Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Voting for President 3

posted by xscot mcknight

A reader wrote me about how anabaptists are struggling with which candidate to vote for, and I offered a first response last Friday. Today I’d like to ponder one of our candidates: John McCain. What will it be like for us — for me — if the Republicans win? (OK, just in case you think this blog is biased and not — like FoxNews — “fair and balanced,” I’ll do one like this on Obama too.)
No matter who becomes President, it won’t change my assignment. I’m called to be a Christian, not a Republican or a Democrat. From that angle, I will offer comments about the Presidential candidates. Some of what the successful candidate promises now will be partially achieved when that person becomes President. Not all of it; so reliance upon all the promises goes against history. Candidates promise more than they can achieve. And there’s another side to this.
When folks — voters and candidates — go apocalyptic on what will happen if their opponent wins I reflect on the 11 elections I’ve been through (consciously). The apocalyptists have always sprinkled their language with doom and gloom and they’ve never been right. If you compare the differences between Democrats and Republicans to what some other countries in the world have, there’s not that much difference. The differences are not apocalyptic.
Now for McCain.
I respect John McCain; I think he’s authentic; his personal story is a straight line. For the most part, I think he tells the truth; I think he will tell the truth. I’d like to have coffee with the man.
If they win and if the Repubs reduce big government and reduce our taxes and develop more local fuel sources, then I think those will be good things that will help us work for the kingdom. I do think McCain has lots of experience in DC. Experience helps at times. I will like it that a woman would be officially in the White House. I think Palin would be “fun” to have in the White House. From the Repubs, I think we could expect some support for small business owners and for those who want to develop small businesses. We need more of that and less dependence on the federal government.
I think they will fight against abortion, and I’m confident Palin would work hard for people with special needs. I have already had several conversations with friends who love what Palin could bring to the White House as a voice for people with special needs.
One thing I like about McCain is that he can think outside the box; he can work across party lines. We need more of that.
But, I don’t think a Republican White House is the final solution to our problems. I fear the militaristic spirit of McCain; I know his slogan is “Country First” (which isn’t first for me). We’ve spent way too much on Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have some pressing financial woes in our country. That money could be used for fuel development and education and health care, which raises another point: I don’t hear enough about education from the McCain ticket. And I don’t have a lot of confidence McCain has health care much on his mind. And I’d like to hear a reasonable economic theory — spend some time explaining how it works — that drives how Republicans think poverty in the USA can be improved. But this economic emphasis of the Repubs has a negative side for me: life is more than money But sometimes the economy — call it greed — seems to obsess DC and the Republican platform.
Well, what I’m saying is this: if the Republicans win, we’ll have some things to like and some things to resist. They’ll present some unique challenges for kingdom people. They surely won’t usher in the kingdom and it might be good for us to think about that more.



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Jennifer

posted September 8, 2008 at 12:43 am


I’m asking this as a serious question….do you really think they will fight against abortion? I would like to believe that’s true. The GOP always says they will fight against it…and yet, nothing important ever happens. And now, women can get the aboriton pill over the internet easily. I dont even know what fighting against abortion means anymore when you can get the pill with just a couple clicks online, even if it were illegal.
Even if I dont like a lot of what Palin beleives, I do like that she is a woman, and a mother. It would be great to see more examples of women being able to lead, and have a family (just like men lead, and have families)



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Preacherman

posted September 8, 2008 at 1:28 am


Scot,
Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and thoughts with us.
I think we all need to be in prayer for our country especailly our leaders during this election year.
Again, thank you for all you do.
You do a fantastic job with this blog as well as your books. You inspire. You, your family and ministry will always be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much for making a kingdom difference and encouraging us to think outside the box.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 8, 2008 at 2:26 am


Good balanced take. They have fought against partial birth abortion. Although I like Obama, in the words (or similar) of David Fitch (who himself has said on his blog that he’s voting for Obama), I vehemently disagree with him on abortion.
But I think, Jennifer, you do have a point in what you’re saying. The book I’ve read recently (UnChristian America, written by a Liberty University professor, himself once on the front lines of the religious right) says that in general the Repubs have said what they have to get the religious right vote, while not being nearly as committed to doing anything once they’re in power. It’s an interesting read, by the way.
But thanks, Scot, for your fair and balanced approach and perspective here. Helpful.



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steph

posted September 8, 2008 at 2:43 am


With developing local fuel sources, will they develop more renewable non polluting sources like wind and solar?
For fighting abortion, will they still allow abortions to save the life of the mother and in cases where the woman has been raped? I am not sure what pro choice actually means. I don’t think you can ever reduce back street abortions without sex education and possibly free contraceptives.
On foreign relations, I think Robert Fisk is right: it doesn’t matter who gets in. Both will meddle in the Middle East and as long as they do in any shape or form, the Middle East will never be appeased. I had hoped Obama might at least meddle less but unless it’s not at all, it makes no difference.



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John C

posted September 8, 2008 at 4:53 am


Two other factors that haven’t been mentioned, but ought to be:
– how would a McCain-Palin victory (& an Obama defeat) affect America’s standing in the eyes of the world?
– how would it affect the reputation of Evangelical Christianity worldwide?
As a non-American, my answer would be that eight years of GWB have done real damage to the reputation of both the United States and Evangelical Christianity, which in the minds of opinion-formers worldwide is now closely identified with populist right-wing politics.



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james petticrew

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:29 am


I am interested in what you think about health care as someone from Scotland who studied in the States I found the health care a real shock. I was shocked at how much it cost and how little it actually covered. I was also shocked by the lack of provision for the poor who couldn’t pay for the insurance.
I am interested in how healthcare will affect this election.
Is it even an issue in the election?
What do Christians think about it?
Is the fact that poor people with chronic illness seem to die or have a terrible quality of life due to being priced out of healthcare not as big an issue as abortion? Doesn’t being pro-life mean being for life after birth as well as before?



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phil_style

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:38 am


James, “Doesn?t being pro-life mean being for life after birth as well as before? ”
Great question.



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sheryl

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:45 am


Reading the first six comments, I wonder if you’ve opened a Pandora’s box? It seems like this thread, and the other JC political posts, will turn into partisan bickering and mud-slinging. Maybe I’m just cynical and see political discourse becoming more extreme and uncivil.



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Bruce

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:50 am


I think that a more accurate term for some of the pro-life group is “pro-birth”. It’s kind of like the verse in James talking about faith and deeds, James 2.15-16, Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”
Some of the folks don’t want to take on the whole of life’s needs just focus on the birth issue.



