September 27, 2008

Who I'll Be Voting For (And My Reasons Why)

If you just want the short answer, let me cut to the chase. At the ballot booth on November 4th, I will be voting for Barack Obama.

Before I explain why, let me first provide a few reasons that are NOT part of my rationale for this decision. I am not voting for Obama because I think he's a flawless, invincible superhero who will cure cancer, save the planet or usher in some sort of utopia. He's not and he won't. I am also not voting for him because I agree with all of his policy positions on every issue. I don't. Third, I'm not voting for him because he represents everything that I believe in, politically, biblically or theologically as a Christian. He doesn't. The reason I am voting for Barack Obama is because I believe he would make a better president than John McCain.

Four years ago this week, Mark Noll wrote a piece for Christian Century magazine titled None of the above: Why I won't be voting for president in which he outlined the 7 issues he considers to be most crucial when choosing a candidate to support: 1) race, 2) the value of life, 3) taxes, 4) trade, 5) medicine, 6) religious freedom and 7) the international rule of law. As the title of his article suggests, he did not vote for either Bush or Kerry in 2004 because neither of them met his criteria in all 7 areas. While I'm disappointed that Noll, one of the most reputable scholar/historians in contemporary Christianity, chose to completely abstain from the ballot that year, I very much liked his model of a report card for evaluating presidential candidates. If Noll's pass/fail scoring system hasn't changed in the last 4 years, it's doubtful that he will be voting this year either. Even so, I can't help but wonder how John McCain and Barack Obama would measure up against Noll's standard. Out of the 7 requirements, how many does each of them meet satisfactorily? 4 or 5? Which senator would receive a higher score?

Much of the discussion surrounding this election has been about what the country needs most in our next president. Is it change? Yes, but what kind? Experience? Sure, but how much? Judgment? Of course, but on which issues? Intelligence? Certainly, but how is that measured? Communication skills? Independence? Character? Faith? The dichotomies of buzzwords are endless: words vs. action, style vs. substance, character vs. competence, personality vs. positions on the issues, ability vs. accomplishments, broad ideals vs. policy details, personal story vs. political resume, etc.

As we approach the finish line in this extraordinarily lengthy election season, it has become more and more difficult to separate the "substance" of each candidate (leadership abilities and policy views that determine their competence as president) from their "style" (the political strategy and effectiveness of their campaign). I'm not saying that style and substance can or should ever be neatly separated. After all, in order to evaluate the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it would be almost impossible to separate FEMA's ability to handle the crisis from the president's ability to communicate an effective strategy. It was a failure in both substance and style.

Unfortunately, much of the discussion surrounding the 2008 election has focused too much on style at the expense of substance. I challenge you to browse through any major news website in search for a summary of each candidate's positions on issues like the economy, Iraq, health care or education. Before you find what you're looking for, you will be bombarded by articles and links to stories about style, personality and campaign strategy. Who connects best with which type of voter? Which states and voting demographics are still up for grabs? What will the backlash be from this sound byte, miscue or TV ad? Which campaign has slung more mud? Whose debate performance will boost their polling numbers?

These might be important questions that play a role in determining who will win this election, but whatever happened to the issues? Are the candidates' positions on foreign policy, taxes, energy, immigration and the environment really so well-known that they are common knowledge? I will be the first to admit that it can be fascinating to analyze the political strategies that make the difference between victory and defeat. But with round-the-clock blow-by-blow scrutiny that reduces politics to little more than a spectator sport, I often wonder if we're even asking the right questions. While the question, "Whose campaign strategy is more effective?" is certainly worth exploring, our attempts to answer this question must not overshadow the central question: "Which candidate will make a better president?" Who has the better combination of leadership abilities, character, experience, judgment and policy ideas: Barack Obama or John McCain?

To answer this question with Noll's model in mind, I've created my own highly subjective un-scholarly 100-point grading system: 10 categories worth 10 points each. The candidate with the higher total score will get my vote. Narrowing my criteria to 10 categories was very difficult, but I tried to consider both the intangibles (character and leadership ability) as well as the tangibles (the candidate's views on the big issues).

