Entries Tagged as 'politics'

William F. Buckley’s Advice for Christian Activists

William F. Buckley (1925-2008), who was perhaps the most well-known conservative in America over the last fifty years, passed away yesterday. He was 82. Like many political and ideological conservatives, I am a Buckley fan, though admittedly a latecomer to Buckley fan-dom; I am a bit too young to have known much about Buckley when he was active in public life. But I like what I do know. Check out the numerous summaries and assessments of Buckley’s life and contribution at National Review Online, the website of the influential conservative periodical that Buckley founded in 1955.

In memory of Buckley, Christianity Today has reprinted a 1995 interview that Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center conducted with Buckley. The topic was the role of Christian conservatives in politics. It was a major (and controversial) topic in 1995, just a year after Newt Gingrich and company captured control of Congress with no small assistance from the Christian Coalition. It remains a major (and controversial) topic in 2008 as Christian conservatives wrestle with the realities of the current political landscape. I commend the article to you.

Vote 2008: Ranking the Issues

Not too long ago, my fellow SBC Witness contributor Nathan Akin wrote a provacative post titled Vote 2008: How Would You Vote if Both Candidates are Pro-Choice? In that post, Nathan made it clear that he could not, in good conscience, vote for a political candidate who is pro-abortion. That post generated some interesting comments, though regrettably not as many as it should have.

To piggyback on Nathan's earlier post, I want to raise a question: as we approach the 2008 primary season, how would you rank the issues? In other words, in your opinion what are the five or ten most important issues at stake in 2008, and in what order would you rank those issues? I ask this question assuming that none of us agree 100% with any political candidate, thus making it necessary for us to have some type of personal grid we use to assess candidates and make a reasoned decision.

Please note that this post is about political issues, not things like a candidate's character, religion, electability, etc. While those may be legitimate things to take into consideration, please focus specifically on how you rate the actual issues that are being debated by the candidates.

Thanksgiving Miscellanies

Every year the President of the United States issues a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. The 2007 proclamation is available here.

In related news, I do not know what "makes" Thanksgiving for you, but two things (besides food and family/friends) do it for me. The first is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which I always enjoy watching (it comes on in five minutes!). The other is watching footage of American troops celebrating Thanksgiving overseas and sending greetings to loved ones back home. I cannot imagine what it is like to be in their position, and I truly appreciate the sacrifice they are making–even on Thanksgiving–to serve their country.

I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving.

The Best Political Ad Ever?

You can find it here.

Vote 2008: How would you vote if both candidates are Pro-Choice?

rud

I graduated from Murray State University several years ago with a degree in Political Science. I must admit, however, that my political zeal has waned in the past few years and even with a presidential election forthcoming I still have little interest. When attending Jonathan’s church a year ago, I heard him make a statement that I fully embraced. He said, “I will never vote for a candidate that is pro-choice.” That is a direct statement. Yet, we are at a point where we might have to put our vote (or not put our vote) where our mouth is. The presidential race might very well end up being a contest between two candidates with weak records on abortion and gay rights. CNN’s website has an article from their religion writer Roland Martin entitled, “Will evangelicals choose Giuliani over faith?” I believe this article is a necessary read for any evangelical.

    Roland Martin explains that Pat Robertson has endorsed Giuliani for president. Concerning this situation Martin critiques, “Evangelicals cursed and screamed when President Clinton had an affair in the White House, but it's clear they are willing to overlook the past marital failures of Giuliani, his fractured relationship with his children and his support for gay and abortion rights when mayor of New York. Those are not the family values they have beaten into the nation's consciousness for nearly 30 years.” Martin believes that Jerry Falwell would have supported Giuliani as well because before his death he stated that National Security was the most important issue, even above homosexuality or abortion. Martin then makes an evaluation of evangelicals that, if true, is most disheartening and appalling, “For years I have maintained that the focus of evangelicals was never really principles of the faith but the Republican Party.” This could be a major indictment against evangelicalism. Let me be clear. I have always voted for the Republican candidate, and I believe the Republican Party (traditionally) has more closely aligned with Christian principles. I do not think there is much to debate here. However, I am becoming more and more disenfranchised with politics everyday and with the Republican Party. This is not because I am shifting towards the Democratic Party, which I still oppose for its traditional outlook on the murder of babies in the womb and homosexuality. This language is harsh, but the murdering of innocent human life is a volatile issue.

    We have a real dilemma facing us as evangelicals. I write this blog partially to give my point of view, but also I want to hear from you. Do you disagree with me? Do you agree with me? How will you approach the election if it is Clinton vs. Giuliani? Do you think our integrity as evangelicals is at stake? Do you think conceding the election will send a message to the Republican Party?

    Let me make clear where I stand. I will not vote for Giuliani, and if the race is between him and Clinton, I will write in a vote for Al Mohler or Mike Huckabee. Let me say that I believe national security is important, but where do we think that our security and hope lie. The Lord told OT Israel repeatedly to not trust in chariots and horses for their defense, but to trust in Him! I would respectfully disagree with Dr. Falwell; we should never sacrifice ideals for safety if we trust in the Providence of God. I believe interaction in the political realm is important for the believer, but I do not think that means we give carte blanche to the Republicans if they reject Christian principles. I think this is a matter of integrity.