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John W Frye

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:52 am


Scot,
I, too, was bothered by the repetitive use of “fight” by McCain (knowing that it is a favorite Obama word as well…”I’ll fight for you” etc.). The thing about McCain, if it holds true, is his actual experience of the very dark side of war (i.e, his POW years of torture). I think we can believe him when he said, “I hate war.” He said it, not as a slogan, but from experience. To jump to the lead on normalization with Viet Nam says something about him.



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steph

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:53 am


I’ve found an answer to a question I had. Both candidates are in favour of renewable energy but disagree on drilling oil. However both are in favour of nuclear energy which isn’t completely safe for us or the environment.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:54 am


sheryl,
I count on the JCreed blog readers to keep it civil. When it’s not, I have to write the person a letter. If the person responds in a way that promises civility, they revise their comments; if not, they can look in through the window.
One of the big issues for this blog is to work on civil conversation instead of just scoring points.
And to several others…
Yes, the pro-life stance deserves to be expanded to consistently pro-life, and for many of us that also means health care and violence in war.



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steph

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:58 am


I like that view of pro life but does it exclude abortions to save the life of the mother and if a woman has been raped and can’t cope? I can’t see that a mother is expected to either die of suffer the trauma of rape with the consquences… although I’m torn there.



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Nancy

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:09 am


I think there is one very big reason why you don’t see one party or the other in a four-year term making any changes regarding abortion rights: that is because it is a Supreme Court issue. So, if a candidate promises to make changes, they are largely able to do so only through court nominations they may or may not have the opportunity to make. The turn-over is infrequent in this regard as the positions are “life-long”.
The healthcare issue is huge and complicated. I have worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years and I have very mixed thoughts and feelings about it. We have excellent research, development and a high standard of care. Not all have access to this, however. And that is an important question…is good health care a right or a priviledge? And if it is a right, how do we ensure that all have access to equal quality of care? And access that does not require long waits, as many who have socialized medicine complain about? I would like to hear more from the candidates on healthcare. It was one of the huge disappointments (for me) of the Clinton admin. Many promises, no changes. I suppose change is difficult given how driven the healthcare industry has become by third party adminstrators (read, insurance)and a litiginous society.
Lots of good thoughts here.



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sheryl

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:11 am


Scot,
Overall, the JC community is successful in civil discourse and you moderate well. I just find the discourse too politically charged now. I just see too many of the comments rooted in one’s party’s talking points and, as a result, not really informed regarding the issue. There is just too much spin on everything. Unless the individual is doing a lot of reading and research and willing to objectively read all the viewpoints and facts (is that possible?), then oftentimes we unknowingly restate our candidate’s or party’s platform.
Yes, the JC community is always civil and though-provoking, but I’m going to pass on this post.



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Dan Brennan

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:14 am


Scot,
I think this is a fair and realistic assessment of American politics the Republican hope. You are spot on about the apocalyptic angle. The differences are not apocalyptic. I think McCain and Palin could do some good things if elected even though I am supporting Obama. I really like what Obama seems to be bringing to the table this election but I am not going to be depressed if McCain and Palin win. The kingdom is indeed much bigger than the way social conservatives frame the “pro-life” issue but I am definitely pro-life.



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Steve

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:24 am


Re: Economy:
Republican (although recently re-registered as Independent) author, Kevin Phillips http://www.americantheocracy.net/about.html has written lots of extensively researched and footnoted books on this topic, and supporting the conclusions below, over the past couple of decades. But (as posted here Saturday in “Weekly Meanderings), now there is an article about another 60 year study (and book, ?Unequal Democracy,? by Larry M. Bartels, a professor of political science at Princeton) which concludes,
?Simply put, the United States economy has grown faster, on average, under Democratic presidents than under Republicans.? And ?when Democrats were in the White House, lower-income families experienced slightly faster income growth than higher-income families ? which means that incomes were equalizing. In stark contrast, it also shows much faster income growth for the better-off when Republicans were in the White House ? thus widening the gap in income.?
I haven?t read Bartel?s book, but I have read Phillips who documents how Republican economic policies resulting in these trends are anything but laissez-faire. And I don’t hear anything from McCain that would lead me to think his administration would be any different than other Republican administrations on the economy.



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Matt Dabbs

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:29 am


“But, I don?t think a Republican White House is the final solution to our problems.”
I always thought the inbreaking kingdom of God and its consummation with the coming of Christ will be the final solution. So its not a Republican and its not a Democrat. So I hope you see fit when you write about Obama to also make the statement, “But, I don’t think a Democrat White House is the final solution to our problems.”
That is equally valid. The moment we think one party or the other, one candidate or the other is the “final solution” we are in real trouble.
Thanks for your thoughts on this. I got a lot out of reading them.



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MatthewS

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:32 am


Jennifer #1,
The GOP always says they will fight against it?and yet, nothing important ever happens.
Not trying to be unkind or start a holy war, just wanted to offer a possible different perspective –
Roberts and Alito, both GWB appointees, both helped uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion. Roberts holds his office due to the nomination of a Republican president and Republican support in congress. Had the court been differently construed, the ban might well have fallen.
On a different but related issue, Obama opposed a born-alive bill in Illinois.
If the next president appoints new judges, those judges will likely affect the outcome of such decisions. So, one way or another, I think sometimes important things do happen.



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Steve

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:33 am


Re: Abortion
We are all familiar with the polarizing labels, ?Pro-Life? and ?Pro-Choice.? But how do you refer to someone who?
Is ?Pro-Life,? but recognizes that the Republican Party has not stopped abortion after decades in power, but has stayed in power partly through the support of the religious right on this issue. In the meantime, other planks of the Republican platform have unduly benefited large corporations and led us in questionable directions as regards our foreign and military policy. And that abortions actually tend to increase under Republican administrations (at least up until the current Bush administration approved the so called ?morning after pill?) while at the same time resources for children?s health and wellbeing are cut, making the GOP platform more ?Pro-Embryo? than truly ?Pro-Life.?
And at the same time that person is ?Pro-Choice? in that they recognize making an informed choice about a matter like having an abortion is far more compelling when made by an individual rather than when that individual is coerced by attempts to ?legislate morality.? But at the same time believes that choice should start with the act of conception itself. That everyone knows the link between sexual intercourse and pregnancy and can therefore choose from a myriad of birth-control methods, and if there is a concern that any of those methods might fail, can choose not to have sex if they for sure want to avoid a pregnancy. And that of all the birth control methods available, abortion is by far the most destructive, not only to the fetus (for which it is fatal) but also many times to the emotional wellbeing of the woman (and man) involved and in some mysterious way, spiritual or not, to our society at large. And that if all else fails and a life is created, that leaves the choice of responsibility in regards to that life, even if she or he is later offered for adoption.
How do you refer to such a person? ?Pro-?? what?
I was never a ?single issue? voter, but I am less inclined than ever to vote for McCain and the Republican ticket on this issue.