While my understanding of the Christian faith is what drove my selection and interpretation of these 10 categories, I want to make it clear that God is not a Republican, Democrat, or even an American for that matter. He cannot be reduced or explained by the narrow, man-made political dichotomies and ideologies of this world. As Greg Boyd said, "You can no more have a Christian worldly government that you can have a Christian petunia or aardvark." For Christians, then, we must always be mindful that this world is not our home and whatever our worldly political views or favorite football teams or ice cream flavors may be, our first allegiance must always be to Christ, whose mustard seed Kingdom transcends politics, culture and history. "We'll never have a Savior on Capitol Hill" sings Derek Webb. Amen to that, but it's also true that not all politicians are equally flawed, which means there is still a great deal at stake in choosing our leaders. Herbert Hoover was no Abraham Lincoln. It is because of my faith in Christ, not in spite of it, that I care deeply about who becomes the next president of the United States, arguably the most powerful person in the world.

Here are the factors on which I've based my decision:

1) Leadership. One of the biggest challenges for an American president is to strive for unity while respecting diversity. This requires experience, judgment, flexibility and the ability to respectfully disagree with your opponents. In his distinguished career in the Senate, John McCain has demonstrated the ability to bring people together from opposite ends of the political spectrum in order find common ground. Barack Obama, though less experienced, also has a unique ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints because of his natural charisma, eloquence and level-headed demeanor. Both candidates have inspirational personal stories as well as the ability to inspire and empower others. One weakness they both share is that apart from running their political campaigns, neither has any chief executive experience. It's tough to pick a winner in this category so I'm calling it even. Verdict: McCain 8, Obama 8

2) Character. Politicians are not known for their honesty, so I tend to take their campaign promises with a grain (or lump) of salt. Both McCain and Obama have changed their positions from time to time which is standard campaign fare. Even so, I expect a certain level of political integrity in the candidates I choose to vote for. Moral and ethical principles are inseparable from one's character. In terms of personal morality, I don't think McCain should be disqualified for his adultery and divorce in 1980, nor should Obama be disqualified for his drug use that occurred around that same time. The "Keating Five" scandal was an error in judgment by McCain as was Obama's association with fundraiser Tony Rezko. Both men have admitted these mistakes and learned from them which is very important to me.

Obama's decision to go against the Ivy League flow and become a low-paid inner city community organizer after graduating from Harvard Law says a lot about his values and integrity. Obama also deserves credit for his ambitious, but admirable attempts to raise the bar of political discourse to higher ground. In both his general election campaign as well as in the primaries against Hillary Clinton, Obama has shown considerable restraint and composure, some would say too much. I respect him for not taking a typical slash-and-burn, win-at-all-costs approach as many others have. Assertions that he is "post-partisan" can be applied to his refreshingly inclusive and respectful communication style, but his issue positions are pretty standard for a Democrat.

As for McCain, it is undeniable that the horrific torture and long-term injuries suffered during 5 1/2 years as a POW have shaped his understanding of human dignity and produced tremendous character. I give McCain a lot of credit for sticking to his convictions and going against the Republican establishment on issues like climate change, campaign finance reform, torture, immigration and reducing "pork barrel" spending. Although you wouldn't know it from following his presidential campaign, McCain is not truly a rank-and-file Republican. For better or worse, he thinks independently from party lines and calls it like he sees it. He has earned many friends among Democrats (don't forgot that John Kerry asked McCain to be his running mate in '04) and his reputation as a "Maverick" is deserved.

encouraging that both Obama and McCain are people who can balance conviction with flexibility. They both take their elected responsibilities very seriously, but neither of them are rigid partisan ideologues (except during campaign season). I'm giving the edge to McCain in this category because he tends to be more straightforward and clear when it comes to taking a stand. Obama has a tendency to be vague and abstract because he doesn't want to be divisive. Verdict: McCain 9, Obama 8

3) Economic and Tax Policy. As Mark Noll brilliantly states, "those who benefit most from the social infrastructure of the U.S.--from its traditions of liberty as well as its traditions of entrepreneurial creativity, its provisions for making business work as well as its culture of personal consumption--should pay the most to maintain that infrastructure." I couldn't agree more. Since the
Sojourners website says it better than I could, I'll just cut and paste the paragraph below which summarizes how I understand the morality of taxes and budgets:

