The Next Election

October 23, 2007

Ok, another foray into politics. It’s a topic I avoid, but happening onto Al Mohler’s blog, I saw this post, and thought … what the hey? Let’s talk about it. I’m going to launch into a bit of a dialectic here — so please don’t think I have any reason to dislike or disrespect Mohler. I may say a few things about him personally, but from what I’ve heard he’s intelligent and a good guy, so my comments will be more aimed at the mindset I find in his post, rather than an attack on his character.

That being said, he seems a little quick to judge. I also do not believe in divorce … but Mohler shows a disdain (one that is not unique to him, of course) for the ideas of others. Though I do not think divorce should be defended, I think that a lot of these evangelical / conservative folks attack ideas before they understand them; or forget that though they are looked on as intelligent and influential in the mid-size pond of evangelicalism, the philosophers, journalists, and politicians they attack may often be quite intelligent and influential themselves and, if not correct, worthy of a “wait a minute, let me make sure I’m right about this.” Aside from the whole nationalistic element of attacking France, which I believe is immature and completely out of place for a leader of the church, this attitude of “look at society, look at culture, look at how dumb they are” is the ideological equivalent of failing to remove the plank from your own eye. Though we are called on to be salt and light, we are also called to be humble, and the focus of our judgment (according to many passages) should be on ourselves and our own context, not outside of it. Think about who Jesus (or Paul) applied polemic to (pharisees, judaizers, etc.); always, the church / Israel is the focus.

So, this leads us to the question: what factors are / are not important for a Christian voter in a Secular state? I’m going to list some ideas, with my responses, and if you disagree or agree, weigh in!

a) Divorce / Sexual history / tabloid fodder

I think it sets a bad example to folks to have someone set up as a role model, who is divorced, and to have that be “not important”. At the same time, evangelicals aren’t exactly setting the standard, are they? And though I might weigh a candidate’s personal life in the balance, I don’t think it’s fair to hold them to a standard even evangelicals don’t meet. Look at David’s life, for instance! One of our role models, who found that myriads of concubines weren’t enough for him, and killed a man to steal his wife! That’s a little worse than Clinton, I’ve got to say.

b) Leadership ability / “character history”

As the newspaper editorial Mohler quoted so rightly observed, a marriage may not be the best indicator of a person’s ability to lead. True, an infidelity can bring a person’s honesty into question; but what about cowardice? Isn’t it more important that a leader be brave and self-sacrificing than that he be 100% honest? George W. showed that he was willing to let others die in his place when he took a spot in the National Guard, through his dad’s influence. In that respect, Kerry showed much more character.

c) Stance on key issues

This is important, too. Although I don’t think that a vote for a pro-life candidate will really accomplish anything, that’s what I really care about. You want someone who, you feel, will share your views and do what you would want done. But that can come back to bite you, too, because politicians make promises, but usually end up doing what they want.

What do you think? I know one thing, it’s about time we had a non-WASP in the White House; that’s a lot more important to me than getting someone who hasn’t been divorced.

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