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Scott Eaton

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:34 am


Scot,
Thanks for the “fair and balanced” commentary on McCain. Again, you have provided a model of civility in your post which I am confident will continue in the comments.
There isn’t really any candidate that I find particularly exciting. Neither one inspires much confidence. So I have to say that your commentary about the “apocalyptists” rings true. Regardless of who wins this election it will neither be as good as some are hoping or as bad as others are dreading. That’s both helpful and hopeful.
I too dislike McCain’s slogan “Country First.” I hear what he is trying to do – unite people and not parties. But as a person who sees his identity in Jesus and the Kingdom of God this just won’t fly. For followers of Christ I suppose our motto should be “Kingdom First.”



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Dianne

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:35 am


I appreciate this balanced post. I think both parties have some good to offer the country and we have to hope so, because one or the other will win the election.
I am continually amazed though, at all the expectations citizens seem to have on our government. It’s quite a list. All the better reason to understand where our citizenship as believers really lies. And to understand that change is not limited to those in elected offices. And to ask what is my part?



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kj

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:41 am


My greatest disappointment with this campaign is that I thought a McCain-Obama race might provide at least a modicum of civil, reasoned debate between the two parties. I was, of course, too naive.
There was a time that McCain seemed like the best hope for a national politician who could restore some fiscal integrity to the federal budget by addressing the big entitlement programs. To me, fiscal stewardship, as opposed to tax cuts at all costs, is also a Christian value we should look for in our elected officials. Sadly, that seems to have been overwhelmed by the need to shore up the base on tax cuts.



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jason

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:54 am


I too am slightly troubled by the “Country First” slogan, primarily because the implication is that only one candidate puts country first.
On the other hand, I don’t think I’d want a political candidate to campaign on a “Christ’s Kingdom First” slogan either!



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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:57 am


jason at #24,
I agree. The Christian can’t be a “Country First” person — it’s [potentially] idolatrous, and must be a “Kingdom First” person.



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Faith J Totushek

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:02 am


the questions i have about McCain have to do with his focus on military. I have heard him speak several times and it seems as if nearly every response to any question goes back to a military solution for the sake of national security. the second question i have is this… how will taxes be reduced when we must pay for a war? when i hear Republicans speak about smaller governments and reduction of taxes, it seems unreal because we have been barrowing money to finance a 3 trillion dollar war. i am a bit cynical when it comes to the campaign rhetoric and what candidates really believe.



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John Frye

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:06 am


When McCain made the comment to uphold “a culture of life” and not just be “pro-life,” IMO he was addressing the issue of life at all stages of human experience from the embryo to the geriatric patient; and with Palin’s commitment to special needs people, there may be another dimension of “pro-life” emphasized at the highest levels of government.
As far as economic issues are concerned, CNN put out a “do the math” report and IMO Obama’s plans will arrest the potential of the US economy. And, yes, I agree that government shouldn’t be all about money, but it is what it is.



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Tom

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:08 am


Good analysis
I am one who can not in good conscience vote Democratic because of their abortion platform.
But, I think some of their health care proposals are much more in line with the health care struggles of the average person.
Mcain on the militaristic spirit….. We can go either direction with that. I also think McCain has a more realistic view of Russian thugs, Iranian radicals, North Korean communists, middle eastern terrorists, people who would come here and destroy us nationally and personally if given a crack of a chance. Have we spent too much in Iraq and Afghanistan? Maybe. Maybe not if it has protected us from further terrorist attacks. I think that’s a hard question to answer from out here in Hooterville.



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John Frye

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:11 am


Scot (#25),
Come on, “Country First” is not a church slogan. This is a national election phrase. Just like “Cubs are Number One!” is not a spiritual commitment. To call a political slogan like “Country First” idolatrous is not necessary. Do we really expect McCain and Palin, and Obama and Biden to run around the country shouting “God First”?



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Tucker

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:12 am


Scot, thanks for the post. I look forward to your one on Obama.
McCain is an interesting cat. I don’t like the way he has flip-flopped on many issues over the years. It makes me worry about his truth telling. And there are some troubling moral/ethical episodes in his life. He comes across to me as a nice guy, but also as a political animal who tends not to do his homework. Although I don’t think he will be purely “more of the same,” I do think we need a bigger change than he offers, particularly with healthcare, foreign policy, and government lobbyists – all of which I have different views than McCain. For a number of reasons I cannot vote for him.
I am not sure if Obama really offers much change either, or the right kind of change.
Palin is somewhat interesting, but I don’t think she’s ready to be vice president, let alone president (one heartbeat away, etc.). It is exciting, though, to think of having a woman in such a position of authority. This is not without some issues though. There’s an interesting post over at Vintage Faith on the question of Palin and complimentarianism. I found it interesting how quickly people said she’s the one after her speech. Like most all of the convention speeches (RNC & DNC) there was very little real content. Still, she might do a great job.
Overall, I’m with you. We can’t pin our ultimate hopes on this, or any election. And after the election, regardless who wins, I will still need to trust God and work out my salvation with fear and trembling.



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RJS

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:15 am


John,
What bothers me about the slogan is the us/them connotation. I do not expect this from our politicians of either party – but the slogan should be not Country First – but The Greatest Good for All Humanity First (too many words, not very catchy, but you get the idea).



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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:25 am


OK, John, let me clarify. I think “Country First” is a critique of the Repub perception of a Democratic orientation: “Me First.” But the language of “First” is problematic for a Christian. The issue for me is not whether or not McCain or Palin want to say “God First,” and the inappropriateness of such language in a civil, pluralistic world discourse, but the issue is what slogans do we Christians permit ourselves to say?



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Bob

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:27 am


I don?t trust anything a politician says but one?s voting record tells the story of the candidates? actual beliefs, values and which lobbies control his interests. If a candidate vehemently votes against limiting abortion how can you take his ?peace and justice? talk with any credibility. Nobody now debates the legitimacy of slavery. Twenty years from now hopefully the culture will understand abortion in the same way.



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Josh

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:31 am


“They surely won?t usher in the kingdom and it might be good for us to think about that more.” Why would any government, or political system be looked to for ushering in God’s Kingdom? Isn’t this the Churches responsibility? I may be way off in my thinking, but I have never given any thought to voting for a candidate or political party to usher in God’s kingdom? Am I missing something?



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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:46 am


Josh,
The connection to kingdom has been touched on in other contexts on this blog when I speak of the eschatology of politics, the sense one gets that many think if we get the right President then the kingdom is much, much closer.



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Danny Gamache

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:15 am


As a Canadian outside observer, I have been concerned with how much McCain has changed since the nomination was clinched. He seems to have really moved far to the right. Do others see about this too? I too respect John McCain, but this change has concerned me.



