Sunday, November 09, 2008

Top Five: Things Obama Didn't Talk About

Yes, we did, and I include myself in that yes. I was one of the change voters; not that I think an Obama presidency is going to bring in the millennium, the age of Aquarius, or even "change the way business is done in Washington". But at the very least I felt it was necessary to remove the power of the executive from a political party that took our nation to war on a false casus beli.

Nevertheless I do have some reservations about President-elect Obama, and amidst the deserved congratulations for an excellent campaign and the excitement about electing the first African-American president, I feel it is necessary to express that my support of his agenda is not unqualified. While I disagree with Obama regarding the issues of homosexual marriage and abortion--issues for which, in my opinion, executive power matters less than legislative--I am more concerned about the issues he didn't talk about, or at least didn't communicate to me, during his campaign. It will be interesting to see how he addresses, sidesteps or exacerbates these problems.

Top Five Things Obama Didn't Talk About
  1. How The Economy Will Impact His Promises
  2. Signing Statements
  3. Congress Shifting Its War Powers to the President
  4. Illegal NSA Surveillance
  5. Ending American Imperialism
Is there anything Obama didn't talk about that you hope he'll address? Maybe you're worried he won't? Let us know.

P.s. How do I update my spellchecker with the words "Barack" and "Obama"? "Hussein" is already there.

Monday, November 03, 2008

What Would Jesus Vote?

Jesus, of course, did not live in a liberal democracy, and therefore never cast his vote in an election or on a ballot proposition. But Christians across America will have the opportunity to do so tomorrow and may well wonder if Jesus would have them vote for anything beyond their own self interest. I believe that, although the Bible does not specifically address elections, it does communicate certain responsibilities God expects governments to care for. Based on these, I've identified three things Christians should consider in making their voting decisions.

A Christian vote is a vote for:
  1. Freedom Of Conscience (Dan. 3, Rev. 13) - Issues: freedom of worship, civil liberties, torture, homosexual unions
  2. Just Institutions That Protect Life And Property (Rom. 13:1-7, Amos 5:15, Matt. 22:21) - Issues: defense, peace, abortion, death penalty, handgun control, police, judges, budget, child protection
  3. Care Of And Opportunity For The Disadvantaged (Lev. 19:9-10, Lev. 25) - Issues: welfare, health care, debt relief, environment, workers rights
These three may seem like obvious social goods, but a careful look at the issues may make certain voting decisions less clear to you. For example, voting on homosexual unions one way could threaten freedom of conscience by imposing traditional values on homosexuals, yet voting on the issue the other way could threaten freedom of conscience by imposing secular definitions of homosexual rights on religious organizations. And when voting for a candidate, there's always a gap between what they say they'll do, what that actually want to do, and their ability to implement their agenda or even govern effectively.

Yet this should not cause us to shy away from voting altogether (although actively abstaining may be the right thing to do). Jesus told a parable about a master who give his servants talents, and it was the one who took no risk with his talent that was condemned (Mat. 25:14-30). In democracies around the world God has given Christians the opportunity to vote, and they must thoughtfully consider how they will use that gift, not for their own self-interest, but to help God's "deacon" (Rom 13:4), the government, accomplish its God ordained task in this world.

Is Christ lord of your vote?