Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On Abortion

Nov. 5, 2008

By now, I have heard a number of Christians justify their support for Obama despite his strong stand for abortion rights.

Their support falls along two lines of thought:

1) The supposedly pro-life Republicans have done nothing to stem the tide of abortions anyway, and their policies may even increase the number of abortions
2) Obama has a heart for social justice, and being pro-life has to involve more than just pre-birth and end-of-life issues; it has to encompass all of life. A social justice stand is really pro-life for those who are already born. Besides, it is not reasonable to be a single-issue voter.

While there are some legitimate ideas expressed in those lines of thought, I believe both are fatally flawed, and while all this was on my mind, I thought it would be good to engage these ideas and sort of unpack some of the problems they present for Christians.

Before I do that, let me say four things:

First, I celebrate with all my heart the election of an African-American president! There is so much unqualified good in that. It fulfills the dreams and hopes of so many Americans and needs to be celebrated for what it is. Last night was truly historical, and regardless of Obama’s current ideology or future performance, it must be remembered as a great night in American history.

Second, I do not owe my allegiance nor put my faith in any political party or platform. My politics are increasingly informed by my theology, based in Scripture, which puts me at odds with various aspects of all parties and in agreement with aspects of most parties.

Third, I believe with my whole heart that there were no great choices for president this election. Nobody who ran really is facing the deepest problems of our country, which are materialism, greed, and humanism. I don’t know how much any man could even adequately address those issues. We have such a poverty of spirit in America that goes back first to our inherent depravity, but more recently to our prosperity after WWII. It ignores social, political and economic differences and pervades every level of our culture, and indeed has taken root in the church. If I did not trust a sovereign God, I would be in despair.

Fourth, I love you no matter who you voted for! I am certain God’s people almost always vote their consciences, and God knows our hearts. I am a little concerned about our heads, however.

But Christians supporting Obama specifically grieves me. I mean, I think we must all support him in his office as president, as far as Scripture commands us to be honoring our leaders. I respect the man to an extent, and I respect the office. My earnest prayer is that Obama will be a wise and discerning leader in a volatile world. Nonetheless, it is the starry-eyed infatuation with this man and the implicit sanctioning of his policies by voting for him on the part of people who believe the Bible that has me so very saddened. So let me answer the issues I posted above.


Regarding the charge that Republicans have accomplished nothing anyway:

I would argue that there has been progress in the effort against abortion under certain sincere conservative politicians (not all of them Republican) who have taken up the fight. South Dakota’s attempt at a ban would be a real-time example. But this is not even the central issue for me. To merely look at the body count and be dissatisfied with the lack of progress seems a bit pragmatic. I think the real issue is the moral viability of a society that tolerates killing babies in the womb at all. Voting for someone who tolerates abortion is bad enough, since it perpetuates the status quo at best. It makes peace with an abomination. However, voting for someone who is an outspoken advocate of abortion amounts to complicity. I know, that sounds harsh. I also know that there are many other issues relating to justice and life that are profoundly important, and I want to unpack that in my next point, but if one cannot get this one right, does he or she even have a legitimate voice in the rest? Killing babies is huge.

So, yes, I think that voting for people who oppose abortion, even if there is NEVER an impact on the actual number of abortions, remains a prophetic statement – a pebble in the shoe, so to speak – to a culture that blithely ignores the most fundamental expression of human life and dignity. I believe Christians should continue to vote pro-life no matter the outcome.

As for Republican policies actually increasing abortions… the last thing I want to do here is get into a messy partisan argument, so let me just say this: This is an illegitimate charge. It assumes that: a) Republican policies cause poverty and b) poverty causes abortion. In order for that to be true, the person considering an abortion has to have a thought process something like this: “My goodness, I’m pregnant! If only I could afford to raise this baby and give it a decent life, then I would keep it, but because of oppressive economic policies I’m stuck in poverty, so I must abort.” This of course reduces the most weighty decision most women will ever make to simple economic calculus. Do you really think that is what happens? What about WIC? What about Welfare, Medicare, Kid Care, and adoption? Women most often choose to abort because of the overwhelming thought of responsibility, shame, selfishness or pressure from the father, family, etc. I have no doubt that out of the tens of thousands of abortions, some are driven by economics, but I’m not sure that Republican fiscal policy is driving up poverty, and even if it is, I’m not sure that poverty is the driving force behind abortions.

