Undecided Voter

Yes, I am an undecided voter. In swing state Virginia. I know that will make some of my friends incredulous. Some because I can’t seem get thrilled about the Palin rally at the Motor Speedway this week in Richmond and others because I haven’t yet broken out my Obama t-shirt (which I won’t be allowed to wear at the polls because of some Republican wangling)

Seriously, I don’t have an Obama shirt and I wasn’t tempted to go to the Palin rally. I truly am undecided.

I would like some advice about who I should vote for. You can do this anonymously so as not to jeapordize our friendship (not that voting for either would because again –I’m undecided)

But what I would like are some REAL reasons to vote for either side. Please don’t trot out the old. I’m pro-life and McCain is pro-life and so I only vote pro-life. Or the other way around. I am pro-life, but since when has a president voted to legalize abortion? I know you can bring up partial birth abortion bill or something like that but I would like an argument other than that.


2 responses to “Undecided Voter

  1. Hey Catherine,
    I showed Jon your post and he was very happy to give you some advice:) I happen to agree with him. Enjoy!

    I like McCain better on most issues and I’d be happy to fill you in why, but I don’t think the conversation needs to go that far. I know you said that you didn’t want to hear the same old pro-life argument but I can’t help myself. I don’t know where you stand on most issues but abortion is the one issue where I don’t think Christians have room to compromise.

    We (Julie and I) applaud evangelicals “broadening the agenda” and questioning typically Republican positions as being synonymous with Christian ones. In fact we are pretty darn liberal on environmental issues and I don’t think Jesus has a discernable opinion in the scriptures on gun control or taxes. We don’t even get that particularly bent out of shape over gay marriage or civil unions. But what bothers us immensely is that evangelicals seem to be flirting with minimizing the importance the abortion issue. The issue isn’t that it is immoral; it’s that the government’s role should be to protect the weakest, most vulnerable segment of the population. I know I don’t need to convince you that the pro-life position is the only one consistent with a Christian worldview.

    Of course the president doesn’t vote on abortion legislation but he does have the opportunity to veto legislation (a big issue since pro-choice legislators now control congress), determine whether abortions are permitted in military hospitals, determine whether our tax dollars will fund abortions overseas and may be called on to make supreme court appointments that may shape decisions regarding the constitutionality of abortion legislation for decades. At the end of the day there will still be abortion on demand for the foreseeable future but electing a pro-life president isn’t just a symbolic gesture, it would likely save some innocent lives. To me this trumps every other consideration and I’d have trouble sleeping at night voting otherwise.

  2. Catherine,
    I’ve been wanting to reply to this for some time, but currently have a stats midterm that’s stealing my time. I did find this on sojourners: it’s Jim Wallis’ charge that we vote based on our values.
    Call if you want to talk about it! (But it’ll have to wait till tomorrow!)

    In any election, we face imperfect choices, but our choices should reflect the things we believe God cares about if we are people of faith, and our own moral sensibilities if we are not people of faith. Therefore, people of faith, and all of us, should be “values voters” but vote all our values, not just a few that can be easily manipulated for the benefit of one party or another.

    In 2008, the kingdom of God is not on the ballot in any of the 50 states as far as I can see. So we can’t vote for that this year. But there are important choices in this year’s election — very important choices — which will dramatically impact what many in the religious community and outside of it call “the common good,” and the outcome could be very important, perhaps even more so than in many recent electoral contests.

    I am in no position to tell anyone what is “non-negotiable,” and neither is any bishop or megachurch pastor, but let me tell you the “faith priorities” and values I will be voting on this year:

    1. With more than 2,000 verses in the Bible about how we treat the poor and oppressed, I will examine the record, plans, policies, and promises made by the candidates on what they will do to overcome the scandal of extreme global poverty and the shame of such unnecessary domestic poverty in the richest nation in the world. Such a central theme of the Bible simply cannot be ignored at election time, as too many Christians have done for years. And any solution to the economic crisis that simply bails out the rich, and even the middle class, but ignores those at the bottom should simply be unacceptable to people of faith.
    2. From the biblical prophets to Jesus, there is, at least, a biblical presumption against war and the hope of beating our swords into instruments of peace. So I will choose the candidates who will be least likely to lead us into more disastrous wars and find better ways to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world and make us all safer. I will choose the candidates who seem to best understand that our security depends upon other people’s security (everyone having “their own vine and fig tree, so no one can make them afraid,” as the prophets say) more than upon how high we can build walls or a stockpile of weapons. Christians should never expect a pacifist president, but we can insist on one who views military force only as a very last resort, when all other diplomatic and economic measures have failed, and never as a preferred or habitual response to conflict.
    3. “Choosing life” is a constant biblical theme, so I will choose candidates who have the most consistent ethic of life, addressing all the threats to human life and dignity that we face — not just one. Thirty-thousand children dying globally each day of preventable hunger and disease is a life issue. The genocide in Darfur is a life issue. Health care is a life issue. War is a life issue. The death penalty is a life issue. And on abortion, I will choose candidates who have the best chance to pursue the practical and proven policies which could dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America and therefore save precious unborn lives, rather than those who simply repeat the polarized legal debates and “pro-choice” and “pro-life” mantras from either side.
    4. God’s fragile creation is clearly under assault, and I will choose the candidates who will likely be most faithful in our care of the environment. In particular, I will choose the candidates who will most clearly take on the growing threat of climate change, and who have the strongest commitment to the conversion of our economy and way of life to a cleaner, safer, and more renewable energy future. And that choice could accomplish other key moral priorities like the redemption of a dangerous foreign policy built on Middle East oil dependence, and the great prospects of job creation and economic renewal from a new “green” economy built on more spiritual values of conservation, stewardship, sustainability, respect, responsibility, co-dependence, modesty, and even humility.
    5. Every human being is made in the image of God, so I will choose the candidates who are most likely to protect human rights and human dignity. Sexual and economic slavery is on the rise around the world, and an end to human trafficking must become a top priority. As many religious leaders have now said, torture is completely morally unacceptable, under any circumstances, and I will choose the candidates who are most committed to reversing American policy on the treatment of prisoners. And I will choose the candidates who understand that the immigration system is totally broken and needs comprehensive reform, but must be changed in ways that are compassionate, fair, just, and consistent with the biblical command to “welcome the stranger.”
    6. Healthy families are the foundation of our community life, and nothing is more important than how we are raising up the next generation. As the father of two young boys, I am deeply concerned about the values our leaders model in the midst of the cultural degeneracy assaulting our children. Which candidates will best exemplify and articulate strong family values, using the White House and other offices as bully pulpits to speak of sexual restraint and integrity, marital fidelity, strong parenting, and putting family values over economic values? And I will choose the candidates who promise to really deal with the enormous economic and cultural pressures that have made parenting such a “countercultural activity” in America today, rather than those who merely scapegoat gay people for the serious problems of heterosexual family breakdown.

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