Please Note: The views expressed here are those of the author (and the author alone) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of all connected with Theology Mix.
I’m not sure I’ve ever written an overtly political post before. Funny, for a woman who minored in political science and who used to be slightly obsessed with it all.
But I’ve long since come to the conclusion that the real work of this country belongs to its people. Day by day, in our relationships, our work, and our example, we are the ones who make a difference. Whom we elect matters, but it doesn’t matter as much as whom we affect.
Also, as a pastor, I never want a congregation to feel I’m telling them which way to vote. That’s their free choice and conscience. So I steer clear of that business. But person to person, friend to friend, this is it for me. This is where I stand. And you are free not to—I love you, and you are my brother or sister. I hope you feel the same.
I’m with her. Maybe reluctantly, but finally, that’s where I have to land. Especially if I, as it says here, minister for the next generation.
Because I’m pro-life.
Pro-life. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Life, to God, as far as we can see in Genesis, is sacred because it is God-breathed and God-imaged. Humans are carefully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). They are the image of their creator, and that makes them different from all other that was created. It makes them hallowed.
We are right to be pro-life. God is clearly so. But we are not right when we limit it to a certain scope that makes us comfortable. Can I, as a Christian, be pro-life when I look at a sweet baby in an ultrasound but not when I look at a black man on the street? Can I be pro-life for the baby emerging from its mother’s womb but not the homeless drug addict on the corner? I cannot. I see no way to reconcile that thinking.
I am pro-life. I am pro pre-born life. I am pro-disabled life. I am pro-elderly life. I am pro-refugee life. I am pro-black life. I am pro-police life. I am pro-mentally ill life. I am pro-homeless veteran life. I am pro-undocumented immigrant life. I am pro-women trapped in prostitution life. I am pro-death row life.
I am pro-life from its beginning to its end. God help us when that end is a place where innocent blood cries out for justice, from the sidewalks of Dallas to the seat of a car in Minnesota to a raft crossing the Mediterranean.
It’s difficult to reconcile a party that endorses abortion at any time with that, but it is easier for me than a party that endorses deportation and closed borders to refugees and easy access to firearms that kill thousands. It’s easier than taking the side of a man who ridicules the disabled, women, and the poor and encourages hatred toward Muslims and Hispanics.
Also, realistically, Roe v. Wade has not been overturned in over twenty years of Republican presidents. It will not be. The battle is fought on the front lines by opening our hearts, homes, wallets, etc., to women who see no other options. Let’s keep doing that.
Because I have to look my daughters in the eye.
Ultimately, I’m voting for them. For their future. Do I want it to be a future where the leader of our country has given its men a free pass to look at women as less competent, useful only as adornments to their lives, as well as objects free for the taking?
My generation and the one before me have expended too much energy and time to leave these things farther behind than when we started. I have to tell them I respected them more than that.
However, I know that all three of my daughters could kick the butt of any man who thought they would be easy targets, in any way. So, there is that at least.
Because it’s not about me.
Will some of Ms. Clinton’s policies harm our family? Probably. Universal health care would be a disaster for our country, but also a financial and personal disaster for us.
Might I lose some of my religious freedom? I might. But I have not yet read the Bible verse that told me to put my rights first. I don’t know where God says I have to fight to make sure he can be free to do what he wants. I cant find the place where it equates American sovereignty with God’s. I do know where God said we would be persecuted, we would have trouble, and we should not put our faith in governments. Nor make idols that look suspiciously like party platforms.
I can’t look my daughters, my readers, or my congregation in the eye and tell them I voted for the candidate who would benefit me the most. I don’t think I can look God in the eye, either.
Because only one incites others to his or her particular sins.
Ms. Clinton has her sins. I am well aware that some allegations are true. The difference, for me, is that her sins are hers, and she is not going on the campaign trail encouraging other people to deceive, deal, and deny.
Mr. Trump is actively inciting his followers to hatred and violence. His sins of racism and misogyny are not his own alone—he is spreading them and encouraging people toward divisive behavior. His language invites anger.
“Telling it like it is” is not a virtue. Most of us know that speaking our minds without concern for other humans is a bad idea. Particularly when we resist all fact checking. Yet his followers applaud this lack of concern for other humans beings because it’s “not political.” I can’t live with that standard.
Also, practically speaking, a Republican congress will temper her and check her at every turn. She will be scrutinized and analyzed and held accountable. Balance of power is a wonderful thing. It will not be so with him. He will have a much freer rein. That scares me. A lot.
Because I don’t want to live in his definition of a great America.
America already is great. We have our issues. But we are a country of diversity where people have, for the most part, been able to live together in peace. We are a country that has welcomed the tired, poor, and those yearning to breathe free (Emma Lazarus). We are a people who thrive on these differences and who have some of the greatest minds, creative problem solving ability, and tolerance in the world.
Fearful blustering about how we are falling apart is both false and mean-spirited. Its intent is to divide and blame.
Facts are facts but are also scarce in this case. Our violent crime rates are down. Our abortion rates are down. Our immigrants are more likely to have stable homes and less likely to commit crime the citizens. We are losing jobs to mechanization, not immigrants. Refugees coming into the country are subjected to a vetting process that is both thorough and very long.
These are facts, able to stand up to fact checking.
Other reasons, mostly having to do with sheer experience and temperament and what other countries think of us. But this post is too long already.
A great America, for me, is one where we work together to be free together. It’s one where we hold up the weakest among us, knowing we are the weakest when we don’t. It’s one where we meet fear with compassion. That seems not only closer to what I hear from Ms. Clinton—it sounds closer to what I see in Scripture.
Neither party is anywhere near the Bible—make no mistake. I’m not seeing all this through any color glasses but crystal clear. My reasons are almost as pragmatic as they are faith-bathed. But there they are. And you’re still my brother or sister if you disagree.