Tag Archives: politics

Should Christians Vote for Obama or Romney? No!

(Originally written November 4, 2012)

It’s the final weekend of election season. As usual, Christians across America have heard all about how important this election is; and how it is their duty, not only political but spiritual, to vote; and even in some cases, how it’s permissible to vote for people of such dubious moral character as the current list of candidates.

Christians are urged to participate in the selection of their secular leaders. It has even been suggested that refraining from voting would be sinful! The Church, it seems, has gotten herself so deeply involved with this red white and blue idol that she doesn’t even realize she’s being unfaithful to her Lord.

To begin with, it is entirely unchristian to vote for Barack Obama. There is simply no excuse. Even the possibility of ignorance as to his real nature has been eliminated by four years of dreadful experience. Four years ago, as the economy had taken a very serious turn for the worse, people might have been excused for thinking Obama had some different strategy than the Republicans had for turning it back around. Instead, he added to Bush’s bailouts and buyouts, with the Federal Reserve system maintaining the course of “Quantitative Easing.”

Four years ago, as the nation of Iraq continued to be destroyed, without provocation, by the invading American military, Obama promised that “the first thing” he would do as President would be to end that war. Apparently in ignorant acceptance of that promise, one of the first things he did was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Three years later, Obama was attempting to extend America’s military presence in Iraq, and the Iraqi government refused to renew the Status of Forces Agreement. In other words, the war came to a superficial and temporary end, exactly contrary to the Presidents intention to continue breaking his promise.

Obama has taken his predecessor’s power grabs and built on them. In utter disregard for the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the so-called Patriot Act allows federal government agents to spy on and arrest citizens without a warrant (or with a self-written warrant). When Bush signed the Act, Obama claimed to oppose it, but he has renewed it throughout his presidency as well. Even worse is the National Defense Authorization Act, under which U.S. citizens can be detained indefinitely without recourse to habeas corpus. Obama claimed he would not exercise that particular power, but when it was challenged in court, his Administration sued to maintain that specific portion of the so-called law.

Barack Obama has attacked men, women, and children around the world, in undeclared wars and “strategic” drone strikes. He sent men and women of the U.S. military to invade Libya, again without provocation. Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was killed in a drone strike. Needless to say, he was never read his Miranda rights. The Administration claimed that they knew of ties that he had to terrorist organization, but refused to reveal any incriminating information whatsoever. The people were simply expected to take Obama at his word, that the American citizen he had assassinated was indeed some sort of terror threat.

But even that doesn’t suffice to explain the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Anwar’s son, who was born in the U.S., and was a teenager when he was killed, along with his cousin, in a separate drone strike. Obama’s Administration never even claimed that this boy had engaged in any illegal or questionable activity; they justified this outright murder by claiming Abdulrahman was guilty by association with Anwar, by virtue of being his son.

Obama is well-known for his corporatist health care program, which is a massive law requiring Americans to purchase health insurance. Many citizens are justly outraged at this invasion of their private lives.

He has continued, just like every single President in my lifetime, to authorize federal funding of Planned Parenthood, that infamous corporation devoted to the mass murder of unborn children.

These are all manifest evils. A man who has this kind of record should not be looking forward to the possibility of re-election; such a man should fear prosecution for war crimes. He should be considering exile in the hope of escaping the shame of his many atrocities. He should be facing impeachment for his routine violations of his oath before God to obey and uphold the Constitution of the U.S.

Most importantly, a man who has this kind of record should never, under any circumstances whatsoever, have reason to expect followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to vote for him. Christians ought to recognize that endorsement of these wicked acts and policies is out of the question. What possible biblical justification can there be for any of them?

Being rid of this evil tyrant should be a high priority indeed, not just for our personal lives, but in the interest of peace for the Church and in the interest of justice. As Ambassadors of the Kingdom of Christ, we must promote what is right and oppose what is wrong in every sphere.

And so, it would seem, the people need some alternative to Barack Obama. If Christians can’t vote for him, then perhaps they should vote for someone else. And who is the alternative? Who is the only candidate besides Obama that has any possibility whatsoever of winning this election? Willard Romney.

