Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Pragmatic Choice

I seem to have two choices. Okay, there are a lot more choices for President, but among them only two men have a real chance to serve in that office.

I can vote for Barack Obama and pray fiercely that he will not enact laws that will make convenient abortion* more convenient while Christians are struggling to explain to a post-modern world why they believe it to be morally wrong.

I can vote for John McCain and pray fervently that he will not incite or perpetuate military action that will cause more wholesale death and destruction among lost people in other nations: men, women, children, babies.

Voting for either one, I will still need to pray with all my heart that a second Depression for our nation (and therefore, the world) will not be required to illuminate where true riches need to be sought, and that followers of Christ will still be up to the task of selling their possessions and seeing to it that no one is in need.

Okay, there are lots more issues at stake than these, and if you have read my blog for any length of time, you will know what else I will be praying for. And you can really boil most of it down, weed out the selfishness, and it would be: "Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

So I will continue praying, right up to the moment that I pencil that dark splotch next to the name of a Presidential candidate and his running mate on November 4.

If you have any interest at all, right now I am not inclined to vote for John McCain. As President, he would be Commander-in-Chief of military forces which can be sent anywhere in the world at any hour of the day or night to do anything he orders, and Senator McCain has expressed an interest in - I am sorry to have to put it this way - attacking first and negotiating later. And while he might have an opportunity to appoint new members of the Supreme Court, this body has not heard a case in 35 years that has moved it to overturn Roe v. Wade, and its current cast of characters is relatively youthful.

I am inclined to vote for Barack Obama. As President, there is not a great deal that he could do on his own to worsen the existing deluge of women choosing to have abortions - not without the help of Congress, which should have its hands full investigating the nation's economic meltdown and taking measures to keep it from getting worse. On this matter, Senator Obama's plans seem to favor a greater number of disadvantaged Americans without relying only on the generosity of the insanely wealthy to voluntarily redistribute income by employing them, which corporate America seems loath to do.

Given the remarks of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan before the House of Representatives today, it is only astounding to some people that the reason a free market economy must have some legal, restraining factors is common, ordinary, anyone-can-have-it-rich-or-poor greed.

I know this pragmatic choice will offend many people, including many dear brothers and sisters in Christ - some of whom believe with all their hearts that there is one and only one issue upon which their vote must be based.

But, with all due respect to them, voting is only one choice and it is an easy one and it ultimately doesn't really solve the question of rampant, convenient abortion. Solutions usually come as the result of really hard choices.

One really hard choice we are called to make is to reach out, gracefully explaining Christ's selfless nature to women who would choose convenient abortion whether it is legal or not.

Another really hard choice we are called to make is supporting women who choose to keep their babies or to offer them for adoption - supporting them emotionally, spiritually and financially.

Still another really hard choice we are called to make is the one made by eleven couples at my home church, electing to serve as foster and adoptive parents for babies - many of them of a different race - which are born to mothers who might have otherwise chosen abortion.

Now those are hard choices - as well as pragmatic ones - and they make a difference.


*I use the term "convenient abortion" to differentiate it from medically-necessary abortion - and even abortion resulting from rape, though there are those who have valiantly avoided the latter. Scripture does not anywhere suggest that any kind of abortion is the unforgiveable sin (after all, there are spontaneous abortions that no one chooses), and I have to suspect that God has good reasons for that. Abortion that is sought to avoid difficult consequences of foolish actions is what I define as "convenient" - and completely selfish.

46 comments:

mattdabbs said...

This is a tough one as Obama seems to say what is convenient. When people start saying he is weak on defense then he starts talking tough to Russia in regard to Georgia. The same was true with Al Qaeda in Pakistan on the border. If my memory is correct he said he would bomb them. They are allies with us. That is crazy. Bomb territory of our allies with no negotiation or consent on their part yet sit down with holocaust deniers and anti-Semites in Iran. He just doesn't have good judgment in so many areas including who he makes good friends with. Either he is the most naive person in the world or he is very foolish. Neither is good for commander and chief. Anyway, I do not like our options this time around. I could say just as many negative things about McCain but I don't have time. I am inclined toward McCain but I am going to despise voting for him. That is so sad.

Keith Brenton said...

That's it, Matt. Muddy the waters for me!

; )

mattdabbs said...

Keith,

The waters are so muddy for me this time. Sorry for passing it on to your blog :(

I just keep asking myself "Who do I trust/believe more when they open their mouth?" Problem is, both have purposefully misrepresented the policies of the other. I call that a lie and they are both guilty. Oh well...sad thing is they both claim to be Christians and yet approve of messages that are dishonest.