Regarding the idea that Obama is for social justice, so his compassion on other issues outweighs his support of abortion:

If I said I was passionate about social justice, except when it comes to racial issues, would you believe me? Would that have an impact on my credibility? Of course it would. Why, then does Obama get a pass from Christians when it comes to abortion? Is not abortion a social justice issue? Isn’t it the biggest social justice issue of all? I would argue it is. So here’s my thesis: If you are for social justice, but not justice for the most vulnerable of all, then you are NOT for social justice.

Now I do agree that being pro-life has to mean all of life. And I do believe that Evangelicals and other conservatives have egg on our faces, because it seems that many of us care about people only before they’re born and after they die. Many of us (but not all, thankfully) at least seem to be able to stand by and let kids grow up with no hope of a decent school, or decent healthcare, or decent neighborhoods. We tend to turn a blind eye to the issues of justice that are still alive and well, especially in the cities. As a result, we have lost credibility, and so the power of our words weighs considerably less than it ought to.

People who are pro-life and care about other justice issues often vote for candidates like Obama because they see them as more balanced… as more caring for the larger number of important issues. But I would say that failing at the point of abortion disqualifies a given candidate completely. This is not to say that we should not be passionate about all issues relating to justice, but it is to say that abortion is huge. Just huge.

I think we can all agree on this: It would be nice to be able to vote for someone who truly reflects Kingdom values. That day may come (I’m not holding my breath), but until it does, voting will always be a contradiction and a paradox and a tension for Christians who wish to be biblical. But personally, I will never knowingly vote for a supporter of abortion, and I am loathe to vote for anyone who is ambivalent. And if the political process never delivers any results favorable to the pro-life movement, it does not matter. I believe it is an outrage to even appear to cheer someone on who will actively perpetuate our culture of death.

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22 Comments:

Blogger Aaron said...

Abortion is huge for sure but I still cannot put all my eggs in that basket when I vote especially since it hasn't amounted to much.

I know you expounded on this very way of thinking but I am not buying it.

I didn't vote though so I am "off the hook" in a way but you being saddened by Christians who voted for O'bama is "normal." You haven't been on the O'bama train since day one so you have been very consistent with that. And your issue has always been abortion above and beyond anything else so again consistency has always been there.

But at the end of the day God has allowed this man in office just like He did Bush, Clinton, Reagan, and Carter.

I hope that you don't begin to think that some how the Christians who voted for O'bama are some how loosing sight of what is important. I just think that Christians have expanded their view of what it means to be pro life and I also think the religious right has lost its hold on the church and this in my eyes is a very positive thing. The church has become passionate about life (including abortion)and that is a good thing.

I also think that folks are loosing faith in the political system to bring about change so voting isn't what it used to be. It just doesn't carry the weight that it used to and the church is becoming pro active in many other areas which is great.

Again this doesn't mean that we don't fight against the abomination of abortion but maybe at a community level.

November 6, 2008 at 12:30 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Steve,
I do want to say this as well. You basically said that Christians should always vote Republican which I think is just... well.

Here is what you said...

"So, yes, I think that voting for people who oppose abortion, even if there is NEVER an impact on the actual number of abortions, remains a prophetic statement – a pebble in the shoe, so to speak – to a culture that blithely ignores the most fundamental expression of human life and dignity. I believe Christians should continue to vote pro-life no matter the outcome."