"Budgets are moral documents that reflect the values and priorities of a family, church, organization, city, state, or nation. Examining budget priorities is a moral and religious concern. Our political leadership’s tax cut mentality ignores “the least of these”—leaving them with crumbs from the feast of the comfortable. And it does nothing to help our deficit problems. Religious communities spoke clearly in recent years about the perils of a domestic policy based primarily on tax cuts for the rich, program cuts for low-income people, and an expectation of faith-based charity. We speak clearly against budget proposals asking that the cost of the deficit be borne by the poor, who are not to blame and can least afford it."

In my view, the economy is McCain's weakest category. He wants to continue Bush's hands-off approach of giving big tax breaks and unrestricted freedom to corporations in the hope that they will invest their wealth in the U.S. instead of outsourcing to cheap labor overseas. He wants to continue spending $10 billion per month for the Iraq War with no end in sight, but he won't raise any taxes to help reduce the enormous deficit. Obama, by contrast, wants to end the war, cut taxes for 95% of American households and raise taxes only on those who make over $250,000 per year to help get the deficit back under control. It's encouraging that he understands that the classic balancing act between free trade and labor rights has swung too far toward profits at the expense of people. McCain's solution is to cut spending on everything except the military, such as social services and education, while hoping that the wealth of a few will trickle down to those who are struggling to make ends meet. It's obvious that the recent economic crisis has a lot to do with these very same failed economic policies of free trade deregulation and high spending under 8 years of Bush, but McCain doesn't seem to be interested in reducing military spending or regulating/taxing big business in any significant way. Can he really be serious about giving corporations even more tax cuts than Bush already has? This category is not even close. Verdict: McCain 2, Obama 9

4) Foreign Policy. The good news for McCain is that he has a clear advantage in foreign policy experience and knows more world leaders than Obama. The bad news is that his foreign policy positions are almost completely identical to the ineffective and costly strategies attempted by the Bush administration. Because of my interpretation of the biblical teachings to bless our enemies and be peacemakers, I am morally opposed to pre-emptive war. I may not be a hardcore pacifist in all cases, but I believe war should always be a last resort, not the first option. Even after 5+ years of bloodshed with over 4,000 troops killed and 30,000 wounded at a cost of $10 billion per month, McCain still staunchly supports the Iraq War and is opposed to setting a timetable for withdrawal. In addition to these losses, our national reputation and economic stability have suffered tremendously because of this policy of aggression. Bringing our troops home and taking care of their physical and mental health is the patriotic thing to do.

By contrast, Obama was one of the few voices that opposed the war from the start and seems to have a better understanding of the vicious cycle of revenge and violence. Other advantages for Obama in this category include the foreign policy expertise of his running mate Joe Biden as well as a focus on stopping nuclear proliferation. In my opinion, the fact that Obama favors a more diplomatic foreign policy strategy does not make him "naive" or "soft on terror." It gives him the moral high ground and credibility needed to change course away from cowboy-style unilateralism. Verdict: McCain 3, Obama 9

5) The Sanctity of Human Life. As a Christian, I believe that all life is a sacred gift from God, from the womb to the grave. As such, issues such as abortion, adoption reform, capital punishment, gun control, immigration, stem cell research and the use of torture all require a consistent ethic of human life. Neither candidate's set of positions fully reflects what I believe. Both candidates support capital punishment, while I am against it. On the question of immigration reform, I agree with both candidates that we need a humane and holistic way to fix the broken system without separating the children of undocumented workers from their parents. I am also encouraged that both candidates strongly oppose the use of torture, even for suspected terrorists. My position on stem cell research is closer to McCain's while my view of gun control is closer to Obama's.