    If, as Mr. Martin asserts, evangelicalism is more concerned with the Republican Party than Christian values, then evangelicalism no longer exists. If this is evangelicalism, then I am no evangelical. I hope and pray that he is wrong. I used to hang so much of my hope on presidential elections, I remember as a teenager believing that the world was “coming to an end” when Clinton defeated Bush. I remember Bush defeating Gore and how important I thought that was and believing that all was right with the universe. Given my past mentality, I think my present disillusionment with politics might not be such a bad thing. That does not mean that I will not participate in politics, but it does mean that my hope lies elsewhere. I heard my father say years ago, “My hope is not in Capitol Hill, it is in Calvary’s Hill.” We hope in the King who died on Calvary’s Hill and rose from the dead to make all things right. We long for that day, a day when the murder of babies will not be an issue, and King Jesus will show what real power and justice looks like… and with that day drawing near this Political Scientist (if i can say that) has hope, even if Hillary Clinton is elected President.

Dr. Daniel Akin Endorses Huckabee

Dr. AkinOne of the SBC's most respected leaders (and one of my favorite preachers), Dr. Daniel Akin, recently endorsed Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. The brief report says that

Akin made the endorsement as a private citizen, telling The News & Observer newspaper that the former Arkansas governor's positions on issues, such his opposition to abortion rights and his support of the traditional family, closely align with his own positions.

You can check out the story here.

HT:RS

Grudem Endorses Romney

On a related note, Dr. Wayne Grudem has gone on record as endorsing Mitt Romney for president in 2008. He has written a cogent and concise argument of why he believes that Romney is the best choice for Christians.

Press Here

Obama and Romney: A Peculiar Decision

Over the past few weeks several Evangelical leaders, as well as some prominent Southern Baptist Convention pastors, have publicly endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for president in the 2008 election. Mitt Romney is Mormon. Mormons tend to have many of the same ‘values’ as Southern Baptists in that they are strong on family values, anti-homosexual marriage, prolife, etc, and is aligned with the Republican party, which so many Evangelicals and Southern Baptists are aligned with.

However, there is something about our leaders publicly endorsing a non-Christian that leaves me feeling queasy. I understand that we are electing a president and not a pastor but I do not feel comfortable publicly endorsing a candidate who, despite what he says, cannot have my morals because he does not have the true Christ…but he is Republican, which if one does not realize, is not the official political party of Christianity. 

Now let me turn for a minute to the other side of the coin. Last month at my church, the First Baptist Church of Columbia, SC, Illinois Senator Barack Obama dropped by for a worship service. Our pastor publicly acknowledged him and he received an ovation. All the pastors on staff thought it was rather strange that he would ask to come to the service since we are a traditional, conservative, BFM 2000 Southern Baptist Church. Nevertheless, he was welcome in our church…but Obama is a Democrat. 

However, Obama claims to be have a salvation experience. You can find the article here. (Oops, I lost the link….trust me, it exists) He was asked if he was an Evangelical. By asking this question, he was being asked also, if he were somewhat of a Republican, because all Republicans are Evangelicals and all Evangelicals are Republicans, right? Here was his answer:

“Gosh, I'm not sure if labels are helpful here because the definition of an evangelical is so loose and subject to so many different interpretations. I came to Christianity through the black church tradition where the line between evangelical and non-evangelical is completely blurred. Nobody knows exactly what it means. "Does it mean that you feel you've got a personal relationship with Christ the savior? Then that's directly part of the black church experience. Does it mean you're born-again in a classic sense, with all the accoutrements that go along with that, as it's understood by some other tradition? I'm not sure."  

Now, I will admit that is a confusing answer. Has he accepted Christ via the “black church experience?” He seems to be very postmodern in his answer. He continues,

 “My faith is complicated by the fact that I didn't grow up in a particular religious tradition. And so what that means is when you come at it as an adult, your brain mediates a lot, and you ask a lot of questions. "There are aspects of Christian tradition that I'm comfortable with and aspects that I'm not. There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go, 'Ya know, I'm not sure about that,'" he said, shrugging and stammering slightly.”

There is Obama in a nutshell. A man who grew up with a pluralist background but a man who claims to have found Jesus. If Obama is indeed regenerate, which only he and God knows, then it would make sense that he would be struggling with moral and biblical issues being that some of his stances are against God’s plan. However, it seems he is a work in progress, which all Christians are.

What am I saying? If somehow Obama and Romney both won their primaries would it be wise/smart/sstupid to vote for a nunbelieving Republican over a Democrat believer who seems more honest and candid and less dogmatic then Jimmy Carter, a Southern Baptist? 

Should we vote for a person who has our morals but not our faith? Is it possible to truly have Christian morals if one is unregenerate? (Romney) 

Should we vote for a person who is more liberal on moral issues yet seems to have a clear born-again experience and is someone who admittedly struggles with knowing right from wrong? (Obama)

Should pastors publicly endorse anyone? Isn't that illegal?

I don’t know the answer to these questions but maybe you all can shed some light on it for me.