DJG said...

I was very disappointed in the Republican choice for presidential candidate and I understand your hesitancy to vote for McCain. My vote is not driven by the Pro-life issue as I agree with your arguments on that subject. But I agree with Matt about Obama. I don't know what he stands for. He is a smooth talker that seems to say what ever he thinks folks want to hear with no practical experience to back him up. I wish there was a viable third choice but my vote for the lesser of two evils will not be for Obama.

laymond said...

Keith, I will be voting for O'Bama If you look back to comments made by both candidates there is not much if any difference on what they say about abortion, but there is a great deal of difference in their opinion on war, the killing of many innocent people, as you said babies included. As I recall there were many "Christians" who seemed to agree with G. Bush when he decided to bomb a country who had not attacked us. I remember seeing the "Shock and Awe" and wondering about the innocent victims of two mad men, and just how many children were in the way of those bombs. No I won't vote for more of that insanity.

laymond said...

Keith, looks like I am the only one here who can pull that lever, or push that button with a good conscience. I always feel good after voting, and I will vote with a clear conscience this time as well.
I believe we are warned against doing things against a good conscience.

mattdabbs said...

Laymond,

It is hard to tell someone they shouldn't vote without having a clear conscience when you have looked at both candidates and been disgusted with each. All I can say is I can vote for one candidate with a less bad feeling than voting for the other. It is sad that is what it has come down to but that is just how I feel. You can go down the list of each candidates track record/experience, their voting record, and their proposed plans for their presidency/policies and neither one looks good on paper. I even heard of one republican giving an endorsement for Obama saying he hopes Obama is lying about all these issues and will do something different than he says if he wins the election. Isn't that crazy that we have come to that where people feel that way about either candidate? Just crazy...

The point has been made that there may not be much difference between Obama and McCain on abortion. I would challenge that assertion if you look at their voting records and the potential of who each would nominate for the supreme court. What is equally interesting to me is that it seems people here are saying McCain is basically war crazy but when you look at what both men have said it isn't clear cut and dried that McCain would bomb people all over the place and Obama would be some great dove. Both have made outlandish comments about who they would bomb. Does that worry anyone? It does me.

Chris said...

If McCain had the long track record of questionable associates that Obama does we wouldn't hear the last of it. Chicago thugs, Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, support of Raila Odinga, mentor and communist Frank Marshall Davis, disciple of Marxist Saul Alinsky. He was a radical when he first hit Chicago and he still is. Add to that his far-left domestic policy, his plan to raise capital-gains tax, his inpractical plan for universal health care, his radical plan to tax Americans to fund a global-poverty reduction program, through the UN no less, his less than steller record as a state senator, ditto national. WHAT ARE WE THINKING?

Then of course, add to that he lied about his relationship with Ayers and tries to keep the other relationships quiet. Where is the media? They are in bed with him. The fact that he is pro-abortion is way down on the list. He is a Socialist, no doubt about it. I never thought the U.S. would come to this in my lifetime.

Keith Brenton said...

Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn, John McCain), and Donald W. Riegle, were accused of improper association with Lincoln Savings & Loan Association's Charles H. Keating, Jr. during the near-collapse of the industry. Three Democrats were adjudged to have had improper associations; Glenn and McCain were simply found to have exercised "poor judgment."

Does that make all of them sell-outs by virtue of their association with each other in Congress or with S&L chiefs who contributed to their campaigns? Congress didn't think so, but if you ask a Republican and a Democrat today, you will get two wildly different answers.

Virtually no one in politics can claim an spotless past or unquestionable relationships.

What are we voters thinking? That unproven partisan allegations don't lead to a conclusion, Chris - about anything or anyone.

And thinking people are getting pretty sick of them.

laymond said...

Keith is absolutely right, IMO when he said no one in politics can claim innocence, I believe he could have expanded that charge to include most if not all of us. McCain has plenty of marks against his personal life to condemn him by most "Christians" but I am one who believes in forgiveness, a second chance if you will, I know everyone does not see things like I do but we haven't all been to the same places. some people see McCain's imprisonment and torture as a qualifying experience, I see it as a mark against his being in charge of the world's mightiest military machine, his temperament I believe has a lot to do with his treatment while in prison. There are many military personnel who wake up during the night screaming and trying to get out of Vietnam even to this day. John McCain has violent episodes with his fellow senators and threats are given to some who disagree with him, ask around you will find I am not exaggerating on this subject, even some of his fellow republican senators say his temperament is not that of one who can be president. He scares the heck out of me and many of his co-workers. I won't vote for this person to place his hand on the button.

laymond said...

