My name is Aaron D. Taylor and I’m a pro-life Christian. You may not recognize me now, but 8 years ago I attended a Pentecostal Bible school that openly encouraged their students to fast and pray that George W. Bush would defeat Al Gore in the 2000 election. I did. For forty days I skipped dinner after work so I could go to my friend Nick’s apartment and cry out to God for a man in the White House committed to overturning Roe Vs. Wade.
That was then. My current incarnation is a far-cry from the politically self-assured black and white no nonsense God is a republican fundamentalist I used to be. The fact that I won’t declare my allegiance to a political party—be it republican or democrat—is something that I’m reasonably certain has annoyed the snot out of certain friends and family members. Most of the time when the subject of politics comes up in my family, I just smile and nod. (So how about those Rams?)
The odd part about it is, my ambivalent attitude towards all things political isn’t because I’m less pro-life than I used to be, it’s because I’m more pro-life than I was 8 years ago. I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to call myself pro-life and be consistent, then I’m going to have to have just as much respect for human life after the womb as I do before the womb, otherwise, all I really am is pro-birth.
It’s precisely at this point that things get murky. Throughout the decade of the 90’s, sanctions imposed by the U .S. government denied the Iraqi people access to medical supplies and basic sanitation and, as a result, killed about a half a million children. As I look back on it, I can’t recall any high profile “pro-life” Christian leader speaking out against children dying in Iraq as a result of U.S. sanctions. Neither do I know of any Christian leader voting solely on the issue of abortion speaking out against the use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs by U.S. coalition forces in Iraq. Both of these directly affect not only babies, but adults as well—even after the troops leave. My question to single issue voters is this. Does your concern for babies include Iraqi babies or is it only American babies that you’re concerned about?
I can hear the half-screams already. “But Aaron, don’t you know that the sanctions in Iraq and the U.S. invasion were for the protection of the American people?” Well…not everybody agrees with that—and that’s exactly my point. I have no problem with my brothers and sisters in Christ voting on issues that they care about, as long as they recognize that, unless one of the candidates is running against a potential Hitler or Stalin, every vote in a fallen world for a sword-wielding politician is an imperfect vote, therefore Christians have no business trumpeting a particular person or party as the only morally acceptable choice. The reality is Biblical values cannot be translated into the political sphere without a considerable degree of ambiguity—and neither are they intended to.
Take for example the issue of abortion. For all of the charismatic “prophets” and “apostles” declaring Sarah Palin the next Esther because of her opposition to Roe Vs. Wade, the truth is Roe Vs Wade could be overturned tomorrow and it will not make abortion illegal. All it will do is send the issue back to the states and, given the current political climate, most states are unlikely to outlaw it. But let’s temporarily assume that I’m wrong and by some magic-wand (or an act of God) abortion is declared officially illegal in the U.S.A. Will that stop abortions?
No it won’t. Nearly half of all the abortions in the world are performed in countries where abortion is illegal. The reason is because the greatest factor contributing to the number of abortions world-wide is not legality, but poverty. You want to know where the fewest abortions are taking place in the world? Western Europe, where abortions are legal but rare because of policies that “spread the wealth around” much to the chagrin of the USA’s most prominent social scholar—Joe the plumber.
And that’s just the abortion issue. A family member the other day told me that God only cares about the moral issues, meaning abortion and gay marriage. I agree that God cares about these two issues, where I disagree is the idea that God only cares about these two issues. Why? Because there are about 2,000 verses in the Bible that speak to poverty related issues and, last time I checked, I can’t find one verse in the Bible that speaks to the abortion issue—or for that matter the gay marriage issue (which McCain and Obama virtually agree on)—as a matter of public policy.
If the prophets Micah, Isaiah, Amos, Malachi and James the brother of Jesus are going to have any influence on my vote, then I have to conclude that wage related issues are certainly in play for what constitutes as a moral issue. Even more, when I take nearly all the prophets into consideration, I have to conclude that God cares a whole lot about the treatment of refugees. That being said, I now have to ask myself the question of whether God would consider the 2 million Iraqi refugees barely surviving in Syria and Jordan a moral issue (not to mention another 2 million internally displaced people living inside Iraq) and who actually has a plan to help them. At the time of this writing, only one candidate is talking about that and—hint hint—it’s not the “pro-life” candidate.
After an insane amount of thought and study, I’ve decided that I’m going to vote tomorrow. Do I have doubts and fears about the person that I’ve chosen? Yes I do. Is the person that I’m voting for the Messiah? Not by a long shot. Is the person that I’m voting for an imperfect choice? The answer is absolutely yes. But what bothers me is I wonder if my fellow believers who vote for the other candidate are willing to admit the same? I wonder if at the end of the day we can all recognize that thoughtful Christians can be found on both sides of the political aisle? Does God care about more than two issues? To borrow a phrase from a popular American governor, you betcha!