“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:16 (NRSV)
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” — Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV)
So there’s an elephant here in the room. A reader asked about it a few days ago, and I said I would get to it. So here’s the elephant (an appropriate metaphor for the GOP, yes?)
Most Christians who vote for Trump are voting for him because of one issue: abortion. I have thought long and deep about this issue. My sweet husband would not be here if his 17-year-old-unmarried mother had not chosen, at great personal cost, to give him life and adoptive parents. On the other hand, I did not become a believer until I was in my forties–too late to prevent the abortion I had in my twenties. I know that I am forgiven for that sin, but it still does not wipe away the grief and sadness I feel today for that lost child. I understand the passion of those who are pro-life because I am too. I used to be a one-issue voter but not any longer. So here are some thoughts*:
- Abortion has been with us forever. Laws about it will not make it go away. Laws did not keep God’s people in the Old Testament from breaking them. What makes us think that our laws are any different?
- God’s laws are meant for believers. It is a sin for a believer to have an abortion, yes; but not everyone who lives in this country is a Christian who believes that God has made all life sacred. Can we force our laws and beliefs on them? What this really tells me is that we Christians have failed. God calls us to love people, to tell them about Jesus, and when they accept Him, God gives them a new spirit; they need to believe abortion is killing a child before it becomes a sin to them. It is actually easier for us to say, ‘Let’s make a law against it’ rather than try to witness Christ to them.
- Pro-life means more than protecting life in the womb. Pro-life means supporting families and not tearing them apart in immigration camps. Pro-life means supporting poor women who simply can’t afford to lose the job they just got and will have to give up because they are pregnant. Pro-life means being pro-people of color who live in the hard section of town. Pro-life means not ending health insurance plans for those who can’t afford it. Pro-life is against the death penalty and assault rifles. Pro-life means being supportive of mental health treatment and addiction programs, and prisoner re-training programs…Dr. Lodovico Balducci, an M.D., writes in his article, “Why I’m pro-life but not pro-Trump” why pro-life means more than the abortion debate:
Under our American brand of capitalism, human life has become a commercial good that can be disposed of when it ceases to serve the prevailing power. If you doubt that, look at the administration’s willingness to sacrifice the lives of the poor, the front-line workers and the aged during this pandemic to “open up the economy.”
- Can we overlook all the other “abominations” of this president’s policies and character in favor of one issue?
- Our founders and writers of the constitution guaranteed us freedom of religion. That means freedom for Christians, freedom for Jews, freedom for Muslims, freedom for Hindus, freedom for atheists… We cannot codify Christian moral laws as the absolute. We can do our best to follow those laws, and we should do our best to witness to others, so they also can live in the freedom of grace and truth that we have. But we cannot legislate Christian laws in a plural society. Instead of trying to force our Christian values on those who don’t believe (which makes us look like morality police) we should let our lights shine before others, so they can see our good deeds, and our joy, and want what we have… (See Matthew 5:16 above.)
- As Christians, we are not to judge unbelievers, only our brothers and sisters in Christ. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? — 1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV) That’s why we get called hypocrites all the time. If we spent more time loving people into the kingdom instead of judging their behaviors, the world might be knocking down our church doors to get in.
This post is longer than usual, and I hope that if you have even the smallest doubt about casting your vote for the current president — if you are that one-issue voter — then this will encourage you to look into his policies more closely. Stephanie Krider resigned her post as Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life because she could not support his reelection. She said, ” I can’t look at any of his behavior and see evidence of the Holy Spirit in his life. Nothing about his words or actions are kind or gentle or faithful or full of self-control.”
We aren’t to judge his actions by the same standards as ours because he obviously is not a believer. But we can sure as heck vote him out of office…
*These are my thoughts, and if you’ve read this far, I hope you can tell that I’ve struggled with this issue, and what I’ve written down is my humble attempt to get readers to think about it too. Just today I heard Republican pro-life former governor John Kasich say that he is voting for Joe Biden because at this moment in time we have to be Americans first. That Joe Biden is reasonable. He listens. He is good at reaching out to everyone. He just might be a peacemaker. And this country needs that now more than anything.