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josenmiami

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:16 am


I totally agree with you Scot. I have always admired McCain as man and as an independent thinker.
Two other issues you did not mention is immigration and our diplomatic relations with Cuba. I strongly feel there needs to be a humane and rational solution to the crisis of illegal immigration … and although McCain would do it … the party will not allow him, as it did not allow Bush. There is a better chance for a good resolution to the problem of illegal Mexican immigrants with the Democrat party.
Ditto on normalizing relations with Cuba.
I like many things about both candidates … but I am a 25-year Republican getting ready to vote against the R party, rather than for Obama.



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ChrisB

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:17 am


Good thoughts, Scot, but I think you’ve missed his point in the “Country First” bit.
He’s not saying US before Europe or nation before God. He’s saying country before party and country before John McCain.
Now, he may believe in US before (insert international name here); he might even believe in nation before God (though I doubt it), but the point, that’s not what the campaign’s trying to say.
I don’t think money is the cure for education, and Obama, surprisingly enough, is the first national politician I’ve heard start to express that (though he still wants plenty of money for it). When parents are interested in their kids’ education, the kids do better. No, that’s not all we need, but if we could get inner city parents involved in education, it would be a huge improvement.
Healthcare (from the inside) also doesn’t need more money. It needs less government. Sooo many of our problems are caused by the choices that Congress, state governments, and federal agencies make. A single-payer health care system would solve little and create lots of new problems.



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Jennifer

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:20 am


Matthew #19,
Are you concerned with abortion being legal, or available?
I understand the arguement about needing to get the right judges, but sadly, I dont think that is going to help…or maybe we just took too long to do it.
If abortion were made illegal today, any woman could easily, cheaply, and secretly get the abortion pill online. It doesnt matter anymore if judges shut down the abortion clinics when you can get the pill with a few clicks.
It feels like waiting for the right judges is fighting the abotion battle with 1970’s methods, even though this is 2008. You could make abortion illegal, but you’re still going to have to put a whole lot of effort into reducing the number of women who actually get pregnant if you want the real number of abortions to go down because an abortion can now basically be obtained through the internet.



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Tom

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:25 am


Environment… one interesting area I like about both McCain and Obama is the environmental concern and at least some statements about alternative energy on both sides.



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james petticrew

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:26 am


Sheryl, I reread my post which was one of the first six, which you said worried you because of mud slinging and partisan bickering.
I am sorry if I came across like that, I certainly had no intention of doing so. I am not partisan when it comes to this election. I am a Scot, I don’t vote in this election, and therefore would not presume to tell US citizens who understand the issues and will live with consequences how to vote.
As as I said, I don’t know if healthcare is an issue in your election and so if that was perceived as mudslinging it was done so innocently. I was just genuinely interested about whether an issue which grieved me as a believer during my stay in the States (which I loved) was an issue in an election in which I knew evangelicals have some influence (unlike the UK)



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sheryl

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:30 am


james petticrew (#6, 40) – No, you didn’t get into “mud-slinging” in your post. Scot does a good job moderating so that threads don’t turn into that, but we come awfully close sometimes. I think your post and the first five represent the Pandora’s box that I referenced. That’s all.



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Tim Schultz

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:33 am


How can I still be conflicted at this point? Essentially because of serious concerns with both: The Iraq war with McCain and abortion with Obamaa. As an Anabaptist who is pro-life, this makes for a conflict. Have Republicans, when in power, actually done much in the fight against abortion? Even their choices for Supreme Court justices do not all turn out as they may have hoped. Republican “trickle-down” economics is not what we need at this point either. The bible does seem to present a preference for the poor. But then, on the other hand, the strong pro-choice stand of Biden and Obama disturbs me. In other words, if Obama was pro-life, I would hardly think twice about who to support.



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Jennifer

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:35 am


Sheryl,
I’m sorry you saw my post (#1) as potential mud slinging. It really was an honest question. If I could figure out how McCain was addressing the abortion issues for the modern world (and not by waiting to gather enough judges), I might be more interested. It was a real question, not hidden snarkiness.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:42 am


I gotta admit I wasn’t to thrilled about the “Country First” slogan. It is open to too many counter-narratives being attached. In the context of the convention I understood it to be a call to put others above self. Should JFK have said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for God.”
Had “God first” ever been the theme we all know where that would have led. I consider the slogan an imperfect attempt to issue a call for being-other centered and civic minded. I think it was in part to distance Republicans from the accusation of being the party of greed. It is a biblical concept poorly communicated.



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sheryl

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:51 am


Jennifer (#43, 1) – I’ll repeat what I just said to james petticrew in #41:
No, you didn?t get into ?mud-slinging? in your post. Scot does a good job moderating so that threads don?t turn into that, but we come awfully close sometimes. I think your post and the first five represent the Pandora?s box that I referenced. That?s all.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:55 am


Michael at #44,
I don’t think I’m making my point as clearly as I could: I’m not asking for a more Christan slogan, I’m pointing to the inherent limitation of any political slogan for a Christian. Yes, “Country First” appeals to the need to surrender ourselves, even our lives, for the commonweal of America. It is against selfishness. Fine. Those are valuable. But, to say “Country First” jars the Christian into asking, “But isn’t God first?” Well, yes, God is. So, the political slogan cannnot compete with the Christian’s first allegiance.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2008 at 8:56 am


And I’ll quote Jesus on it:
Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
Render unto God what is God’s.



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John Frye

posted September 8, 2008 at 9:02 am


Scot (#32) and RJS (31),
I take your push backs to heart about the slogan, but I think Michael W. Kruse #44 said what I believe is behind the slogan.
RJS, I have a deeply kingdom of God committed friend who says that the very heart of USAmerican politics from the very beginning is an us/them reality. It is the nature of the nation-state. Sloganeering is part of the competitive reality of national elections. He asks, “Should we change the JFK slogan to, ‘Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for France(?)’.”



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JMorrow

posted September 8, 2008 at 9:30 am


Scot, et al,
I read this blog often, but am a bit uneasy about entering into the discussion here, given the strong opinions but here goes:
I echo the concerns about “Country First”, more so because of the risk that it implies all those who don’t share the same policy preferences as McCain/Palin or vote for another candidate DON’T value their country enough.
While I believe we have relative stability in our politics no matter who wins, I am concerned about how our country’s international reputation does effect mission and cross-cultural efforts for American Christians.
Also, I’m more interested in how Christians feel we can collectively address the health care and education disparities in this country and our peacemaking efforts abroad, than how vigorously we campaign to let politicians do the job. Maybe Scot or others would be interested in doing a post on health care or education ideas using our Scripture, cultures, Church history and imagination as a guide. Christians in this country have been quick to insert themselves in the politcal process, but what would it mean for us to insert ourselves in the issues that concern us?



