I can hear the cries of now- “That’s just Un-American” “It’s our duty as Christians to vote.”
The fact is that I just don’t believe those sentiments to be true. They might be true for someone who chooses not to vote out of laziness or apathy. But after this campaign season, with the choices that are laid before me, I’ve come to the realization, that the strongest vote I can cast is the vote for neither candidate.
We used to have this idea that candidates had to earn our vote. That idea has long been exchanged for “I may not like X, but he’s better than Y,” and in the past, almost every time, I’ve voted with that mindset.
Please understand that it’s not some misguided youthful idealism that stops me from voting. I’m not waiting for the perfect candidate. I’ll give some things up in order to have the greatest good. It’s just that I can no longer see where that great good is.
Right now one group of people is saying, but Shane, what about life issues? How can you not vote for protecting life?! I’ll get to the specifics on that in a second, but let me plainly respond by asking: Remember when we had a Republican President and abortion stopped for 8 years? Me neither.
On the other side you might be saying, but Shane, aren’t you tired of war and fear mongering, how can you not vote to end violence? I’ll get to that too, but let me ask: Remember when a Democrat was elected 4 years ago and our soldiers were brought home? Me neither.
So first, let me come out of the Life closet. I’m strongly pro-life, but not in the way it’s been politicized. I’m pro-life in the most literal sense (or at least I’m striving to be). I’m with Brennan Manning who said “abortion and nuclear weapons are two sides of the same hot coin minted in hell.”
Even when speaking specifically of abortion, no candidate stands up for the unborn, either in prohibition, OR the social conditions (i.e. health care for starters) that make a person feel that it is a necessary option.
But life issues are bigger than that (not smaller, but bigger). We believe in a Jesus who deeply and passionately loves and gives value to the life of the soldier, the Iraqi and Afghan citizen, the poor, and the oppressed all over the world.
If one group believes life begins only on this side of the birthing canal, the other group believes that it ends there.
Please understand that my decision to not vote for a Presidential candidate is not one that I’m calling on anyone else to make. There are some valid reasons to vote for each candidate, but what I reject completely is this idea that one party/candidate is the defender of what is good and righteous, and that he is the obvious choice for the serious Christian. If there is any obvious vote for the Christian, it might be to vote reluctantly.
This may seem like a pessimistic viewpoint, but I assure you that it is not! It reminds me “not [to] put [my] trust in princes, in human beings who cannot save (Psalm 146:3),” that “unless the Lord watches over the city,the guards stand watch in vain (Psalm 127:1),” and our hope is in Christ alone, and this hope does not disappoint! And that is brighter than any candidate!
I don’t post this easily and I’m aware of it’s potential to offend and anger. I stand by what I say, but let me just ask for gentleness and civility. I’d really like to know where you are on this. Where has your journey taken you in regards to politics this season?