McCain's stance on abortion (not Sarah Palin's) is slightly closer to my view than Obama's, although I don't fit neatly into either political category of "pro-life" or "pro-choice." While I believe abortion is immoral and needs to be restricted more than it is now, the possibility of overturning Roe vs. Wade is remote at best, as the eight-year "pro-life" presidency of George W. Bush (six years of which coincided with a "pro-life" majority in congress) did very little to threaten the landmark ruling. As is the case with other legal forms of immorality such as divorce, adultery and pornography, I don't think that seeking an absolute ban is the best way to attack the problem, especially in cases of rape, incest and other potential gray areas where vulnerable women have been forced to make a desperate choice.

Rather than focusing on the Roe decision, I believe that more attention should be given to the issues of adoption reform and support for unwed mothers, especially those in poverty. For any progress to be made, there has to be a bi-partisan approach geared toward reducing the abortion rate and reducing unwanted pregnancy because 1.3 million abortions per year is far too many. In many ways, I'm too liberal for the pro-life camp and too conservative for the pro-choice view. I have reservations with both candidates in this area since neither one is totally consistent. Verdict: McCain 5, Obama 5

6) Energy and Environmental Policy. Care for God's creation is a moral issue and so I'm pleased that both candidates are concerned about climate change (Sarah Palin notwithstanding). Both candidates also want to move the country toward energy independence and raise fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. What they disagree on is offshore oil drilling and how much to tax the big oil companies. McCain does not want to regulate these companies or tax their windfall profits because he would rather let the free market develop alternative energy solutions. Obama, on the other hand, wants to tax the oil companies' profits to help pay for serious investments in solar, wind and biofuel research. McCain's plan relies heavily on nuclear plants, while Obama is more cautious about nuclear power due to concerns about environmentally safe ways of storing the hazardous waste.

Another major policy difference has to do with what the candidates actually mean when they describe energy independence from "foreign oil." McCain's concern is that the oil is foreign. Obama's concern is that the oil is still oil. McCain sees offshore drilling as a way of replacing foreign oil with domestic oil whereas Obama wants reduce oil dependency as whole, regardless of where it's from. If you ask me, McCain is giving a free pass to the oil companies and Obama's plan encourages much more sustainable stewardship of the earth's resources. Verdict: McCain 4, Obama 9

7) Health Care Policy. There is a huge difference between the approaches of each candidate on this issue. McCain thinks that competition in the private sector will lead to the best quality of care, whereas Obama wants to create a national health care plan that would require coverage for all children. Obama's plan will certainly cost more, but it would help those who can't afford it on their own. McCain's plan is very cheap, but it's little more than the old free-market trickle-down philosophy that tells low-income families that they're on their own to find coverage. As it stands right now, over 9 million children in this country do not have health insurance, which I believe is a serious moral issue. If your child is sick and needs immediate medical care, the fact that you're poor or unemployed should not be a barrier to getting help. Most of the other developed nations in the world understand this and so does Obama, which is why he wins this category hands down. Verdict: McCain 3, Obama 9

8) Education Policy. Here's another category that doesn't get enough attention, but is crucial to the future of this country. I'm sure that most kids whose families can afford private school are probably getting a decent education, but what about the vast majority who attend public school? The next president will have a huge amount of influence in determining what education looks like for millions of children, especially the poor. McCain believes that "No Child Left Behind" has been working, but Obama thinks it needs some major adjustments including a higher priority for education in the federal budget. Similar to the healthcare issue, McCain doesn't want to spend a lot of money on education because he would rather privatize whenever possible. Obama's philosophy is to give public school teachers more resources, increase the eligibility for Early Head Start, provide more college scholarships for economically disadvantaged kids, lower interest rates on college loans and give incentives to new teachers who choose to teach in a high-need field or location. Sounds like a plan to me. Verdict: McCain 3, Obama 9

9) Global Poverty/Human Rights. As someone who believes that all life is sacred, I contend that the 1.4 billion people around the world living on less than $1.25 a day should be of great concern for the leader of the free world. According to the ONE campaign (of which I am a member), more than 33 million people around the world are infected by HIV/AIDS, 22 million in Africa alone and 72 million children don’t have access to basic education. In addition to these crises, there are other issues such as trade justice, debt cancellation, human trafficking, clean water/sanitation and food security that need immediate action. As it stands right now, the U.S. is only contributing 0.016% of our Gross National Income (GNI) towards Official Development Assistance (ODA) to poor countries which truly embarrasses me. In 2007, we were tied for last place out of the 22 industrialized countries in this measurement (for the record, the UN target is supposed to be 0.7% of GNI).