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Nicholas K.

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:01 am


Scot, John(49)
Ideally Christians would hear a political slogan like “country first” and make the appropriate qualifications in their head: God, not country is first…God’s Kingdom come, not the rule of Republicans or Democrat ect. However, many conservative Republican Christians too easily confuse their allegiances and do not make these important qualifications. So while I agree that McCain’s slogan is not meant as a blatant challenge to Christian allegiance, I do think its potentially dangerous for many Christians who pin their hope for God’s Kingdom on the success of the republican party.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:13 am


#47 Scot
I hope most of us here would agree that God is always first. I think most of the folks on the floor of the convention would agree. Had I been on the slogan committee, this slogan would not have seen the light of day.
My point is that Republican opponents repeatedly cast Republicans as greedy, survival of the fittest, selfish monsters who don’t care about the poor or others. My impression is that Republicans were trying to tap into the rising civic spirit by suggesting we put the civic good ahead of our personal issues. All the spots they did on this topic highlighted civic ideals. That is a good thing. Had they said “Neighbor First” or “Common Good First” would these still not be putting other things ahead of God. And in a nation with church and state separation, is right to have a political campaign with a slogan “God First?”
When I saw this slogan, the first thing that came to my mind was the scene from “Chariots of Fire” where the British Olympic officials are trying to persuade Liddle to run. One of the officials grumbles, “In my day it was King first and God second.” To which another quickly responds “And we saw what that got us, didn’t we?” referring to World War I.
The slogan is poorly chosen precisely because it allows for so many bad interpretations. The sentiment is good. That’s all I’m saying.



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T

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:20 am


RE: the post: This is the kind of political commentary that is appropriately realistic and fair. (The real reason you should neither run for VP nor try to be on television!)
On the slogan, I took it more to be a counter chiefly to the kind of lack of statesmanship that has come to mark politics. The good of the constituency or party or even the particular congressman has replaced good of country. That seems to be what motivates him in the political arena.



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phil_style

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:29 am


The State’s ultimate responsibility is to the citizens of the state, is it not? So from that context to say “country first” makes perfect moral and logical sense.
Does “country first” mean though that the citizens should embrace state as their number one priority, or that the state should embrace citizens as its top priority?
Alternatively, I tend to look at things from a foreign policy perspective, so when I see “country first” I read “US geo-political interests first”, which seems like a scarily selfish notion, depending on what those “geo-political interests” are.
So I must agree with Mr. Kruse, the phrase (while fun for the media to quote ad infinitum) is too ambiguous.



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phil_style

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:42 am


With respect to the environmental issues, a piece turned up in the Guardian here in the UK today, “comparing” the two party’s candidate’s Carbon Reduction Policies. By way of warning, the Guardian has a reputation for left-of-centre bias, and the economist responsible for the article is a publically declared Obama supporter. anyways, here’s the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/08/uselections2008.carbonemissions?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews
What I’d like to know (perhaps from other economists out there – here’s looking at you Mr. Kruse) is if the basic economic arguments in this article are sound. This is one area where interests seem to be squarely at odds, economic v environment (although I think the dichotomy is a little false), and it’s interesting to hear statements like “balancing economic and environmental needs” from the likes of Sarah Palin – when defining these needs is a tricky game at the best of times.



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Glenn

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:51 am


Scot said – “And I?d like to hear a reasonable economic theory ? spend some time explaining how it works ? that drives how Republicans think poverty in the USA can be improved.”
Many people say the Republicans make promises on a Pro-life platform but fail to deliver. I believe many Democrats makes promises about poverty but in reality what actions have they undertaken? In terms of poverty, several studies have been done that consistently show conservatives give far more of their personal income to charitable organizations than liberals. (See for example, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html ) And while the American Government may lag in what it gives internationally compared to other nations, when personal charitable giving is taken into consideration, America gives the greatest. I think many Republicans feel poverty in the USA can be improved through non-profit charities, religious groups and personal sacrifice with government taking a back seat while many of my liberal friends seem to believe the government should lead the way in the fight against poverty.



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D C Cramer

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:57 am


Scot, thanks for all your helpful thoughts so far. I’m looking forward to the discussion on Obama as well. Also, while I understand that who becomes President ultimately does not change our role as Christians (esp. in some extreme apocalyptic way), I am still curious how you would respond to the question of whether or not voting for a candidate who one knows will support immoral policies (in some sense) implicates one with those policies?
J (#50),
“While I believe we have relative stability in our politics no matter who wins, I am concerned about how our country?s international reputation does affect mission and cross-cultural efforts for American Christians.”
This is a big concern for me, one that I think Christians should be taking more seriously. While I am still unsure about how (or whether) to vote, there is one interesting difference between the candidates (and parties) that deserves mention. Though neither candidate is afraid to hijack Christian language for their purposes, I feel that at the moment McCain (and Repubs) tends to use Christian language more often to support his particular platforms (such as the war in Iraq). As Christians and those thinking missionally, this should be troubling.
On the other hand, Obama (and Dems) tends to support his questionable platforms (like his pro-choice stance) with explicitly secular language. (How could he use Christian language, of course, when his position on that issue seems so contrary to the biblical message?)
So, I guess my point is this: perhaps strictly in terms of our evangelical witness in the world, we might be better off having a President who is less explicitly religious one the issues than one who is more. It may sound a bit counter-intuitive to hope for a less-Christian-sounding leader, but that might be just what we need for our evangelical reputation abroad (and in the U.S. for that matter). Just a thought.



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JMorrow

posted September 8, 2008 at 11:08 am


Glenn (#56),
I’d agree that Democrats too often discount the power of dealing with poverty through non-profits, charities, religious groups and personal sacrifice, but sometimes all those methods are employed and poverty still persists. Until we feel comfortable that charity has the sufficient will and resources to replace every social safety net, I can understand if many people want government to keep some of those nets up. The way our country works now, there will always be a person or family in dire straits that cannot wait for charity or the Church to arrive on the scene before assistance is given. Having done some work in social ministry, I find the Church can get overwhelmed by the requests and needs, or is slow in understanding them. I wish it weren’t so, and I pray it will not always be.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2008 at 11:16 am


D C Cramer,
Yes, there is an implication, but there is also an escape clause: namely, some may vote for one candidate, say a Republican, and use their voice to protest dimensions of that candidate’s platform. So, once the person uses his or her voice of protest — making it clear that there is support with reservations — I would that person has acted as a citizen and not implicated himself or herself in the policies with which that person disagrees. The only alternative would be not voting. And not voting is complicity at some level too.