I hate to compare this statement to these folks but this is exactly type of stuff that FOF, Fallwell (rest in peace), etc. are saying and for you to somehow state that it is our prophetic message to vote Republican (which you said in so many words) is to me unfortunate.

On several occasions you have not linked yourself with them via the blog world but this is no different

I certainly understand the devestation of not having who you voted for in office ( I was crushed when Bush won in 2004 all though I didn't like Kerry either).

All I am saying is that for you to somehow gage which life is more important or somehow come up with a pro life barometer using the bible is not a battle that I think you can win. Abortion, genocide, poverty which leads to death, educational injustice which leads to slow death, etc. are all equally important to God.

Again I didn't vote but if you are going to make a biblical argument about why we should vote Republican even if it doesn't bring change and then somehow have a pro life barometer then I think you are going to be in a loosing battle (both biblically and logically.)

I love ya man but I think this is a little emotional instead of biblical.

Just my thoughts!

November 6, 2008 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hey, Aaron

Good thoughts.. I hear you.

No, I'm not advocating voting Republican. I think of a gubernatorial race here several years ago where the Democratic candidate (Glenn Poshard) was actually more conservative and more pro-life that the Republican.

I think that's a reality in lots of places. You also have Libertarians who are pro-life.

Even though I am a registered Republican, I do not want to EVER be partisan, and I welcome you calling me on it when I begin to appear partisan.

I also agree that all the issues you brought up are pro-life issues: "Abortion, genocide, poverty which leads to death, educational injustice which leads to slow death, etc. are all equally important to God."

What I don't agree on is your scale. They are not exactly equal in my mind. Maybe close, but not exact. A person stuck in a bad educational system at least has a sliver of a fighting chance. History has shown that a few exceptional people have overcome.

A baby in the womb has NO chance at all. It is a consummate victim. That is where I would make a difference in scale.

BTW - there is much good in an Obama presidency. Don't get me wrong.

I'm miles from him philosophically, socially and politically, and I think he'll do us some harm morally, but I do wholeheartedly celebrate the good that's here.

I believe God ordained this and that God's sovereignty hasn't suffered at all.

Oh - one mre thing: I'm not saddened at all by McCain losing... lol. I don't like him much and I almost didn't vote at all. I think the whole Republican party has become a JOKE and is miles from its original roots of conservatism and common sense. I think Republicans got the spanking they deserved in this election, and here's how cynical I am: I still don't think this will wake them up. we'll see...

We simply cannot put our hope in people or political systems, bro. Please forgive me if I came across that way at all!

The tension is that I beleive we must still salt and light the process and system, even though they are so thoroughly bankrupt.

But you're right about me and the abortion issue: At the end of the day it trumps almost everyting else for me. I see it almost exactly like the Holocaust.

November 6, 2008 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Steve,
I so appreciate you man! I need you to know that I am not pro O'bama as folks might think. This is why I couldn't vote for him but I will say I was pretty overwhelmed when he won.

I think O'bama is in for a rude awakening and most of it will come from the "left" I think. He is going to be demanded to bring change in areas I don't know if he is ready for that.

As far as my "scale"... What I was trying to communicate is that I don't think we can have a scale. When I listed those pro life things I certainly wasn't wanting to have an order... forgive me if that is what I communicated.

My point is that it is hard for me to have a pro life barometer. Whether its death from the womb or towards the tomb I still think they are very important to God and God hates all of them.

Hey bro I think the world of you man and love that you are fighting the good fight there in Armitage and I would send my kids to sit under you any day :)

I would sit under you as well. I believe in your passion for your community and love that you have invested all that you have (family, wealth, etc.) into your church and community.

I am often challenged by how you handle your own children and have gained a lot from our interaction. I say this with all sincerity.

Just thought I would say that bro!

Keep hope alive! :)


PS. The democrat who was more pro life than the republican is the exception not the norm. But I think that it is fair to say that abortion is the "rights" issue and that is why I made the generalization. Of course there always exceptions to the rule.