Oh by the way, if there are those out there who believe I just made this up, Google (McCain's temper) and see what you get, if you are interested.

believingthomas said...

Keith,
It seems to me folks are awfully quick to defend or more likely attack the candidate they are against.

No one wants to talk about the hard choices you mentioned. It is sad so much energy has been spent on two men who I suspect are more hungry for power than for righteousness.

I would tell you that I remain undecided but I don't want all the emails telling me how Obama is dangerous and I suspect that it is more because his skin color is different. Nor do I want the ones telling me how evil oil companies are driving the killing of innocent people. I've received enough of both of them.

All you looking or a savior on capitol hill can come here to Mississippi and vote multiple times if you like. We don't check ID's here.

But Keith your are right, that what we choose on these other matters is of far more importance.

preacherman said...

I believe we need to be in serious prayer for John McCain and Barak Obama.

I have a questions. Does scripture say that God puts those who lead in the positions that they are in for a reason? Does God choose? Select? Is it his will that leaders come to power?

I think this post is great.
Thank you for discussing this topic.

Keith Brenton said...

Romans 13:1-2 says, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

However, I would be cautious about drawing the conclusion that this scripture is applicable throughout all time and in all situations ... it was true of Rome and Jerusalem, certainly - and the way that God wrought justice on Jerusalem through Rome. I believe that this (and Titus 3:1) are primarily specific instructions for Christians to be living obediently under Roman rule at a time (under a Caesar) when it was right to do so. At a later time - when asked to sacrifice to Caesar and deny Jesus as Lord - it would have been wrong to do so.

I know that's seem like a really "out-there" interpretation for me to take ... but compare it to the later writings of John in Revelation and the symbols that God revealed to him almost certainly with reference to Rome and its rulers: beast, false prophet, harlot.

I think the point is that God has used all kinds of governments - good and bad - throughout history to carry out His will, whether they were aware of it or not. He brought Joseph to Egypt and brought Israel out of it. He led His people into captivity to Babylon and out of Persia. He let Pompey defile the temple and General Titus destroy it.

He may still establish governments and authorities even in democracies. I believe He can do that. Whether He still does and in what cases or countries or leaders, I do not know and cannot say.

But it doesn't always mean that by doing so, He is smiling on a nation; in fact, He may be exacting harsh and deserved discipline.

Keith Brenton said...

(On the question of obedience to authority, see also Acts 4:19 and 5:29 - and surrounding context, of course!)

preacherman said...

Thank you Keith for your explanation of the scriptures on theis subject. I appreciate you addressing the questions I had.

David U said...

Jesus for President.

DU

laymond said...

David, what has Jesus done to you, so that you would demote him in such a way :)

Alan Gable said...

Keith, my man. So much with which to disagree.

Bro, the characterization of American foreign policy as "inciting military action that causes wholesale death and destruction among lost people in other nations" is......in my opinion....a bit short sighted. American military action is always exacted with eyes toward the future and with preventative intent. We seem to forget that the millions of "lost people" in Iraq for example had been oppressed and held captive by fear for decades. The people of Afghanistan were likewise opressed by the strangling grip of extremism. We forget about the schools and the hospitals and the irrigation systems and the power grids,etc,etc,etc that Americans(American military for that matter) have built in country after country. We forget about the millions of lives that will be saved and influenced; the thousands of Afghani girls that are going to school for the first time; the millions of Iraqi citizens who can voice their opinions without the fear of brutal retribution. To characterize the current military fronts as wholesale death and destruction is to deny the immense amounts of liberation that these military actions have brought to millions of "lost people".

Additionally, John McCain, aside from his faults (and he has many) is a compassionate warrior. He has, throughout his career, agressively advocated an American military that gives care and never ever uses the barbaric torture techniques of those from whose grasp we have liberated millions.

If you vote for Senator Obama, do it for reasons other than what has been stated about Senator McCain.

Maybe I'm naive...

Keith Brenton said...

Nah, not naive. (Well, no more than I am, anyway.)

We just perceive things differently.

Nobody goes to war with the primary mission of building roads and factories. I'm glad Americans and allies have done that. But war is still bad. Not always evil. Not always avoidable. But always bad. People die. People kill. Innocents suffer.

My perception is that Obama is more likely than McCain - based on what they have said and how they have voted - to exhaust all other alternatives before launching into war.