[For the present discussion, I will set aside the question of third-party and write-in candidates. If Christians were to take seriously the point I am making about the Democratic and Republican candidates, they would already be taking a monumental step in the right direction.]

What kind of alternative is Romney? Obama has promoted and participated in bailouts; inflation; mandatory health insurance; federal funding for abortion providers; indefinite detention of citizens without habeas corpus; the murder of citizens without trial or charges; drone strikes that kill men, women and children; illegal undeclared wars, invasions and occupations around the world. Romney agrees with each and every one of these, without exception.

All the wickedness I mentioned, that disqualifies Obama to receive endorsement and votes from Christians, equally disqualifies Romney. Indeed, there is much more that the two agree on, that Christians should find repugnant, including their mutual support of the Social Security scam, countless federal departments that strip away citizens’ spheres of responsibility before God, the TSA’s disgusting and perverted treatment of human beings at airports, and on and on goes the list.

So let me be clear: it is absolutely unconscionable and unchristian to vote for Barack Obama, and it is entirely equally unconscionable and unchristian to vote for “Mitt” Romney.

Homosexual Marriage: What Battle Are We Really Fighting?

(originally written May 10, 2012)

The voters of North Carolina passed a ban on homosexual marriage. The President made a speech in favor of the government recognizing homosexual marriage. And so, once again, it has become a hotly urgent issue in American politics, coincidentally occurring just in time to distract us from any number of other issues that affect us as individuals a great deal more.

As Christians we have to deal with this question very carefully: our stand for biblical morality must be unyielding and unrelenting. Indeed, our devotion to the God of the Bible must form the basis of all that we do – in every activity in which we participate, we must do everything for the glory of God. So we will not be intimidated or ashamed; we will boldly speak the truth of the Word. This necessarily includes the Bible’s teaching on sexual morality. But beyond what we say, beyond the position we personally adhere to, what sort of action ought Christians to take regarding homosexual marriage? With this question, we enter a new realm of conversation: the nature of interaction between the Christian Church and the unregenerate world. How ought Christians to relate to their surrounding culture? How about the civil government?
It is absolutely certain that our commitments regarding these more fundamental questions will determine which kinds of action we advocate taking with respect to the immediate issue. Those who believe that it is the duty of the civil government to uphold and enforce the whole moral law of God will undoubtedly argue that Christians must promote laws to punish not only homosexuality, but also prostitution, pornography, and drunkenness (they don’t often call for civil laws against sloth, envy, idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, gossip, or heresy, but we’ll assume for the sake of consistency that they’d like to see such laws eventually as well). Others argue that the proper role of civil government only extends to issues of justice among men, i.e. defending against acts of aggression, to maintain peace and order, while leaving other matters of personal morality to Him who judges justly. Still others believe the institution of the civil government itself, at least as presently conceived, is by definition aggressive and thus incapable of being an appropriate arbiter even on this more limited range of issues. And within each of these groups there are differing perspectives as to how Christians ought to inform, encourage, petition, or even force the civil government and the culture at large to conform to their proper roles. In short, if a Christian opposes homosexuality, it does not necessarily follow that he believes there ought to be a civil law banning homosexual activity; likewise, if a Christian opposes such a law, it is not necessarily the case that he is winking at immorality, or wavering in his commitment to the teachings of Scripture, or weary of the fight in the inevitable culture wars.

In a blog post this morning, Kevin DeYoung argues that Christians are tempted to “go silent and give up the marriage fight,” but instead “should continue to publicly and winsomely oppose bestowing the term and institution of marriage upon same-sex couples.” To briefly recap DeYoung’s reasoning:

1. Whenever “gay marriage has been put to a vote … the people have voted to uphold traditional marriage.”
2. “The promotion and legal recognition of homosexual unions is not in the interest of the common good.”
3. Marriage has a real, specific, biblical definition, and so “we should not concede that ‘gay marriage’ is really marriage.”
4. Legalization promotes cultural normalization of what was historically considered deviant behavior.
5. “The next step after giving up the marriage fight is not a happy millennium of everyone everywhere doing marriage in his own way. The step after surrender is conquest.”