Peace bro!

November 6, 2008 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Thanks, man.

Believe me, our dialogue over the months (years?) has sharpened me so much.

I wish there was more real, edifying dialogue like this in the church at large, though. Maybe an Obama presidency might just create the venue for such raw, honest dialogue. I can hope...

I know an African-American young lady who goes to Cedarville and was a counselor at our urban camp last summer. She is really suffering at that institution right now because she is being identified with Obama. The white evangelicals in the bubble simply cannot process why Black Christians voted for Obama.

While I agree that voting for Obama was a bad idea, obviously, I think these people need a serious education.

E-mail me and I'll give you her e-mail address. She could really use some support.

November 6, 2008 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger hammerdad said...

hey guys, ,, , this is Joel on my wife's account.

Great dialogue. I would love to encourage our sister at Cedarville too!

Anyway, I didn't read all of your back and forth so forgive me if I repeat your stuff.

I am grateful for your starting point about affirming the historic event. this is critical.

I think your entire argument about abortion is helpful from the standpoint that it is not based on "let's be as explicit as possible in description or photos" and to this extent starts to deal with it as a rational argument rather thank simply emotional persuasion (obviously it is very emotional at heart).

The future of abortion is medicinal abortions, not surgical, and not requiring doctors/surgeons. With that in mind, the vast majority of our debate will be moot in the coming decade.

Your point about the key problems in America being materialism, greed and humanism are pretty much on track. I would add individualistic, relativistic, hyper-violent and hyper-sexualized. At core -- depraved.

So what is role of the Christian and what is the role of the government. Clearly the government is NOT up to the job of fixing these moral ills. It can provide a degree of physical safety, contractual guarantees, and perhaps some level of economic balance (maybe).

But at core are we really to suggest that it is a moral failure of a Christian to vote for a pro-abortion candidate that will have little long term impact on this issue? Since Roe the Republicans have held 20 years of presidential power and done virtually nothing to reduce abortions through legal enactments or moral suasion. And could they? I think not. So what has the church done? That is the real question. I don't think it is primarily voting for pro-life political candidates. The answer is simply not political activism.

I share Aaron's concern that you have de facto suggested that only the republican's should be voted for. I also think that your wording about being grieved by Christians voting for Obama, as well as calling them "starry-eyed infatuation" is really insulting to 90+% of African American Christians. That, to me, is throwing way to many people under the proverbial bus.

I do understand the abortion is for you what another friend of our calls a "first principle" issue, through which any other aspect of the person must be judged.

I think that it is huge as an issue but I would consider honesty to be a similarly important first principle. I would also argue that many black christians would agree with this. The Republican's dishonesty has led to staggering scandal in my estimation. I think it is quite reasonable to find this to be a disqualifying issue on par with that of abortion. Honesty is huge too.

God is life. God is truth. Our politicians, at one step or another deny both.

November 6, 2008 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hey, Joel

I agree with most of what you said, actually

You may have missed my response to Aaron regarding suggesting that Christians must vote Republican in order to be obedient to God. That was not the case at all, and my response to Aaron pretty much sums up my defense on that issue.

I agree that other moral issues like honesty are huge.

I also agree that the real battleground is hearts and minds, which is a Gospel issue. In fact, all social justice issues are, at their heart, Gospel issues. But still we work multiple angles on them.

My simple thesis is this: Voting for an outspoken advocate of abortion is wrong.

Voting for an outspoken advocate of lying would be wrong too, right? Except nobody ever openly advocates lying; they just practice it on the DL and have to get caught before we know their character.

I sympathize deeply with my sister Tonisia, who voted for Obama in a McCain universe, and I think I understand why she did, as much as a white person can. And I did not condemn her either! AND I think this can be a redeeming moment at Cedarville for both the Obama people and the Lifelong Republicans.