On the positive side, I am encouraged that McCain and Obama have both sponsored legislation targeting the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Obama also plans to set up a $2 billion Global Education Fund and has committed to embracing the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the U.N. in 2000, to halve extreme poverty and global disease by the year 2015. McCain has also expressed some interest in reducing global poverty, but has refrained from making specific commitments.

Regarding the ongoing genocide in Darfur, over 400,000 have already been killed and 2.5 million displaced, all of them people who matter to God. McCain and Obama have expressed some concerns about the crisis, but they both should be doing much more to put pressure on Sudan in order to stop this atrocity. I'm disappointed that neither candidate has spoken out in support of the International Criminal Court's prosecution of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide. Overall, I'm not satisfied with either candidate's level of attention to this category, but it seems that Obama will be more proactive than McCain. Verdict: McCain 5, Obama 7

10) Family Values. This phrase has become code language for gay marriage in recent years, but this is a narrow and divisive understanding of what it means to be "pro-family." As a Christian who believes in strengthening families, I would love to see a more holistic understanding of the family that includes reducing teen pregnancy, preventing domestic violence, protecting children from abuse/neglect, encouraging responsible fatherhood and providing support for unwed mothers (childcare, education and parenting resources to name a few). Education, heath care and economic opportunity are also family values that have already been mentioned as part of other categories.

The heated topic of gay marriage vs. traditional marriage, like abortion, has been used by both parties as a wedge to divide voters without actually changing anything. I strongly believe in traditional marriage between a woman and a man, but I also don't think that gays and lesbians should be scapegoated for the breakdown of the family or any other social problem that heterosexuals (myself included) are largely responsible for. The president's level of real influence in this arena has been greatly exaggerated in recent years. Has homosexual behavior decreased under Bush? How exactly do my gay and lesbian friends and co-workers "threaten" my traditional marriage any more than the heterosexual culture of rampant promiscuity and sexualization does? I may get some heat from my fellow evangelicals for this, but I believe that gays and lesbians should be entitled to the same legal rights and protections as other sinners including adulterers, divorcees, liars and materialists. If unmarried heterosexual couples are eligible for hospital visitation rights, health insurance, employment benefits and a say in their partner's medical treatment, how can we pick and choose which other sinners to exclude?

Neither Obama nor McCain wants to stir up the gay marriage hornet's nest which I think is a good thing. There are clearly more urgent priorities for the country right now. To his credit, McCain's attitude has been far more respectful toward gays and lesbians than either George W. Bush or Sarah Palin, but he still seems to define strong families in narrow terms. Regarding a more holistic approach to family values, I think Obama has a much better grasp of the factors influencing family breakdown and the ways in which working class families are affected by a whole range of economic, healthcare and education policies enacted by the government. Verdict: McCain 6, Obama 8

To summarize it all:

CATEGORY -------------------------------------- MCCAIN ----- OBAMA
1) Leadership ---------------------------------------- 8 ------------ 8
2) Character ----------------------------------------- 9 ------------ 8
3) Economic & Tax Policy -------------------------- 2 ------------ 9
4) Foreign Policy ------------------------------------ 3 ------------ 9
5) Sanctity of Life ---------------------------------- 5 ------------ 5
6) Energy & Environmental Policy ----------------- 4 ------------ 9
7) Health Care Policy ------------------------------- 3 ------------ 9
8) Education Policy ----------------------------------3------------- 9
9) Global Poverty & Human Rights ---------------- 5 ------------ 7
10) Family Values ----------------------------------- 6 ------------ 8

There you have it. Obama gets my vote. If you still haven't made your decision, check out this informative non-partisan summary from of each candidate's position on 65 different policy issues (in case 10 categories weren't enough) or go to which will help you calculate which candidate you agree/disagree with the most. See you at the polls!


becs said...

It's a long post, but still very readable. I'll be voting for O-Bambi as well this coming election!

