attest).

3. Al Mohler of Southern Seminary and Robert P. George of Princeton have just published moving and frightening pieces related to Barack Obama and abortion.  Read Mohler’s piece, which includes sections of George’s article, and then read the whole text of George’s piece. (HT: JT) A key quotation from George’s writing: “Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.”

Let’s pause for a moment. Various biblical authors speak with one voice about the need to care for the unborn.  In the midst of turbulent lament, the author of Psalm 10 says, “to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.”  In one of my favorite passages, Ezekiel 16, where the Lord describes His love for the Israelites, we read in verses 4-6, “And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.  “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!'”  It is the character of the Lord, the very fiber of His being, to love the weak and defenseless, and to act on their behalf.  Though we do not superintend history and nations as the Lord does, we Christians are called to image the Lord’s nature in our fallen world.

The Psalmist goes on to say to the Lord in Psalm 10 that

“O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

I do not have a great hunger for political debate.  Though I am convinced in my own mind of my political beliefs (I lean toward traditional conservative, small-government ideology), I personally believe that there are a great many issues about which Christians may disagree in principle and at the ballot box.  On the issue of abortion, however, I think that the right application of biblical texts and principles leads one squarely to the political side that defends the unborn and seeks to prevent further slaughter of innocents in the tens of millions.

If that means that a Christian has to swallow some differences with a political candidate, so be it.  But we have a responsibility to prioritize issues that touch on matters of life-and-death, like abortion, euthanasia, and so on.  Abortion, then, is not merely one issue of consideration among many.  Because it allows for the slaughter of millions of innocents in our country, it is my personal opinion that all Christians should vote for a candidate who will most work to undo it.  Regardless of what some may say, the direct overturning of Roe v. Wade will do the most to protect the unborn.  There are of course numerous other factors involved in creating a pro-life culture, and it is absolutely right and hugely important that we tackle those factors (joblessness, racism, fatherlessness, and much more) but there is none more significant than the law which singlehandedly has resulted in tens of millions of abortions in this country.

This is not to say at all that a person who does not vote for the outspoken pro-life candidate is not a Christian, is not a faithful, fruitful Christian, or anything of the sort.  This is not to say that we should despise or battle brothers and sisters who vote for candidates of differing ideology.  We should not.  I do think, though, in what is I hope a spirit of humility and love, that if we are to hear the biblical call to “learn to do good; seek justice,correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”, we must fight for life and the unborn in America (Isaiah 1:17) by voting for candidates who will prioritize these issues even over others we (justifiably!) care very deeply about.

–That’s enough, and I think that’s all I will say on this matter.  I don’t want this blog to be about politics, and I do know that my hope and allegiance is not to conservatism, or the pro-life cause, or any other earthly institution or cause, but to the cross and cause of Christ.  If you disagree with my perspective, and you are an evangelical Christian, know that we have far more in common than I do with an unbelieving conservative.

Have a great weekend, all.

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  • Al

    As I read your last couple of paragraphs I was reminded of ESV Heb 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

    It seems like what goes on in the political arena would not be off limits in our pursue of obedience to these verses.

    PS. Do I get bonus points for the translation used?


  • owenstrachan

    Great thought, Al–and bonus points added.

  • Mark Rogers

    Thanks for speaking up on this (abortion, that is), Owen. This is, no doubt, the issue of our day. I know you don’t want this blog to be about politics, but don’t hesitate to keep banging this drum. This is not just a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual issue most of all.