This coming November 4, less than two weeks away, I fully intend to cast my vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States.
This doesn't sit too well with a lot of the people around me, particularly those back home and in my family.
The most mentioned issue, of course, is abortion, mostly in the vein of "how can you vote for a baby killer?" I regularly get anti-Obama emails from my aunt, the most recent of which included yet another youtube video. It's a video that compares McCain and Obama's stances on abortion. It's nothing new - I've been emailed a few such videos.
So, the question remains - how can I vote for someone who ruthlessly murders the fetuses so prominently displayed in said video?
My answer is twofold. Firstly, I will say that I don't totally agree with Obama on abortion. He is a bit far left of me. But abortion is not my issue, for a few reasons. I believe that unless you are running for office, you will never 100% agree with a candidate. And even then you will probably have to make some compromises to pander to your base. There are many other reasons that I am voting for Obama, and abortion is one issue that I disagree with among many that I agree with.
Secondly, I am personally conflicted about what laws should be made around abortion. Personally, I think abortions are a terrible thing, and should never be necessary. But one of the reasons I am more liberal that I was raised to be is that I am vehemently against legislating Christian morals. That's what the Church of England did, it's what the Pharisees did, and it's what the Religious Right is trying to do. The first eventually resulted in the country we now call the United States.
The second is what Jesus spent a good part of his ministry railing against.THE GOOD PART
In fact, the very end of the above-mentioned video is why I decided to write this note. It used the imagery from the Passion of the Christ of Jesus drawing a line in the sand, presumably to invoke battle imagery - "This is the line, cross it and be with us or stay there and prepare for war" kind of thinking. The use of this particular imagery (from the biblical passage in Luke 8) struck me for two reasons.
First, Jesus was doing anything but when he was drawing that line (or whatever he was doing in the sand, we don't actually know). He was defending an adulterer, of all things, from the Pharisees! I would assume that to many of the Religious Right, their ideal America would involve outlawing adultery. But here we have Jesus, telling the Pharisees (who did just that) that it's not their place to judge. The famous "let him who is sinless cast the first stone" passage. And then, when he had the chance, did he condemn her? No - in fact, the Bible says, "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." He put the responsibility for her actions right back where they belong - on her, not on the law. If Jesus were in politics today, I can't help but think he would get pounded for "promoting adultery" and "endorsing infidelity" for his stance.
Second, the Religious Right often uses the abortion issue to try to corner people like me - the "how can you vote for a baby killer" question. Strangely, right there in the black and white of scripture, was this:
They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
The Pharisees were trying to pick something that Jesus couldn't possibly object to - she was an Adulterer, for goodness' sake! - and get him on their side. They were taking a single issue and setting it up in black and white, trying to corner him into either condemning or commending her actions.
Jesus' response is a good summary of how I can vote for Obama. I don't want to misappropriate Jesus for my cause. I don't know what Jesus would do about abortion if he were running for president, although I tend to agree with Huckabee. But it helps elucidate my position. I don't think it's the place of the government to go legislating religion - as my other notes have said at length. Change on issues like abortion and gay marriage doesn't come from the outside by the government - it comes from the inside, on a personal level. That's what the church does. The government simply can't, and trying to force the church's job onto the government's shoulders is just asking for trouble.