Cheryl said...

Well said!

The Common Loon said...

Regarding the issue of global poverty, here's a link to the final report from the ONE campaign (non-partisan) that compares Obama and McCain's public commitments on issues like HIV/Aids, Malaria, Child and Maternal Health, Food Scarcity, Clean Water and Universal Primary Education:

These are life and death issues that neither candidate seems to talk much about, so we have to keep them accountable after the election.

Matt Perman said...

Dan: Very thoughtful post. I enjoyed reading it.

Looks like we differ on a lot of issues, including economic and tax policy. See my Post “What McCain Should Say” for some reasons I would differ from your perspective there:

The Common Loon said...

Thanks for you comment Matt. I checked out your website and we have some disagreements on the issues, but I respect your opinions which are well-nuanced. I'd much rather converse with a civil and intelligent person who disagrees with me than a belligerent ideologue who shares my views.

I would probably be more sympathetic to McCain's economic policies if he could explain them the way you do!

donsands said...

That was too much to read. But it's been such a long campaign, and I have heard so many disturbing things about Obama, and especially his friends, and how radical they are.
An American president needs to be a patriot for me. McCain is definitely, and Obama is not.
He doesn't like the constitution, and says it is flawed.
He has no experience, and would be a horrific Commander-in-Chief.
He is very firm on abortion, and wants to make Roe cemented in the constitution, the constitution that he doesn't like.

He has lied a lot. I don't trust him at all. Especially since he has always voted to raise taxes, every time, and Biden too. And now he keeps talking about tax cuts. This guy has the citizens hoodwinked.

He is very tight with Ayers, and his racist pastor, who he threw under the bus.

And the worse thing about Obama is he voted against the Born Alive Act, four times.
He was the only liberal to do so. He is so far left that he is out in foul territory.

I pray he would come to Christ, and repent of his lies, and his endorsing partial birth abortion, and infanticide. Amen.

Robbo said...

if you can find time, do read the entire post. I found it thoughtful and very informative though that may be because of my own bias towards Obama. Based on your comment, I think you are simply going with a "gut feeling" about a candidate. Obama has not "lied a lot", and he said openly at the Warren forum that "I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins" so I don't get what you mean by you pray that he would come to Christ

the common loon,
I got here from BTW. Thank you for this detailed post. I have emailed the link to friends. You are not the only Christian who reads the blog BTW that will be voting for Obama. I do not have a vote myself but I personally know many Christians who will be voting for Obama. My Church had voter guides in the lobby today; they are produced by an outside "non-partisan" organization using issues similar to the points you have in your post. I went through the guide and I saw that they have picked selected quotes from both candidates on all the issues. I think that even though it is meant to be a guide, they would have been more honest if they had done what you did which is declare who they are endorsing and then give the reasons for it based on how they see the candidates in relation to their important issues.

Anyone looking at the guides can see that they have picked quotes from Obama, some out of context in my opinion, to make him look less attractive to the uninformed Christian voter. That saddened me but I have reminded myself about what is more important. I am very relaxed about the outcome of the election, either way. This great ship of God's divine purpose will arrive at its destination eventually, whether McCain or Obama wins.

Honestly, if I do not look to the City with Foundations whose builder and architect is the Lord, I might despair of what I have read on the internet from fellow Christians in the run up to this election. - Robbo

donsands said...

"I think you are simply going with a "gut feeling" about a candidate"

No I'm not. I have done my homework. I did just skim the post. I may read it more thoroughly, but I truly believe Obama is a very manipulative man, and he is dishonest. He reminds me of Clinton.

Clinton lied under oath, and yet it's as if he never did, and millions of people trust him.

Obama has voted to raise taxes, and voted against tax cuts.
He now says he will cut taxes.

He is a socialist-democrat, and denies it. He says what is appropriate, political appropriate that is.

if he would simply speak the truth about his relationship with Rev Wright, and Bill Ayers, then I would respect him much more.
He is dishonest, and it is clear.

He's a nice person, and good father, and husband, who also thinks it is a good thing for a woman to allow an abortionist to suck the brains out of a baby's head, and he endorses infanticide. That says a lot about a person to me.