A potentially serious problem with this reasoning appears in the light of the “prior questions” I mentioned above. DeYoung is clearly operating on the assumption that the Church’s fight with respect to this issue properly takes place in the realm of public politics. He might insist that, rather than an assumption, this is what he’s trying to prove, but that would only mean that his argument begs the question. He jumps right into questions of democratic process, legal recognition, cultural normalization, etc. Evidently, for DeYoung, the alternative to participation on these terms is surrender of the Biblical definition of marriage. DeYoung naturally has his own view of the nature of ecclesiastical interaction with the culture and the government, but by not making that view explicit, he leaves us with a very unclear picture of just what pertains to the Church, the culture, and the government, as specific entities with specific roles. In fact, he seems to have them all blended together in one giant struggle for control over the moral direction of the masses.

My question comes down to this: what battle are we really fighting? Take DeYoung’s first point, for example. “Every time the issue of gay marriage has been put to a vote by the people, the people have voted to uphold traditional marriage.” Does this mean that the majority of voters are upholding Christian morality? Is “traditional marriage” – namely, heterosexual monogamy – some sort of common ground between the biblical view of marriage as a picture of Christ and the Church, and the worldly view of marriage as practically advantageous, or “normal,” or whatever? Are unrepentant, unregenerate sinners “on our side” in a battle over cultural morality because they happen to vote our way? Also, what if this were not the case? What should Christians conclude if “the people” routinely and overwhelmingly voted in favor of homosexual marriage? Morality was never up for a vote to begin with, was it? If the Church would not be *losing* when the people vote against biblical morality, then it’s not really proper to say the Church is *winning* based on the people voting against a particular immorality either. What is really at stake?

In making his second point, DeYoung brings out a fairly collectivistic argument as to why this is such an important fight: “The society which says sex is up to your own definition and the family unit is utterly fungible is not a society that serves its children, its women, or its own long term well being.” Well, who specifically are we talking about? Are we talking about my son, baptized and raised in the Church by his father and mother? I suppose not, because whatever “society” does, it certainly does not raise children all by its fictitious self. Individuals “say sex is up to your own definition,” etc. Other individuals teach their children that God teaches us the non-negotiable truth in His Word. This is the case no matter how the vote goes, and no matter what the President says.

The central issue is that people’s hearts and souls are ultimately unaffected by the political process. The Church can waste its time trying to extract goodness and morality from the stony hearts of the unregenerate. We can fight one political and cultural battle after another, exhausting our resources until we finally discover that wicked people are going to do what they choose, all the way to their own destruction. We can plead with our rulers, begging evil men of power to command other evil men to do what is right. We can turn ourselves into despots, dictating the will of God upon those who lack the military might to resist us, never getting anywhere near their desperate need of the freedom that can only be found in Christ.

Christian morality is not a fight that belongs in public politics, at all. It comes right down to the fact that the gospel of grace is the only source of salvation, the only way to do anything pleasing to God, and the gospel is not spread by the sword, nor can it be. Civil laws against homosexual marriage do not serve as a proxy for biblical preaching about sexual morality. They aren’t intended to. Most of the people who voted aren’t even Christians to begin with. So rather than waste time trying to legally transform an unregenerate “society,” the Church can do what we are called to do, as the Church. We have the light of the gospel, and we are called to preach repentance and salvation to everyone. This is the only way we have any hope of doing any positive good – but indeed, we have the certainty of God’s blessing on our efforts, and the real transformation of people’s hearts and lives! When the State has become the arbiter of the definition of marriage, the Church is not in a good position. The appropriate response is not to get in there and make sure they define it right. The Church would be much better served by denying the State its illegitimate claim to jurisdiction over this institution of God’s.

Suppose the government declared that, for practical purposes – a census, perhaps – it was necessary for everyone to report whether they are members in a church. That would be the precise moment to resist! For what would inevitably follow? The government would demand proof of membership, based on its own, legal, definition of church membership. The very keys of the Kingdom would have been handed over to Caesar! At that point, Christians ought not to bother trying to persuade heathen state officials of a biblical definition of church membership. Whatever ills await the Church as a result of its illegitimate arbiter are already automatically on their way. It scarcely matters how they define it; if it’s theirs to define at all, then the battle is already lost.