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D C Cramer

posted September 8, 2008 at 11:25 am


Scot,
Would using one’s blog to protest account for the escape clause? ;)



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Glenn

posted September 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm


# 58 JMorrow – “I can understand if many people want government to keep some of those nets up.” I agree. But at what point do government programs begin to overtake the purpose of the church or charity and hinder their work? Sometimes when others make proposals for the government to eliminate poverty or address other social justice issues I feel it negates the need for many community driven groups and diverts money away from better established and accountable organisations. But don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for some government programs that exist like WIC and housing voucher programs, etc.



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Clay Knick

posted September 8, 2008 at 1:23 pm


Wise thoughts, Scot. Thanks for sharing.



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Mike Mangold

posted September 8, 2008 at 1:26 pm


Scot said “I think they will fight against abortion, and I?m confident Palin would work hard for people with special needs.” Well, as a father with a Down syndrome son, I pray that that is true (Sarah Palin has a copy of Angie’s book BTW).
However, we also have 2, sixteen year old sons. Almost fighting age. Do we potentially sacrifice our sons for an extra 40 minutes per week of therapy for Jon?
I’d also like others to know that abortion and Down syndrome are cruelly linked: 9 out of 10 children diagnosed with DS are aborted. The focus in the medical community has been earlier and earlier detection of DS in utero so that abortion as a “therapy” is more acceptable. I’ve much more to say on this but I’m getting off of the blog’s primary focus.



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Preston

posted September 8, 2008 at 2:30 pm


Briefly, A republican in the white house equals one (if not two) conservative, pro-life, supreme court justices placed in office in the next 4, maybe 8 years. Those terms generally last 20 to 40 years. Bush has already succeeded in this… which is massive considering the implications of the court’s decisions and responsibilities. The appointment of one (hopefully two) supreme court justices would do more help to support pro-lifers than just about anything else. Two conservative SC justices would be an epic victory.
Also… many of us have an unrealistic, idealistic view that the church is going to curb over 3,000 daily abortions. I wish that were the case… and I’m sure the church intervenes on some. but the reality is that the church in america is currently not so influential in every social sphere that the numbers would drastically decrease without laws put in place. God established the govt to uphold laws. Personally, whether I like McCain or not (I do like him), or agree with every position he stands for (I don’t agree on everything), I will vote for him based on the supreme court nominations alone. Obama=2 heavily liberal judges for the next 30 years. and I kiss pro-life law reform goodbye for at least the next 4 decades.
And, war is real. Nobody LIKES war and violence. Enough talk of Bush being a ‘war-monger’. The man weeps over kids killed in battle. Again, lets be realistic. If a man walks into my house to kill my kids and rape my wife… You better believe I’d kill that guy or die before I let that happen. A leader PROTECTS. A husband protects his family to the death. Physically… and absolutely, by prayer. A president defends his country.
I see the point of hyper pacifists, and I think it would be glorious to live that way and dream of the day, but Christ hasn’t returned yet.



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Bob Brague

posted September 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm


Scot, I agree with you in #47. But in #48, by quoting the “renders” you seem to be changing what you said in #47 to: Sometimes God is first; sometimes Caesar is first.
Is that what you meant? If I am misinterpreting, what did you mean to imply? In other words, do the “proof texts” in #48 really support #47?



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Darren

posted September 8, 2008 at 2:38 pm


Not that this matters. Wasn’t Jesus a community organizer and Pontius Pilate a governor? Who would you vote for here?
And I love McCain/Palin.



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Jennifer

posted September 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm


Preston,
I love your pro-life passion :-)
But I dont understand the argument about the judges. In an age where abortions can be cheaply and secretly found through ordering the abortion pill online, it seems unlikely that even if the laws were changed today that there would be any less abortions.
I think the day where laws could effect the number of abortions completed is, sadly, gone.
If McCain were acknowledging that realtiy, and not pretending like the judges can actually stop the tide, I’d be willing to listen. If he were talking about how to reduce the number of women have unwanted pregnancies, I would be all ears. The “just hang on and we’ll get some more judges” argument doesnt match the reality technology has brought.



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Preston

posted September 8, 2008 at 4:21 pm


Jennifer,
I totally agree that the Judges have zero power to stop all abortions. The govt simply cannot put a halt of the tide. Yes, it is sad. I don’t so much think that the judges will ‘solve’ the problem, but i think we would agree that 1000 less abortions today would be a step in the right direction. even 100 or 10 because laws are put in place that make it illegal. In chicago there was 125 murders this past month (more than the amount of troops killed in Iraq last month)… so there’s a wave, or tide, of murders. Our response should not be “hey, thats a lot of murder and we most likely can do little to stop the violence and people will still find a way to kill someone even if we make a law against murder (obviously there is a law against it). So what’s the point of making a law against it if people are still going to murder other people?”
In the same way, of course people will still have abortions. People will still grow weed in there basement. People will still post child-porn on the internet. For me, its the principle of making a firm stance against abortion… a law is a firm way for a nation, or govt, or state to say “We won’t tolerate this any longer. We believe that every life matters and that people need to learn how to deal with consequences and take responsibility for their actions instead of avoiding responsibility.”
That of course doesn’t mean that everyone will. They might do it illegally or go to Mexico. I don’t know. But there will always be a remnant of people that do heroine or drive drunk or rape, but none the less, we need as a society, laws against those things that destroy lives regardless of whether they are followed fully or not. Also… I would argue that the consequences of breaking a law keep many people from breaking a law. When no consequences are in place, there is nothing to keep people from breaking a law. You understand where I’m coming from.
I had a friend tell me, arguing for abortion, “abortion should be safe, legal, and RARE.” the conversation was extensive, but i argued that as long as it is legal and there are no consequences in place, it will never be rare. The rare is a idealistic dream.
The responsibility part brings up another huge issue of social behavior and how that effects us as a society…. always avoiding consequences because of embarrassment, shame, inconvenience, career, etc. Anyways… for another blog post i guess. But you get the idea.
Summary: Regardless of wether people adhere to it or not, we (as a nation) should still say legally that having your baby is “the right thing to do.”
I know there is a ton more to this issue than this, but conservative 2 judges won’t hurt the cause! in many ways its the only hope (aside from the local church doing something massive) our nation has for curbing abortion. (notice i didn’t say doing away with abortion).
And yes, McCain and every other politician needs so shoot straight and start dealing with it like reagan did. Agreed. Thanks for the reply!