I have tons of information about Obama. Actually I'm sick of hearing about him over these past two years where he spent $300,000,000 on his campaign.

One more truth about Obama:

"The Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act was introduced in 2001 to provide legal protection to all born babies, wanted or not, including the right to medical care. Then-state Senator Barack Obama voted against Born Alive 4 times in 3 years and was the sole senator to speak against it on the Senate floor in 2001 and 2002.In 2002, the Federal version of Born Alive passed unanimously in the US Senate and by overwhelming voice vote in the House."

donsands said...

"I think it's really important for your readers to know that I have been a member of the same church for almost 20 years" -Barak Obama

Obama said this to verify he is a Christian. Though he believes as long as you live a good life you will go to heaven, Though he is not sure if he will go to heaven.

He is the same as countless others who name themselves as Christians, and are simply nominal-Christians.

I was this once.

But once one is born again, you are a new creation, old things are gone, and all things are new.
The regenerated soul loves Christ, and declares that Christ is the only name under heaven by which a person can be saved. Acts 4:12

James, the Lord's brother says, "even the devil believes Jesus is God, and died for the sins of the world.

"Many will say in that day, "Lord, Lord, didn't we speak in your name, and do works for your name, and Jesus will say, "Depart from Me, you who love lawlessness."

Barak doesn't know Christ. He is a political machine, just as there are millions of people like him.
The Scriptures tell us that.

People will say to me, "Who are you to judge?" I say, nobody. I'm just listening to what people say, and even teach, and judge what they say.

Obama says , a baby born alive, who was supposed to be aborted, has to die. Put that baby in a closet, or in a nice room with flowers, and let him die.
That's infanticide, and God hates it, and so a Christian should hate it as well.

The Common Loon said...


You are a passionate brother in Christ and I appreciate your concern for the direction of our country. We clearly disagree as to which candidate would make a better president, but I have a few questions for you to better understand where you're coming from:

1) Did you wish to respond to anything from my original post? Your comments seem to indicate you haven't read it.

2) Is there anything you would like the next president to do differently than George W. Bush? If so, what are some his current policies that need to change in your opinion?

3) Like many of my evangelical friends, abortion is clearly your primary concern. Do you believe it's ever possible for a true Christian to vote on the basis of a wide range of other issues such as the economy, foreign policy, energy policy, the environment, etc. or should the fact that a candidate is pro-choice automatically disqualify him/her from receiving the vote of any mature Christian?

4) You said that Obama "doesn't know Christ." Do you think McCain knows Christ? If so, on what basis do you know this?

donsands said...

I don't know if John McCain is a Christian.

It's not necessary that the president be a Christian.

If both candidates were pro-choice, that would make a difference of voting. When one candidate is pro-life that is huge for me.
I certainly care about all the other issues, which I have indicated.
But a persons mindset on killing babies, and especially infanticide says a lot about that person to me, as it shouls to us all, since this is barbaric.

Surely there shall be Christians who vote for Obama, for reasons of their own, whatever they may be.
You laid out your reasons quite well. But I disagree.

Obama has been very dishonest, and even manipulative. He is a socialist, and denies it.

He is one unexperienced young man, who in no way should be Comander-in Chief of the US military.
I know some Marines, who dread Obama. But would welcome John McCain.

Yo be honest I skimmed your post, and focused on different areas, but I will go back and read it over.

Obama is dishonest, and has disregarded the facts, and many have been duped by his charisma.

He will raise our taxes, Joe the Plummer manifested his socialist agenda for everyone to see, but not many really care, do they.

His record on abortion is horrific. But no one seems to care, or they say, "Well we haven't done much with abortion, so Obama can't hurt. That's sad. It shows me the true heart of these people.
Abortion is not that big of a deal, as it isn't a big deal to Obama.
Anyone who can vote for partial birth abortion, and vote against The Born Alive Act has an evil heart that is quite callous.

I know becuase my heart was that way, until Christ opened my heart, and set me free. It's 100% grace, that I am set free.
I pray the same for Obama.

The Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign, and He hates the murder of inncent babies, and that is my greatest concern.