More: I agree that the abortion fight, as well as so many other justice issues, happens on a grassroots level in the church of Jesus and that we should not be looking primarily to the political process to "fix" the moral brokenness of our country. Indeed, what government can do at best is get out of the way. That is, after all, why I'm a Republican.

But you said this:

"At core are we really to suggest that it is a moral failure of a Christian to vote for a pro-abortion candidate that will have little long term impact on this issue?"

How much impact the candidate does or does not have on the number of abortions is not my primary concern. My concern is throwing our hats in with people that openly advocate genocide.

So I really do hear you, bro. I just wish we as a church had thought this through a little better and dialogued more beforehand.

I believe people voted with the best intentions and probably have clear consciences, so I grant them that. But I still have to call it like I see it.

November 7, 2008 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger hammerdad said...

"I have to call it as I see it" I agree totally.

"My simple thesis is this: Voting for an outspoken advocate of abortion is wrong"

This is our primary point of disagreement. I am personally wrestling with the whole issue. I am absolutely in agreement that abortion as it has been carried out in the US amounts to genocide. (I don't think this is the goal of the abortionist, the mother who aborts, or planned parenthood -- contrary to the consipiracy theorists. Let's argue facts and truth, not our estimate of other people's motives.)

On the basis of life beginning at conception, however, we have to assume that anyone who supports the use of RU486 and further, anyone who advocates stem cell research using frozen embryos is in the exact same category - supporting genocide.

While I am not a huge Franky Schaeffer fan in general I do think that he is right in saying that the republicans, including McCain are not actually pro-life. Rather, they are hold thier positions inconsistently and with an eye toward political expediency. I also agree with him that they have manipulated the subject along with many personal stories to raise money and build institutions. (though clearly not in every case!)

Another personal aspect for me is that the entire Abortion debate has been conducted in a way that the "states rights" debate was held. In that case it was a farce for maintaining racist legacies and power. In the abortion case it so often feels like something similar -- ala. Obama is not only pro-abortion but he is also a terrorist. Obama, inspite of professing Christ, is a Mulsim, we should be afraid of him. all that stuff is troublesome to me.

All of this has given me a weird, personal, visceral reaction against the single-issue argument. For most, I won't toss you in the group, the single issue is a cover for lots of other issues (muslim, terrorist, newbie, etc..).

It is also similar to when I see urban ministries "pimping the poor" to raise money. Something smacks of disingenuousness. As you can tell, I am still digging around my thoughts about all of this.

November 7, 2008 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Good stuff, Joel

You make a great point: The overwhelming majority of people who are pro-choice truly, honestly see it as a women's rights issue. They simply do not see a fetus as a human. It does not help us or the discussion to demonize them, any more than them demonizing us.

I also agree that for many politicians, "pro-life" is a means of milking votes from Evangelicals who oversimplify the issues, which is most of us.

I guess some of that baggage becomes associated with my stand because of the current climate, and I understand that. But it is not my baggage.

The rabid anti-Obama fear mongering is just one more example of a society that has lost its ability to think or articulate. Conservatives are every bit as guilty of this as the radical left (ala Michael Moore).

Had this election AND the electorate truly been about political philosophy, character, competence and the issues at stake instead of emotion and image and "what's in it for me", I think we would have seem a very different landscape over the last year or so.

November 7, 2008 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Steve,
Is it safe to say that you are a one issue voter?

Just wondering :)

November 8, 2008 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Man, I thought we ironed this out...

NO, I'm not a single-issue voter. At least not in the sense that I look only at a person's stand on abortion and then vote accordingly.

Here is my grid:
Ploitical ideology
Governing philosophy
Worldview
Character
Competence

A candidate's stand on the Issues is secondary in the sense that it is an expression of the candidate's ideology, philosophy and worldview.

I would say the same thing about myself.

So to say I'm a one-issue voter is to oversimpliffy things terribly and is not helpful to the discussion. I'm not saying you guys are doing that, but that is what hampers fruitful conversation.