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Jennifer

posted September 8, 2008 at 4:41 pm


Preston,
I largely agree with you. I think where we differ is that murder already is illegal in Chicago (and everywhere else as far as I know). And yet, 125 murders have happened. Would those murders have not happened if there murder was somehow even more illegal. I doubt it. The murder rate has a lot to do with poverty, with the economy, with larger social issues. When those things improve, the murder rate drops.
Aboriton is similar. If you make aboriton illegal, they are still going to happen. You dont even need a “back ally doctor” anymore. Just like I’m curious what we can do in the larger society to stop murder, I’m interested in what we can do to stop abortion. Making it illegal might make us feel better (and, honestly, it would make me feel better), but it doenst make the problem go away. I’m afriad it would just make us blind to the problem because it would be carried out even more secretly than it is now.



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MatthewS

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm


Jennifer, just kicking around some ideas in my head. I would look at the murder – abortion analogy you and Preston are discussing the other way around.
If one candidate were saying “look, murder is always a difficult choice, but it is a nuanced personal choice” and the other were saying “murder is wrong and I will outlaw it” — that would be a closer comparison. The question is not “Would there have been fewer murders in Chicago had murder been more illegal?” the question is “Would there have been more murders had murder not been illegal?”
The answer is yes – there would be more murders if murder were legal. Murder will happen. Some will not be reported. Still, as a baseline, it is illegal.
Abortion is probably almost as old as pregnancy. It will probably exist until the end of this world. But people will avail themselves much more often of something that is “normal” and convenient. There is a reason Wal-Mart bombards you with junk at eye level at the check-out counter. If you had to walk all the way to the back of the store and specifically request gum, magazines, whatever, then you can bet sales on those items would drop – probably dramatically – and that as a result of simply making it less convenient. We can’t completely wipe abortion out. But making it illegal would make it less “normal” and less convenient and would thus help reduce it.
(I am running on all coffee and no food – if this sounds terse or edgy, I’m sorry – it is meant as conversation and thought experiment.)



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Jennifer

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:55 pm


Matthew,
Not terse at all :-)
I basically agree with you. If getting an abortion required shady activities that socially feel “less normal”, the number of aboritons would likely go down. But, I dont think we live in that world anymore.
If aboriton were illegal, no one has to go to a shady office where a rogue doctor performs an illegal procedure. No one has to attempt it at home with a coathanger. All she has to do is order the abortion pill on the internet.
There are a wide range of behaviors that a normal person would never do in public – go into an adult bookstore; steal music; have an affiar – that somehow they are more likey to do online. To a large number of people, it doenst matter that downloading songs you didnt pay for is wrong, when its done in secret, its much easier to justify. Also, besides secrecy, if a person feels they are breaking a law for a really good cause, they will be more likely to do it – see the 1000’s of churches who break copyright law and feel justified about it.
In fact, making abortion illegal might make it EASIER to get one, because the pill would be available more places, for less money, online.
Because of the internet, I dont think we can stop aboriton through legal means anymore. It’s a different game now. And to win, we need to figure out how to reduce the number of women who get pregnant before they are ready.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:41 pm


I haven’t had time to interact as much as I wanted to on this post. There’s much I’d like to engage but can’t right now. But I think I can definitively say who we should all vote for. Biblical wisdom unmistakably leads us to vote for McCain and the Republcians. It is foolishness to vote for those on the left. Ecclesiastes 10:2:
The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left.

:)



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Jennifer

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:46 pm


Michael,
LOL!!



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Suzanne

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:49 pm


I am a lifelong Republican, that said, I believe we are worse off now than we were 8 years ago…and as I watched every night of the RNC convention, I heard little that was going to change our economy in the future. I also fear that McCain is too quick to pursue a militaristic solution to foreign policy issues, especially at a time when our military is stretched too thin. As to the Pro-Life slant, again I agree with you that that train has left the station, there is little Repubs can do to stop abortion pills gotten over the internet, and I wonder if their pro-life stance has really resulted in fewer abortions? I think we need to give the other side a chance.



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Preston

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:26 pm


Jennifer,
Good conversation so far. I liked your last sentence a lot. You hit on one of the causes of the abortions… unwanted pregnancy. So to win, we encourage women to not get pregnant. Basically saying “before you have sex, really consider the consequences of what might happen.” I think that’s what you’re leading to. But I might add that IF abortion is indeed illegal and difficult to safely go through the procedure (because the govt doesn’t allow pharm companies to produce the drug…which is probably difficult to do), and maybe some other form of consequence (i don’t know where to begin with that one), THAT will be a major cause to women reconsidering “do I want to have sex with this guy?”
When there is an easy outlet with no reprocusions, there is little reason for women to not reconsider having sex. Consider the murder example again. Matthew saw what I was getting at. Thanks Matthew! There is major consequences to murdering someone. Life in jail. no freedom. perhaps the death penalty. or doing Heroin. I could OD and die like the 5 other kids in my high school who did it the first time. Now consider if a girl said to herself “I could have to have a kid like all of my friends… Sally and Jill and Betty and Nancy and Debby and Sue and Paula and the list goes on… wow, I don’t know if I want to risk that too because I see what has happened in their lives.” The same is for drugs… I didn’t do drugs growing up because I saw the effects it had on my friends. Yet some people just keep using drugs. You can’t keep everyone from doing it, but as soon as someone gets pregnant… some people start reconsidering and some people will always ignore it altogether.
My thought is that once people begin to see some tougher consequences and more people have to actually deal with their actions (having the baby and I know there are real and deep emotional issues to work through as well)… eventually women and some men will begin saying to themselves, ‘hey they are having a tough time with that and I don’t want to deal with that.’ And i might say as a side note… this is why Palin’s daughter is getting so little flak from the church… we all sin… what’s the big news? but! we all don’t respond to sin well like she is… that part of the story is to be applauded. She is a wonderful example of someone who is taking responsibility head on and hopefully as more women choose to have the baby (and men stick with the mom), more women will also choose to have their baby or reconsider sex in the first place.
the other issue is of course… none of this changes anyone’s heart (I’ve heard that argument before… what about their hearts? a law can’t change anyone’s heart, etc.) As the Church, we want their hearts right? of course, but neither do laws enforcing murder and rape yet we have them in place for a really good reason…. we value human life. We have a lot of angry people out there that consciously choose not to kill someone because of the consequences and we have a lot (over 3,000 a day) of women out there with a serious decision to make. My hope would be that if people had to actually own up to their choices, reality would lead to brokenness, brokenness to repentance and hope, hope and repentance to birth. I know… that’s a big jump. And that jump rarely happens when all people do and see is people ‘getting away with it’ and experiencing no consequences. Yes, brokenness can come later do to the grace of God, but if we don’t have to deal with it for 9 months and beyond, we usually move on and find some coping strategy to get by.
“Because of the internet, I dont think we can stop abortion through legal means anymore.” I agree, that is probably true.
well, because of the internet, I don’t think we can stop child pornography through legal means anymore. Yet it is still illegal. What if someone said “what’s the point? yes, kids are being exploited sexually and raped for money, but what can we do about it? Making it Illegal won’t do anything to stop it.” I’m guessing we would all be outraged and want to kick that guy in the pants twice. The point is, regardless of whether we can do ANYTHING to stop it at all, it should still be illegal. on moral principle alone. The church and govt knows that without question, child-pornography should be illegal. The world is dumbing-down abortion. Let the church and govt not be mistaken… it is evil.
none of us have the answers because there are hundreds of factors involving abortion and laws and enforcing laws and social pressure and sin, etc. Its overwhelming. So I’m not pretending that the transition from legal to illegal will be an easy one, just a necessary one.
Matthew said this which sums it up for me “We can?t completely wipe abortion out. But making it illegal would make it less ?normal? and less convenient and would thus help reduce it.” The goal is saved life. even if its a fraction. Back to the post… this is why i’ll vote republican. My friend tells me I’m single issue. maybe (although I support McCain for several other reasons). but to me it’s black and white. no grey.
That was way longer than I had intended. Sorry. Thanks for all of your thoughts! :)