I also care about the protection of this nation from Islamic terrorists, who are determined to rule the world, and kill all of Americans if they can. Obama is not prepared to take this evil regime on.

He will raise our taxes like crazy, that is certain. He lies that he won't.

If Obama becomes the president I will honor that, for the Lord tells me to in His Word. I will pray that he comes to repentance and to the truth.

One question. Is he alright with you in his endorsement of infanticide?

The Common Loon said...


As I mentioned in the original post, I don't completely agree with either McCain or Obama on abortion, which is only one issue under the broad category of "The Sanctity of Human Life" which includes other issues such as war, capital punishment, torture, gun control, immigration, stem cell research and adoption to name a few.

Regarding the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, I don't think that Obama voted against it because he thinks it's ok to kill babies, but because he was trying to protect the Roe decision. Even so, I disagree with Obama's vote in that case, so I guess that means you and I actually agree on something!

Keep in mind that that I disagree with Obama on other issues as well such as capital punishment (which he supports) and the war in Afghanistan. Neither candidate is a perfect match with what I personally believe which is why neither one received a perfect score of 100% on my 10-category scale. However, Obama had a higher score (81 to 48) which is why he got my vote.

By the way, I'm still curious if there is anything you would like the next president to do differently than George W. Bush. Based on what you've said so far, I haven't noticed any differences between your views and those of the Bush administration.

Robbo said...


You are certainly passionate about your beliefs regarding Obama and if this is what you are convinced about, then I cannot fault you in anyway for voting against Obama.

I believe abortion is sin and is wrong and the present situation where it is legally so easy for doctors to perform it is a terrible thing. But I think the prevalence and incidence of abortion in our society is also an indictment on those of us who go by the name of Christians or followers of Christ. One thing John Piper said in the video that I hadn’t taught about before was that Abortion itself is a judgment on us and I believe he is right in suggesting that because Romans 1 clearly makes the case that the depravity seen in a society is or can be the result of God’s wrath on a sinful society.

I consider myself Prolife (abortion is wrong, abortion is sin) but I also think to call people who are Prochoice (for the right of someone to have an abortion) names like baby killers or murderers serves no useful purpose in the debate. Here is how I understand it in my simple mind. Prochoice includes the right to choose to keep a baby from an unexpected or unplanned pregnancy rather than have an abortion. In a way, I think it is similar to the choices placed by God before the Israelites in Deut 6, after which he commands/advises them “Choose Life”. We can even work with “Prochoice” people to increase the number of people who make the right choice, it is possible

In my opinion, Christians have been on the wrong path in thinking that our primary role in reducing Abortions lies with the Supreme Court and a reversal of Roe vs. Wade. In this process, politicians have manipulated us, using the so called culture wars to achieve their own ends. A better way is for us to sue God in prayer for His mercy and to sue His Holy Spirit for empowerment to affect our communities.

And a quick response to a few of you other points

I do not believe Obama is dishonest, manipulative or a pathological liar as you say. I have read a lot about him and listened to people who were in the college with him. One guy, a Conservative, who worked on the Harvard Law Review with him and went on to work for GB Bush in the White House had nothing but good things to say about him.

He is not a socialist; not that being a socialist is such a bad thing depending on how you define it. Is the distribution of Taxes from Alaskan Oil profits to its citizens socialism? Is the bail out of Wall Street financiers with 700 billion dollars some of which is being used to pay bonuses as we speak socialism? Why would an arch capitalist like Warren Buffet endorse Obama?

You know some marines who dread Obama but apparently Obama leads McCain by far in donations from serving military personnel.

William Ayers- Obama was 8 years old when Ayers did his dastardly stuff and prominent Republicans in Illinois served on the same board as Obama and Ayers
Jeremiah Wright- Obama has repudiated him, thrown him under a bus like you said. And if you listen to the complete sermon where Wright made his now infamous “God damn America statements’, you may see where he was coming from. I don’t agree with how he went about it but I understand

Finally, let us not get too worked up about this election. I have to caution myself often about that. No matter the outcome, you and I have work to do. There is a plenty harvest waiting. God bless you

- Robbo