It's too easy to put people in categories: "Steve is the white Republican conservative guy... probably from Iowa or something."

And I'm not tripping... I love you guys! Aaron, you probably have sharpened me more than anyone else - and I know your comment was tongue-in-cheek. :0)

I'm just saying that a candidate's stand on abortion is usually a window into his or her soul, and gives me clues as to overall worldview and ideology and philosophy. Does that make any sense?

November 9, 2008 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

And I was born and raised right here in good ol' Chicago - a product of CPS. The youth group I grew up in was my dad's street ministry.

Don't know if that helps my street cred any... lol

November 9, 2008 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

So what you are saying is that your a one issue voter!! :0)

I was totally joking man I would never pigeon hole you like that bro!

November 9, 2008 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hahaha...

I love our discussions!

November 10, 2008 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger hammerdad said...

steve, sorry to belabor an old thread:

I have been thinking about our back and forth and here is another element of this that troubles me that I need to try to articulate:

when one says that this issue is a window into the soul, or a first principle issue, or a single issue of importance, it is defacto a trump card. That trump card (let's say it's the Ace) makes the numbers 2,3,4 and 10, J, etc.. almost totally uninteresting.

not only do those other cards not hold sway, but the trump card necessitates that no matter what is being considered, the holder of the trump will inevitably hold it over the others, distract any real conversation, and say blah, blah, blah TRUMP!

It makes it really hard to feel like there is genuine consideration, listening, learning.

Here is a real life example. Obama has demonstrated a willingness to listen to people who disagree with him and to reach out to them in humility. Whereas Bush said "I've earned political capital, I plan to spend it". Arrogance vs. Humility.

Some time ago Obama also recommended as one of the most influential books he'd take to the white house (after naming the bible which was probably the required answer) A Team of Rivals, in which the author tells the tale of Abe Lincoln constructing his cabinet with his political foes. And he listened to them and their serious disagreements with him and with eachother for his entire presidency.

Additionally, I watched a documentary featuring some of his ideological opponents at the Harvard Law Review who spoke highly about these features in him as a leader, when he had the power/influence to not necessarily need them.

This willingness to listen and learn with humility is a virtue of his. But can one really see this and other virtues of him (or anyone) through the Abortion-as-trump lens?

You've worked hard here to be someone who can. In my estimation, however, few can. It is easier for those who would be mentally and spiritually lazy and even (dare I say it) bigoted, to simply say "he's an abortion supporting, gay rights supporting, man who is clearly not a Christian. . .. . " [even though McCain's position on gay marriage is the same as his!] because of the first phrase, a load of crap is delivered on its heels, rather than humility and thoughtfulness and 1 Cor 13 benefit-of-the-doubt-love.

(By the way, its somewhat hard for me to write this because -- a bit of admission -- I have huge respect for him but literally ache internally about the contradiction of what I see in him overall and this issue.)

Sorry to hijack your blog!

November 11, 2008 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I don't feel hijacked at all! This is what the blog is for. :0)

I really think this is good.

I appreciate the fact that you see that I am looking at all of Obama's facets, and I agree that most who oppose him don't. But that's usually true on either side of any given argument...

Not that I'm better than anyone at all, but I really think that people in an urban context are in a position to see things from more perspectives because I believe we have to; especially if we're in ministry and want to have any integrity.

So, you're right. In most cases, people see "pro-choice" (or "pro-life", to be fair) and that's the end of the thought process. I agree that God's people cannot afford to stop there.

I was thinking a lot about what you said regarding using the term "genocide". For some time, I have been thinking about the reality that people on both sides of the abortion debate tend to demonize the opponent. In confrontations, terms such as "murderer" and "baby killer" or "bigot" and "woman hater" are thrown around with impunity. I have seen this firsthand.

The reality is, the majority of people on both sides have the best of motives. It is not right for us to call people who are pro-choice "butchers", etc., because they truly, honestly see a fetus as a lump of tissue... simply NOT HUMAN, and they honestly see pro-life people as out to besiege the bodies and rights of individuals. It does not help us to call them baby killers, even though in reality that is exactly what they are.