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Rog

posted September 9, 2008 at 5:18 am


#66 – Wasn?t Jesus a community organizer and Pontius Pilate a governor?
I know it’s a cute bumper sticker (and Brutus, BTW, was a Senator), but it raises the question. Was Jesus a community organizer? Not sure I see it in the modern/Obama sense, anyway.
And, oh yes, didn’t Jesus put His (Jewish) “country” first? :-)



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eric

posted September 9, 2008 at 11:22 am


I disagree, Scott.
I think that for the Iraqi people, the difference between Republicans and Democrats has indeed been apocalyptic!



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Daniel

posted September 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm


Responding to the post on not to the 77 comments that I just skipped over…
No party can “usher in the Kingdom.” Neither the Repubs…nor the d-rats. As Christians, we respect those that God puts in positions of power whether they are good or bad…each one serves God’s sovereign purposes. I think you made made that point.
The main “down-side” to McCain that I gather from your post is his “militaristic” attitude combined with the ole “country first” slogan. 2 things to remember, 1st – History has proven that peace rarely comes without conflict, and Christ promised us that there would be wars and rumors of wars. So if Christ was right (rhetorical) and there’s guaranteed to be wars, give me the man that has a militaristic background. 2nd – The “Country First” slogan gives me pause until I realize that McCain is coming from a secular standpoint, and his definition of “country” includes those who don’t agree with his ideology (as opposed to China’s “country first” policy.
The pastor who gave the benediction(?) at the RNC prayed something to the effect “Lord, we know that country can’t be first, unless you are foremost.” I’m not sure that’s the best phrasing, but I understand the sentiment. Loyalty to country is a good thing…but loyalty to Christ always comes first.



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Kari Byrd

posted September 10, 2008 at 11:25 am


I had a moment on the subway the other day where I thought to myself “[sigh] If McCain gets elected, it won’t be the end of the world.” However, I sincerely hope Palin never needs to step in as President. Among other reasons, the fact that she JUST got her passport last year makes me very leery of her ability to lead a world power in a global society. And I really believe McCain only picked her because she is a woman, not because she is the most capable person (who happens to be a woman). I find that disappointing. Hillary was qualified and happened to be a woman. It’s not the same with Palin.



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Seeking Disciple

posted September 10, 2008 at 4:18 pm


During the US elections I am always thankful for two things. First, that God is sovereign and that He will place in control whom He so desires (Romans 13:1-4). Second, that I am a citizen of heaven above this earth (Philippians 3:20-21). I am grateful to God that 2 Peter 3:8-13 is still true!
Good post.



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Doug Allen

posted September 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm


I am very disappointed that this election is not a more civil. And more honest. Candidates whose political rhetoric is dishonest or who do not appeal to our better angels, dishonor themselves and create more of the partisan tragi-comedy we have already had too much of. I would hope that everyone would evaluate not just the message, but the messenger based on how the message squares with reality.



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andy

posted September 10, 2008 at 8:26 pm


well i am voting for McCain, I trust him to do more for me and my family than the other guy! McCain’s pick for VP was a Master stroke of a great man who will and has done great things for the USA!! And as far as Jesus, he is the one and only SON OF GOD!



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Peggy

posted September 10, 2008 at 10:55 pm


Doug #81…my sentiments exactly. Well said.



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ron

posted September 11, 2008 at 11:31 am


Seeking (#80). “He (God) will place in control whom He so desires (Romans 13:1-4).” Can we conclude from this that George W. Bush is then God’s person in charge? Further, that either George Bush did not subsequently do God’s will (this is not an unprecedented occurrence for people in governance, at least in Biblical times), or that it was in fact was God’s will that we invade Iraq, torture our prisoners (killing some), ruin our economy, and place a substantial fraction of our personal rights at the whim of a single person occupying the office of the Presidency? I guess I’m puzzled, really, about how this God’s Will thing is supposed to work. Or, if it does work, then I’m not too impressed with God himself.



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steph

posted September 12, 2008 at 4:23 am


#78 Daniel #80 Seeking Disciple: God does not put people in positions of power, people do. I empathise with ron.



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Anonymous

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:28 am


Jesus Creed » Voting for President 4

[...] Last Monday (here) I posted a response to the reader who asked about how anabaptists think about this election. (I don’t speak for all or any other anabaptists.) I made my recurring point: I’m a Christian; my first assignment is to live as a Christian; I don’t think who becomes our next President will lead us to the kingdom nor do I think the next one will lead us to apocalyptic doom. The issue I am exploring today is what will happen if Obama becomes President. [...]



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Anonymous

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:02 am


RedBlueChristian » Blog Archive » TRUTH AND FAIRNESS IN POLITICS #2: ASSESSING THE CANDIDATES

[...] Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed has posted his political assessment of both John McCain and Barack Obama. He highlights what he likes about each candidate as well as his concerns; and he does so in a way that he neither elevates them to quasi-divine status on the one hand, nor demonize them on the other. [...]



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Anonymous

posted September 16, 2008 at 10:33 am


Scot McKnight on the next President of the USA | Scribing: The offical blog of AndrewKooman.Com

[...] Consider his thoughts if Obama and McCain, if they were to become president. [...]



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Anonymous

posted September 16, 2008 at 12:44 pm


Jesus Creed Politics « spermologos

[...] Anyway, these two disparate ideas come together as McKnight has decided to talk through politics on his blog. So far, there is a letter posted that provided the impetus for the series. The other posts are a general introduction, where he says some of the same things I said in my first paragraph, and the first post, which happens to look at McCain’s politics and the Kingdom of God. Scot promises to deal with Obama next. [...]



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