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Why are So Many Christians Supporting Obama?

That's a question I've seen people asking lately.  For example, here's a conversation I had on Facebook:


Below are some links that might help for anyone else asking that same question, but first here are a few of my reasons:

  • I desire a foreign policy that is less bellicose and more reliant on international cooperation and diplomacy
  • I support generous treatment of immigrants
  • I believe that the policies of the Democrats are more likely to reduce the abortion rate
  • I believe that we need to protect the environment and can't depend on "the market" to do it for us
  • Though I realize this is a gross oversimplification, I feel more kinship with a party whose focus is on the poor and powerless rather than on the rich and powerful
  • I am confident that Obama has a first-class intellect and temperament, qualities that are highly desirable for the job of president

How a Christian Can Vote for Obama (link)
Henry Neufeld

Frank! As A Former Pro-Life Leader How Dare You Support Pro-Choice Obama? (link)
Frank Schaeffer

I'm Catholic, staunchly anti-abortion, and support Obama (link)
Nicholas Cafardi

Pro Life - Pro Obama (link)

Interview with Donald Miller (link)

On the Campaign Trail in MI, IN, NC, VA and OH This Week (link)
Donald Miller

From Reagan to Obama, a brief Political History (link)
Donald Miller

Endorsing Obama (link)
Doug Kmiec

My Support for Obama (link)
Mark Love

Why I'm Voting for Obama, and Why I Hope You Will Too (link)
Brian McLaren

Why I'm Voting for Obama (link)
Ryan Bolger

If you're a Christian planning to vote for Obama, tell us why...

The 8th Deadly Sin

Don't get me wrong, I'm a proponent of capitalism (in concert with a robust regulatory framework to limit its potential excesses).  However, I find it quite curious that the concepts of socialism and communism are so taboo.  Furthermore, it seems especially strange that Christians, of all people, seem to consider communism/socialism as the 8th deadly sin.  It's as if they think that all that is necessary is to cry "SOCIALISM!" to reveal any tax proposal or social program funded by a progressive tax system as blatantly un-American.

In a recent blog post titled "Is Capitalism Christian?", Pastor Bob Cornwall quotes Jose Miranda:

The notion of communism is in the New Testament, right down to the letter -- and so well put that in the twenty centuries since it was written no one has come up with a better definition of communism than Luke in Acts 2:44-45 and 4:32-35. In fact the definition Marx borrowed from Louis Blanc, "From each one according to his capacities, to each one according to his needs," is inspired by, if not directly copied from Luke's formulation eighteen centuries earlier. There is no clearer demonstration of the brainwashing to which the establishment keeps us subjected than the officially promulgated conception of Christianity as anticommunist (Jose Miranda, Communism in the Bible, Orbis Books, 1982, p. 7).

To refresh your memory about the passages Miranda cites:

Acts 2:44-45

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

Acts 4:32-35

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

Of course, I understand that the voluntary charitable acts of community described in Acts 2 and 4 are not equivalent to a political system, especially the totalitarian ones of the historical and present-day communist regimes, where such actions are coerced.  On the other hand, these principles of community and caring for one another and the least of us are clearly fundamental to the Christian worldview, yet most Christians, myself included, don't routinely put these principles to practice in a way that is consistent with the example of Acts 2.  Ironically, it seems like some of the people who are most eager for the US of A to be an explicitly Christian nation are some of the same that are so strongly antagonistic to these particular Christian principles being implemented in our government.

The other thing that is funny is the way McCain and his supporters are so quick to brand Obama's proposals as socialist and as radically different from the system we've had in place ever since the income tax was instituted - as if McCain himself wasn't making many of the same arguments just a few years ago.  Here's the video:

Brief Letter to God

In small groups we've been studying spiritual formation.  Here's my response to one of the exercises…

Recall the first time you sensed God's presence and some of the ways God has revealed himself to you since then.  Close the letter by giving thanks for all that you know of God now and for what you would like to know in the future.

Dear God,

I don't remember the first time I sensed your presence, but as a kid the times I felt closest to you were in worship settings, like at Bible camp or youth rallies.  I have felt your presence many times, for example, in school and at work when things have worked out well for me in ways that seemed to have little if any connection with what I had done or choices that I had made.  I could ascribe it to luck or chance, but I don't believe that is what it is.  I know that all good things come from you, but I also understand that your servants also suffer.  Sometimes I wonder if my life has seen so little adversity because I wouldn't be able to handle it if it came.  As a parent and in my relationship with my kids, I have learned to better understand your relationship with me and your other children. I wonder how much of what I think I know about you is based on what you have revealed in the Bible and on what I have experienced versus how much is based on my cultural setting or what makes me comfortable.  I trust that you'll help me see through those deceptions as you continue to reveal your true self to me.  I am especially thankful for the faith that you have planted in me because I can also how easy it would be for me to not believe under other circumstances.  Thank you.


If You Love Jesus, Vote For...

I'm sure many people who read today's HuffPo piece by Christine Wicker titled "If You Love Jesus, Vote for Obama" (link) won't appreciate it, won't get it.  I do.  Though I wouldn't tell anyone that a love of Jesus requires voting for any particular candidate (which, by the way, is what many on the religious right actually do), I'm in agreement with much of what Wicker writes in the article.  For example:

After more than 20 years during which the Religious Right has been the dominant ethical and moral voice in the public square, the reputation of American Christians is at an all time low, especially among young people. As the political ambitions of the most right wing Christians have soared, the influence of Christian teachings on popular culture has plummeted.

I recommend following the link above and reading the whole piece.  Personally, I like Wicker's article because it expresses in a clever and provocative way ("If you love Jesus, vote for" is certainly provocative language) something that I believe to be true: the strong association of the religious right with the political far right is a liability in accomplishing the mission of the church among about half of the population.

I think there is a real danger for the stink of politics to mask the beautiful aroma of the gospel.  Look at the way the current campaign has inevitably ended up in the gutter despite the initial promise of a different kind of campaign from these two candidates.  And the way people like Dobson wield political power is so distasteful to me. And the culture war? That's the way to engage outsiders? There's a reason why they like Jesus but not the church.

I don't think the answer is for the religious left to become the new religious right in the political realm, but I think it would be very healthy for it to be more obvious that Christianity and Republicanism are not synonymous.

Friday Night Videos

Here are some videos I watched tonight.  The first two are of Palin as governor speaking in the church where she grew up.  I guess these are supposed to be to Palin what the Jeremiah Wright videos were to Obama?  I've seen the Jeremiah Wright videos.  These are no Jeremiah Wright videos.  There is some interesting stuff here though - references to the U.S. military being sent according to Bush's plan that (hopefully) is God's will too, God also willing some companies to get coordinated to build an oil pipeline, Alaska as a place were hundreds of thousands of us are going to take refuge in the last days, etc:

In that last video Palin makes a reference to not being freaked out by spirited worship assemblies after growing up at the Wasilla Assembly of God. Here is a brief clip of Wasilla that some folks find peculiar (link).  Even though the churches I grew up in are nothing like this, this hardly freaks me out - though I can understand how all of this must seem a bit strange to non-religious folk.



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