Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why Christians voted for a pro-choice President

Why did I vote for a pro-choice President?

First, I really focused on what Jesus taught. The Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 25. Do you know how many verses in the Bible directly address abortion? Zero. How many directly address poverty and oppression? Over 2,000. The scandal Poverty is a life issue that is very important to me.

Second, author Jim Wallis did a good job of explaining “pro-life” when he wrote,

“Choosing life” is a constant Biblical theme, so I will choose candidates who have the most consistent ethic of life, addressing all the threats to human life and dignity that we face — not just one. Thirty-thousand children dying globally each day of preventable hunger and disease is a life issue. The genocide in Darfur is a life issue. Health care is a life issue. War is a life issue. The death penalty is a life issue. And on abortion, I will choose candidates who have the best chance to pursue the practical and proven policies which could dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America and therefore save precious unborn lives, rather than those who simply repeat the polarized legal debates and “pro-choice” and “pro-life” mantras from either side.”

Third, the idea that simply overturning Roe v. Wade will end abortion is as outdated as it is uncaring. It is time to try a new approach; addressing the social and economic reasons behind why most women feel the need for an abortion, and doing it out of a feeling of love and genuine kindness towards the women forced to make such difficult decisions. The old way has failed, let’s be willing to open our hearts to a new way of addressing the issue. The website Pro-Life Pro-Obama has some good research on the issue from a Christian perspective.

We Christians need to take a step back for a moment and look at the big picture. We need more dialogue and less shouting from both sides. Consider this thought from Omar Al-Rikabi at God’s Politics:

“On one side, so-called “values voters” rally for the right to life of the baby. But they see my cousin’s death and the displacement of his family (in Iraq) as “collateral damage” in a war for freedom and their own security.

On the other side, so-called “change voters” protest a war that claims the life of innocents. But they see my unborn daughter’s life or death as a “freedom of choice.”

When I look at the reality of my family in light of a consistent ethic of life, all I hear from most politicians and preachers are inconsistencies. Both sides argue freedom for a way of life. But is any of this really about freedom, or just misplaced selfishness? Could it be as Bono once sang that, “what you thought was freedom was just greed.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jesus for President

The air is filled with smoke in the back room of the Philosopher's Stone Tavern Saturday night in downtown Charlotte. Three days from the 2008 Presidential Election and North Carolina has become a battle ground state with McCain and Obama in a statistical dead heat here. Yet as local hip-hop and rock group One Big Love perform, there were several mentions of candidates who will not be on the ballot November 4th, including an impromptu song about the election:

"I don't want to vote for McCain. I don't want to vote for Obama. I want to write in Jesus."

"We all grew up in the country," Josh says. Brothers Josh and Jason form the core of One Big Love, and aren't afraid to share their views on rap, politics, and growing up in rural North Carolina. "What we'd like to accomplish with out music is to get people to open up their mind. It's got to happen with a revolution of information," says Jason before the show. "Do you think all them rich folk out there care about what's going on here?" Throughout the show the guys express their doubts in the two-party system changing the status quo any time soon, summed up by the original artwork on their fliers, which features a donkey and elephant joined together and painted with an upside-down American flag.

Listening to their music you get a message different than most hip-hop on the radio today, more in the vein of Public Enemy's Fight the Power. Lyrically and occasionally musically the group is similar to Colorado intelli-rap group The Flobots, who speak of social justice with Christian overtimes. Josh says, "We're anti-bling, we don't rhyme about any of that. It's so country and so real. We don't say one thing about Cadillacs. We didn't grow up like that. And people out there rhyme about it that don't have that, like Jason says 'congratulations on being wack.'"

A around a year ago I initially started my spiritual journey to rediscover who Jesus really is, looking at the Bible and forgetting the religious dogma and political spin. I started thinking and having ideas, not knowing at the time that I wasn't alone with these thoughts, or that anybody else had come to any similar conclusions. The brothers haven't heard of Shane Claiborne' s book Jesus for President, but they see past what the religious and political parties are telling us to believe. "Write in Jesus!" They proclaimed again later, as Josh holds up one of the posters for the cheering crowd. It is a sort of epiphany where I think, "Maybe there really is a revolution going on here in Jesusland."

"I try to come from a Biblical standpoint, plain and simple, and that's what the world needs right now," Jason says. "This is Babylon, for real, there's so much confusion and I try to be a beacon for truth. Not everyone knows what's going on, and I'm not saying I do. I try to make people think outside what they hear on the radio or on CNN. It's really a positive movement going on."