But think of this: Even though they honestly do not see it as a life issue, it is in reality exactly that. So while they may have the best of motives, and from their perspective are doing nothing wrong, they are still guilty of genocide.

I think we cut them slack only in the sense that their worldview is distorted and they are blind. I think it is important for us as Christians to do our BEST to see from others' perspective and understand why they do what they do.

But think of this: Do we cut the same slack for people who owned slaves? They truly, honestly did not see Africans as humans. What about Nazis? They were able to kill Jews without remorse for the same exact reason people can enthusiastically support abortion: What is at stake is not seen as human, or at least not fully human.

No, we do not cut them slack. Perhaps we can understand them better, and it is important to see through their lens, but what they did was reprehensible, whether they saw it that way or not.

Same thing here.

Just try this: Substitute the word "slavery" or "the phrase "killing Jews" for "abortion" and see how that colors the issue.

When Obama (or anyone else) says "I support a woman's right to choose" and the choice being referred to is whether or not she wants to kill Jews, the issue I think becomes a bit sharper.

This is why I see it as a trump card. This is why I cannot vote for an outspoken advocate of abortion. I cannot see how aborting fetuses and euthanizing five year olds is any different.

So, yes, I understand that is definitely not how it is seen through the eyes of pro-choice people, and so I am willing to look at the "other cards" in that sense. But my conscience will not allow me vote for such a person.

November 11, 2008 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

And for the record, I have a significant level of respect for Obama too, despite my polar opposition to his political ideology.

November 11, 2008 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

But his choice of Rahm Emanuel is making me wonder...

November 11, 2008 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Eliot said...

"Here is my grid:
Ploitical ideology
Governing philosophy
Worldview
Character
Competence"

Could you sum up what you understand Obama's ideology, philosophy, worldview, character, and competence to be?

November 12, 2008 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger hammerdad said...

"I really think that people in an urban context are in a position to see things from more perspectives because I believe we have to; especially if we're in ministry and want to have any integrity".

This is a quote of gold Steve.

Rahm E will turn out to be much less than you fear. I think it's actually a good choice for him and not nearly as partisan as Rove.

thanks for the dialogue. Peace.

November 12, 2008 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Gosh, Eliot, I feel like I'm being graded or something...

Political ideology:
Obama is a classic liberal/progressive. Perhaps not as liberal as some other Democrats currently holding public office, but probably the most liberal president since LBJ and perhaps the farthest left of any president. As you know, political liberals envision a significant role for government, particularly the Federal government. Do you need me to explain in this venue my understanding of what a political liberal is?

Governing philosophy:
As a political liberal, I understand Obama's governing philosophy to be solving problems through "legislation, education and taxation." You should have a field day with that statement.

Worldview:
Obama has an essentially humanistic worldview, from everything I have heard him say or read about him. That's not to say he's atheistic or anything. There are lots of people in Mainline denominations who are essentially secualr humanists.

Character:
I do beleive Obama is a man of character, though I am not certain. He talked during the campaign of bipartisanship and cooperation and then selects Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Emanuel is not necessarily an ideologue, but he is quite partisan. One might say he is a pragmatic partisan. That for me puts Obama's charactrer into a bit of question.

I do beleive he sticks to his principles, however, and I have to admire that even if I disagree with many of his principles.

Competence:
Obama is smart but terribly inexperienced and quite possibly underqualified. Since he is smart, he may prove to be a capable president despite his glaring lack of experience. Nonetheless, it does concern me that he has such a thin resume.

Did I pass?

November 12, 2008 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Thank you too, Joel.

I appreciate the fact that we can disagree, learn from each other, and at the end of the day live as brothers.

Now if I could get Eliot to calm down a little...

November 12, 2008 at 12:02 PM  

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