Friday, February 01, 2008

Election 2008: More Than One Christian Candidate

Super Tuesday is a'comin'! Here's a little something I wrote in response to comments on my election blog on the Today's Christian Woman website:

I'd prefer our country’s leader believe in God. But if faith is all we're demanding in a president, we're demanding too little.

Whether or not a presidential candidate is likely to turn to God for wisdom is hugely important to me. I do want to know the candidate's faith, but that's all the information I need. I believe the American people do not benefit from a prove-your-faith contest—it is a waste of time that could be better utilized to discuss the issues affecting our country.

And I believe it does not edify the church for political candidates to rattle off a few Bible verses come election time. Consider the perception these candidates are creating when, having not been vocal about their beliefs in the past, they suddenly start discussing Scripture and hymns during an election. I have a feeling they won't be talking about these things in a year. Will this make faith look like something to be put on when it is useful? Will this make faith appear to be shallow or surface? Will it make Christianity look like a mere social affiliation? The overuse of faith as a political buzzword dilutes its real meaning.

We shouldn't be analyzing the perceived depth of faith of a candidate, then choosing based on whoever seems like the "best Christian." If my church were interviewing for a pastor, the candidate's depth of faith would be my primary concern. Conversely, in considering my vote for president, faith may be a must-have quality, but that quality still plays a tiny role in my decision.

Here's a simple illustration of what I mean. If I go out for lunch one day and see I have many choices, I might think to myself, "I want to eat something hot, not cold." I've decided my food must be hot. But beyond that, I have a lot more decision-making to do. I've really only ruled out a few choices.

In the current presidential race, almost all of the candidates profess Christian faith. So we've got a whole lot of choices to make.

Misplaced Faith
Is faith the most important issue in the 2008 presidential race?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This year’s Democratic race has been interesting. The field is now narrowed down to a woman and an African American. Listening to talk radio and to all of the political pundits talk about this historical race has been a bit of an eye opener when it comes to how the issues of race and gender play into it all. Oprah has gotten nasty responses on her blog from angry women who say that she needs to trade in her “female parts” because she supports Obama and not the woman in the race. So what is an African American woman supposed to do? Earlier on the Republican side, it was interesting to hear the discussions related to Romney’s Mormonism. I find it fascinating to hear the pundits debate whether or not a Mormon is electable, or whether or not a woman or African American have a chance. I think this just shows how polarized and tribal we still are in this so called, “melting pot” called America. We evangelicals need to mindful that we are not falling into the same type of mindset. In the past, it seemed like candidates, especially on the right, had to pass some type of “Kosher Christian” test before they could be considered. That means that the candidate must say the right things when it comes to God, guns, gays, and gestation. Candidates on the left just tried to avoid talking about faith. I see some encouraging signs that this is changing. But the bottom line is that I agree that we are not picking a “Pastor and Chief” for our nation. We are basically selecting the CEO of our country. Therefore, as much as a person’s race, gender, or faith may be interesting, we need to prayerfully choose a candidate that we feel will do the best job leading us!

Here is a great tool that is a fun way to see which candidate is most compatible with your views on various issues. I did it, and the candidate I support came out at the top of my list. So now I feel more confident that I am voting for my candidate for the right reasons. I encourage everyone to do this quick survey BEFORE the elections on Tuesday (Super Tuesday states). Here’s the link: