a rare political post

i’ve hardly ever posted about politics. that’s not a good thing. i post about all kinds of stuff i’m opinionated about, and receive a good amount of grief about it. my lack of posting about anything remotely political is a semi-shameful revelation of my lack of engagement in political issues.

i had an inherited republican voting record, common to my evangelical pedigree. i’ve felt rather “done” with the republican agenda for some years now, but have been too lazy to do anything about it (including — i’m embarrassed to say — not voting in the california primary a few weeks ago because i’m still registered as a republican, so couldn’t vote for the democratic candidate i’d like to be our next president). while it’s difficult to claim that jesus would be one party or the other, i have strongly felt for several years that the much of the spoken and unspoken values of the democratic party are more biblical and jesus-y than much of the spoken and unspoken values of the republican party.

and, while this could very easily come off as johnny-come-lately jumping onto the bandwagon of popularity: i’m an obama supporter. i can’t be a single-issue voter anymore; and while our country and republican leadership haven’t done anything (or been able to do anything? place the blame where you will — it’s not critical to this point) significant about abortion, i’ve found myself embracing a broader view of the value of human life, which includes all the other aspects of valuing human life and god’s creation that seem to be much more inline with democratic values.

i just read this “why im pro-life and pro-obama” article by frank schaeffer on the huffington post. and, while schaeffer still tends to the overstatement and self-promotion he learned from years in the political arena of the religious right, he has some really good things to say.

i’m sure some will respond, “yeah, obama is a charismatic speech-maker; but does he actually have anything to say?” i think this is a popularist reflection of exactly what hillary and the republicans have been feeding us. yes, our political process is laden with overstatement from all sides. hillary claims experience. of course, if experience is all that’s desired, it seems mccain would be the better choice. and i don’t dismiss hillary’s experience — she does have it. but experience in how things have always been done is not what i’m interested in at this time. i’d rather have a good dose of inexperience mixed with passion and authenticity and leadership and values i care about.

i don’t think it’s fair to make the presidential race about gender or race (and have actually been pleasantly surprised that it hasn’t devolved to that very often); but i have to add that i think it’s embarrassing that the united states has never had anything but a white male president.

so there it is: i’m supporting obama. come on, texas and ohio: bring it.

a final disclaimer: while many of my posts here do, in one way or another, reflect views of youth specialties, this one is only me.

61 thoughts on “a rare political post”

  1. Dude

    PLUS the man is one of ours…goole Obama and United Church of Christ. He wrote some great stuff for our denomination’s newspaper a few years back.

  2. Without wanting to strike the fires of debate…Steve I see the “he’s one of us” mantra as part of the problem with the political system.

    It would be grand if we eliminated political parties all together. Then we could really hear what people are saying and not what the “group” is pushing.

  3. Obama may be the most passionate and authentic but I really don’t think I like the idea of our tax rate sky rocketing so the government can come to the rescue of all those in need.
    Shouldn’t the church be doing that?

  4. I have voted pro life for years but decided two years ago I would vote based on the person as a whole and not one issue. I am facinated by Obama. Alot of people say there is no substance but if we are honest how much substance of the other canidates do we believe will happen? I was a Rudy supporter and now I’m trying to find someone I like and Obama seems to be one.

  5. i could be wrong, but I think Steve was referring to Obama’s church affiliation (United Church of Christ)

    I suspect Steve is a pastor in a United Church of Christ community

  6. Steve said, “he’s one of OURS” not “he’s one of US”. Senator Obama is a member of a UCC church. My comment was more about pride in my affilation. If he had been a Cleveland Browns fan, it would be the same thing. It was his writings in our denominational newspaper that first drew me to his website where i read more about what he stands for. It certainly was not my intention to spark a “us and them” discussion. Apologies to you, Marko for inadvertently taking it in that direction.

  7. well marko, here we go.

    i voted for a pro-life candidate the last 2 general elections. those votes have cost tens of thousands of lives. i have to live with that. with that being said, i am not going democrat either. hear me out on this. i am withdrawing my party affiliation officially and registering as “no party affilliation”.

    the reason why is just because i think the best vote i can cast in november is a “no vote”. to walk into the polls, grab my ballot and cast a vote in favor of no one. my faith doesn’t allow to vote for a pro-choice candidate. my faith doesnt allow me to vote for a pro-war candidate. and i don’t believe the government should be doing the work of the church. it has worked out poorly for all involved.

    i am not saying you or anyone else cannot vote. i am just explaining why i am not.


  8. Marko – well said. If I would add one thing, it would be this: I feel that I can trust him. I didn’t say agree with him, but I trust him to say something and then do it. There has not been, from day one, another candidate that made me believe that I could trust them.

    I may not agree with him on some issues, but at least when he tells us something I think we’ll get a straight answer. “Better the devil you know….”

    I think Senator Obama will bring some much needed character back to the White House.

  9. I agree with Chris. Great he wants give universal health care to all without really talking about closing the borders. Great he wants to add all these programs to help people that in a lot of cases are not trying to help themselves.
    Just wait until our taxes jump up like crazy to pay for all of this crap. Both parties in this country suck big time. Until we get a viable third party or we stop focusing on parties we are going to continue to get shit on.

  10. steve: no problem. good thing he’s not a cleveland browns fan! :)

    joe: you might expect this response, and it’s a bit ironic coming from the guy who has admitted his political laziness, but i think there is nothing good to come from a “no vote”. i think (my opinion) it’s a lazy move, not a vote of conscience. every candidate you and i have ever voted for would have positions we wouldn’t agree with. thinking you can find a candidate with whom you align on every single issue seems to miss the point.

    your faith allows you to do more than you’re giving it credit for.

    randy: hmmm, taking care of the poor and sick and the alien. why does that sound so familiar? OH! maybe, because it’s in the bible about 2000 times! now, let’s hear you build a biblical case for not helping people because some of them aren’t trying to help themselves.

  11. randy, that’s ridiculous.. How about we don’t give any more money to ANY non-profit organizations because the Bible clearly doesn’t say that we’re supposed to rely on non-profit organizations to reach the needy…

    WE as the CHURCH (body of Christ, not the institution of the church) are supposed to take care of those in need… In fact the only thing the Bible says about the government is to respect its laws and pay your taxes.

    So as a member of the Body of Christ I am more than willing to allow my government to help those in need as long as I dont use that as an excuse to not do my part on my own.

    The good samaritan wasn’t even a part of the kingdom of God as far as the jews were concerned and yet that is the example we’re given to follow. I say empower whoever we can to help those in need… if it means i can’t pay for a HD tv or a DVR or a nice car, because a bit more is going towards taxes… so be it.

  12. Randy,

    The reason the government does it is because the church failed to do it for many, many, many, years.

  13. fair enough, randy, though i think that’s a bit of a non-sequiter, in many ways, as there were no governments when the bible was being written that would have even considered helping the poor or otherwise in need. yes, first and foremost, we christ followers should be helping (serving, loving) people directly. but voting for a president who wants to leverage the government to that end isn’t in competition with that.

    randy, i don’t know you beyond occasional blog comments, so this next comment is NOT about you, or an accusation: i think republicans (myself included for years) have used anti-social-welfare language to justify our own selfishness and greed. in fact, we have said we don’t want government to spend money on the poor, that it should the responsibility of the church and/or individuals, but:
    1. we’ve been very willing for the government to spend millions (billions, trillions) on other programs and values that make “me” wealthier and happier.
    2. i think the only people who can honestly and fairly say that government shouldn’t help people, and that the responsibility should rest solely on individuals and the church, would be those who are giving their entire lives, wallets, careers, lifestyles to that end. really, most of us are the rich young ruler.

    not trying to pick a fight, randy. just responding.

  14. Dude, I have never met you but hopefully in the future I will. Yes I disagree with you sometimes, but you still have a passion for God, youth and youth workers that amazes me. And that is the reason I come back to this blog all of the time.

    What I am trying to say is that our government is failing us, both parties and all branches of the government. So generally I do not really take my faith into consideration when choosing a candidate or proposition. I go with who ever will make the government smaller. Because the more we can get them out of our lives, the better I believe it will be for all of us. Funny that the nation that bills it self on freedom has so many laws telling us how we live our lives.

    Our government continues to fail us and regardless of who we elect in the fall, a democrat or republican, they will probably continue to do this until we get real change. That is why we as Christians I think will continue to fail if we use our government as a tool to actually helping people.

    Chuckk Gerwig is my pastor, we started a new service at our church called elevation (elevationsc.org). I say this not to get a free plug, but more because he can say how I feel better then I can. As we continue to meet each week he will continue to say how we need to do things to not separate us from the people who need to here the Jesus story and ways of doing this with out jamming the bible down their throat but being an example and being invested in their lives (and I am not talking about money).

    Sorry for the long post, just wanted to respond.

  15. Jeremy,

    I guess I was not clear in what I was trying to say. Maybe I cleared it up about, maybe I just confused things more. But my point there was in response to something that marko said. I am not saying that we do not do it because the bible did not say it is ok. My rant really is more about how the government sucks, and to rely on them to do anything will only cause more problems. Look how they handle medicare/medical, social security, education just to name a few. My wife and I adopted our son from the foster care system. Having to deal with them for healthcare as well as the child protective services really teaches you things about trusting in the government to do anything.

  16. i hear you marko.i know it seems that way that is a lazy move. but for me, when i align myself with a party, my voice to speak prophetically to a nation is compromised and marginalized because i would be dismissed as just another religious right/left guy. i would be defined by my party, not my faith. i hear ya though.

  17. for the first time in my adult life (been votin for prez since ’92, worked a campaign in ’88) i’m genuinely excited at the prospect of an issues-driven campaign. obama vs mccain holds the potential of two candidates legitimately arguing their points of view and policies, with voters given a real choice.

    then again, this IS the world of politics, and it could turn messy fast if either side chooses. i’m afraid the GOP is more likely to go negative faster this year — but it would be worse if clinton ends up as the Dems’ nominee.

  18. I am so excited about this election as well. I live in the South…GA to be exact and almost everyone in my church is a single issue (pro-life) voter. Don’t misunderstnad, I am pro-life as well, but I am not voting with the republican nominee this year. Just like you, Marko, I am kinda sick of them. The republicans want to save the life of the unborn child, but I don’t think they want to do much to protect and preserve that very same life down the road. Our health-care system sucks and too many people die because they simply can’t afford to live…where’s the pro-life in that Mr. Republican? That’s the questions I would love to ask!

    Believe it or not, my pastor actually told me that if I voted Democrat to not tell anyone! WTH!

    I just wish that people would wake up and realize that the only reason republicans play the pro-life card is b/c the KNOW that it will get the right wing vote AND they fully intend to make it a non-issue when they get into office. My personaly belief is that we will never see Roe V Wade over-turned. I believe that the church needs to accept that and do everything it can to educate young women about abortion (and its consequences) infused with the love and gospel of Christ.

  19. so, as being another individual who felt, for a long time, that the churches would do a better job of taking care of the poor if only the government weren’t taking so much of our money…

    why aren’t we?

    the church isn’t taxed. and money donated to the church is tax-deductible (well, never has been for me. but i’m sure for the wealthier upper-middle class it is).

    so how come churches are putting more money into their building campaigns (and staff, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), then towards the poor, the widows, prisoners or towards education.

    if a church can put millions towards a face-lift of their edifice, why just thousands towards some food pantry?

    i’m not saying that that’s always the case, but that that argument is a major cop-out. and i’m getting sick and tired of it coming from well-meaning brothers and sisters.

  20. In a perfect world – communism would be the ideal, but we all know that the world is far from perfect. The government is already in trouble with the social security system & medicare expecting it to solve any other problems is insane. It is fine to talk about all of these things but coming up with a way to actually accomplish them is another story. I hear Obama telling everyone what they want to hear but I don’t see any real proposals.

  21. Warning…Political Rant…
    I am considering not voting…I feel that the people are running are not even worth my valuable time. The people that should be running should be handling the inflation of gas prices in light of record profits of the oil companies. They should have a concrete plan for the war in Iraq, instead a hit and miss throught process or an early pull out. How about actually going after the source of why 9/11 happened so many years ago now. A better plan for imigration than building a big fence. This country was founded on the idea of a spiritual refuge. Lets get back to those roots. What ever happened to the heroic presidents? FDR, or PM Churchill. If I am going to vote it is going to take someone who is going to be a real person with integrity, respectible…leaders that inspire and have ideas about dealing with real issues. A person who doesn’t let stupid court battles chasing after baseball players and steroid use and actually use the peoples money to make life better living here in America.

  22. Democracy sucks. We wanted it, we got it. Just like God warned the Israelites against having a king instead of the judges he provided them, we wanted more freedom and we have to deal with it.

    Governments will always be there, whether they are a democracy, dictatorship or communist regime. They are necessary to prevent total anarchy.

    While I understand you Americans are probably totally fed up with both of your parties. We need to remember as Romans 13:1 says that we are subject to the governing authorities. As citizens of a democratic country, we need to do our best to make educated votes, realizing there will never be a perfect party or a perfect King unless God himself is ruling the nation.

    I agree with Marko and the others that have said you can’t pick an issue and vote because of that issue but need to consider all the other implications. I also strongly agree that a person or party should not be voted for because of their religious affiliation. I mean .. Why? You actually think you live in a “Christian” country? You vote for your leader to lead your country economically, politically, and socially. Not religiously. That is the job of the Church (and not that we need more “religion” either, but I think you know what I mean).

    I’m not even American (Canadian), but I like what I am hearing about Obama and he might be the change that your country needs, but then, Mr. Clinton was a good president all things considered.

    God be with you as you vote, it’s a tough call.

  23. Here’s my deal and I’ve been stewing over it for about two weeks now, so forgive me if I cross the line from discussion to ranting. Marko, hopefully you know me well enough to know this isn’t at you but thoughts in general based on what you said.

    I have many friends who are supporting Obama and I see a great similarity between them and the religous right of 20 plus years ago. They seem to have an overhyped hope that someone can come along and offer real change, it’s not going to happen.

    Our hope is not in a political system or candidate. We should vote and be responsible citizens but no person or party is going to satisfy the hope and longing that most of us have for a greater country and better lives for our families. We have to work hard for it in our neigborhoods, in our schools, in our churches and in our families.

    I’m among the 20% or less that is not opposed to us being in Iraq. This is a worldview war. We will not change their view of us by anything we do. If we leave, we reinforce the view that we are weak and can not follow through so they should not fear us. Radical Islam and it’s followers are enemies of everyone who is not one of them. You can’t agree to disagree and live together but avoid each other. I belive the Republicans have a better view of this and withdrawal is only delaying the fight that will continue down the line.

    Peace would be great, who doesn’t want it? But as long as we are evil just because we exist and are offspring of the Evil West, we will always have to fight them.

    Disclosure: Before I came back to local church youth ministry I was within 2-4 months of becoming an army chaplain. I wanted to be that to serve our troops but also because I believed in the military’s purpose of protecting us and promoting/pushing democracy. Democracy is not perfect but within our fallen world, it’s the best we have for now.

    That felt cathartic, thanks. :-)

  24. Len,

    can i just say that i whole-heartedly agree with your position (and voiced by many) that we should not look towards a political messiah. obama will not be able to deliver on all that he campaigns on. and we should not expect him to superman save us from ourselves.

    but you did touch on a very important reason why i think it necessary to vote for him. you state:

    This is a worldview war. We will not change their view of us by anything we do. If we leave, we reinforce the view that we are weak and can not follow through so they should not fear us. Radical Islam and it’s followers are enemies of everyone who is not one of them.

    unfortunately, it has been our involvement in Muslim holy sites coupled with bad economies in these regions and – more recently – the imperialism and destructive war that we’ve waged (not to forget, firing the entire Iraqi army and Ba’ath party members all at once, leaving a lot of unemployed, angry and armed people laying around) which has added to our difficulties with radical Muslims.

    and i believe that Obama gives a different perspective to the rest of the world of what America is and can be about.

  25. wait so the leader for youth specialties is heading in a liberal emerging direction :gasp:

    but…on a more serious note I can never vote democratic – big government with higher taxes is not so good in my mind. I prefer big business with lower taxes, that’s the republican way =)

  26. yeah, “The Reblican Way” was abandoned by Bush. I voted for him three times. Once for gov. I can look past the spending on Iraq, Katrina, the Tsunami relief, etc. He has been THE worst example of a conservative regarding econmic issues that I can imagine.

  27. Randy,

    to change directions for a second, the reason Osama (not to be confused with OBama) and his like went after the US is largely because of our military stay in or near Muslim holy sites, particularly after the first Iraqi war, in Saudi Arabia.

    it was arrogant of us to not care about what Muslims consider sacred. all this talk about Muslims hating us, or Arabs hating us just because of who we are and what we stand for – that’s just so much horse radish.

  28. right on, I’m tired of the right not being like Jesus and trying to tell me and the rest of Christianity how to vote or be Christians. While I dont agree with everything the Dems say or do, I’m finding more and more of what I believe in, in their platform.

  29. I don’t like to reply to political posts…I feel like they are personal things that we end up arguing about…this has 37 comments and most of yours don’t get this high.

    I do have to respond to the Canadian who said Democracy sucks though. I thank God every day that I live in a Democracy in which I am free to believe what I want and vote for who I want and then respond to anything they do that is dumb without repercussions.

    Democracy rules!

    I am disappointed in those voting for Obama since he’s a lot of sly-tongued speeches with no substance in which how he’s planning on paying for it. He’s getting into the White House on fluff and he’s gonna raise our taxes doing it. Then our freedoms will be taken from us in the form of over regulations in how much CO2 we “emit” when science is showing that we’re heading into a Global Cooling trend, not Global WarmingTM. I am not happy with any of the candidates this year and pray that God will protect my country until 2012 when we can maybe get a better person to run.

    Rant off.

  30. “I do have to respond to the Canadian who said Democracy sucks though. I thank God every day that I live in a Democracy in which I am free to believe what I want and vote for who I want and then respond to anything they do that is dumb without repercussions.

    Democracy rules!”

    We are free in Christ – does anything else matter?

  31. Err, wish I could edit, not only are we free in Christ, but “our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20). We don’t belong to this country or that. Would living under a communist regime change what you believe?

    I too thank God I live in a democratic country … most of the time .. I think … maybe not actually. Maybe we need a little persecution to spur us on.

  32. Obama/McCain will be an excellent election. Two guys who have each ticked off their respective parties for not toeing the party line. Those are going to be some interesting debates. These two make me want to do all that nerdy research on voting records, and go find all the transcripts from their past speeches, etc. I could even go so far as to do spreadhseets and pie graphs on these two. I haven’t wanted to engage like that in an election… well, ever. And I think a lot of folks feel the same way as me.

  33. Hey Marko,
    I too am an Obama fan. I believe he is an honorable man who seeks God as he makes decisions and truly will do what’s best for our country. I admire your bravery for posting your political opinion!

  34. Big Mike:

    He has a plan and he has laid it out. If you are interested in knowing his plan; take a look. It is laid out.

    He has shared how the middle class will receive tax-cuts and the rich and companies will be taxed more.

    You can arge about trickle down economics is better or you can talk that taxing the rich will hurt us as a country; but he has a plan to pay for the programs.

    In Illinois, he increased rvenue through taxing the rich and companies while lowering taxe on mid-class and poor.

    The end results, more revune, balanced budget and programs added; imagine that.

    BTW, I am not an Obama supporter; yet.

  35. This week I am in the Middle East for my second trip in the last year. I have little doubt that if America is courageous enough to elect an African-American to the Presidency…it will be the most positive step forward for the image of the United States in 20 years. I strongly support such a goal and support for a man who has little Washington experience but a vision for equality and economic justice in America.

  36. Yeah, well, I’m intrigued by Obama and would love to see him as the Democratic nominee over Hillary any day. But I’m not convinced that the dems are more pro-life, in a wholistic way, that the Rs are.

    I continue to think that the person who nominates Supreme Court justices has the real power. It’s that Court that mandates sweeping changes over our lives more than the other two branches, IMO. And the influence continues for generations, not just a four year term or two.

    That said, I’m still intrigued by Obama.

    But I’ve gotta say that I think you’re off the mark when you attribute the origins of Frank Schaeffers “overstatement and self-promotion” to his involvement in the religious right.
    Frank has been one of the biggest self-promoters, living off his parents’ names, for years, and it ain’t got nothin’ to do with the religious right. As for “overstatement,” he comes by that on his own, too. In other words, the ‘religious right’ get blamed for lots of things, but they shouldn’t get blamed for Frank’s flaws.

  37. I think a lot of times I fail to pray when it comes to deciding which candidate I will ultimately support; likewise, I fail to pray for the one who ends up being elected. I hope we will all take time to pray hard for whomever we choose to support, whether Democrat or Republican.

  38. I think we need to look at the bigger picture as Americans. While very important, the presidential vote isn’t the end all solution for our country’s shortcomings and problems. We also need to look at the House and Senate. They control the money and make the laws. Which candidate will work best with both? Who in the house and senate will work good with the next president?
    At this point, I’m undecided. I don’t align myself with any party because they both stand for issues I believe in. I want somebody though that is going to seek God’s direction and vote based on that direction.

  39. I think its safe to say that we wont find a fix to what ails our governmental system until we all really engage the political system and start calling our “leaders” to task when they don’t live up to their promises. This means it is irresponsible NOT to vote. Democracy only works when citizens participate. We need to start regularly voting politicians who don’t act in the best interests of the people out of whatever office they are in and putting in those who will get the job done. Maybe if enough of our politicians get fired, they will start acting less like politicians and more like the public servants we need them to be. Just some food for thought.
    BTW Marko, the jury is still out for me on this election, but i appreciate your food for thought.

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