Obama talks about hope.

McCain talks about fear.

Anonymous said...

Keith
Let's talk about Obama's extremism that you fail to see. He has promised that ''the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act' (known as FOCA).
This proposed legislation would
create a federally guaranteed
''fundamental right'' to
abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of
Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, "a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health'reasons." In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors,
state and federal funding
restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections
against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has
proclaimed with approval that FOCA would "sweep away hundreds of
anti-abortion laws [and] policies."

Please see this link. The Freedom of Choice Act is real and Obama supports it.

http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/assets/files/Abortion-Access-to-Abortion
> -FOCA

One last thing...... I just don't see how supporting a Liberal Candidate whom every Secular, pagan,anti-religious group supports
fanatically makes any sense. That is the question that I would like Obama supporters to answer.


Regards,
Jason

laymond said...

Keith, the way Alan sees it maybe we should have some rich country invade us so they will rebuild our schools and roads, our infrastructure, lord knows the republicans haven't done it. heck they might even give us some jobs building all that, we sure could use some jobs.
you know that might be another reason so many folks are voting for the democrat this time.

Keith Brenton said...

Jason, I don't see that FOCA changes the fact that convenient abortion is morally wrong and that too many women will choose it whether legal or not - as I explained in the post. We need to do our job as followers of Christ in reaching them, not letting the government try to do our job for us.

And I don't see that FOCA is any morally worse than "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran." (It will be an uphill battle in any Congress to pass it.)

I will vote with regrets either way, and I will pray against both war and convenient abortion.

There is no moral high ground in this vote.

Anonymous said...

Keith
FOCA will increase the number of abortions plain and simple. Obama also supports infaticide. Look up the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.(Illinois Senate)

Should we allow Iran to "wipe Israel off the map" Evil countries like Iran, Syria, and Russia would be killing and destoying if it were not for our military power. USA is the only country in the history of the world that promotes liberty and leaves the country better off than it was. Saddam Hussien murdered over half a million people during his time in power and we ended that horrilbe situation.

I really can't believe the things I am reading on this blog.

Regards
Jason

Keith Brenton said...

Jason,
I'm having a hard time believing what I'm reading in the comments of this post, at the very least - so we have something in common!

I find it hard to believe that thinking Christians could support an "end-justifies-the means" approach to either war or abortion for the sake of convenience.

Or that, of the two, a thinking Christian could pronounce one wrong as morally superior to the other.

But that's what it sounds like.

It's not the way my conscience works.

Anonymous said...

Oh Keith,
"end-justifies-the means" approach to either war or abortion for the sake of convenience.

We obviously have a different definition of what the "end" is. The end is not allowing innocent people to be controlled by oppressive regimes. I can't believe how much disdain you seem to have for our troops and military. The "means" of an president who feverishly supports abortion is DEATH. The "means" of our fighting men and women is liberty and freedom.

Also,
Do you think you have been influenced by Chuck or the preachers you grew up listening to? You don't have any reservations about Obama's preacher, who performed his marriage ceremony, and is an anti-American blame white man racist. If you don't think preacher/spiritual mentors have influence you are really really really blinded by Obamas ability to read teleprompters.

Regards,
Jason

Keith Brenton said...

Jason,
We're not going to convince each other, bro.

Let's quit here before it gets ugly.

Lee Hodges said...

I am getting in on this one a little late. I just tried one post and it went into never never land...maybe that was a sign. Keith I find myself in agreement with most everything you say on your blog...until now.

At the beginning of this presidential race if I had been ask to pick my least two favorite nominees from each party they would have been McCain/Obama. How ironic is that? I have told many that my vote this year will be truly one for the lesser of two evils. But what grieves me the most is that Obama has been so successful in his “say anything to get elected” approach to winning votes. His socialistic agenda has been touted as the “change” we need and for the life of me I can’t believe we as a nation are buying it!

You can tell a lot about a candidate by who supports his agenda. Here’s the list: The vast majority of Hollywood, the most liberal of liberals in congress, while having himself the most liberal voting record in the Senate, and who but the left would question that the new media in all its forms is bias in their support for Obama.

I rest in my trust in the King of Kings and the fact that He still rules regardless of who is in Washington. But it saddens me greatly that we as a nation might just need Obama as president to wake us up.

Keith Brenton said...

Lee, I hope I will pleasantly surprise you and others by saying that I believe if your or matt or Alan or laymond or chris or Jason or me or anyone else votes against his/her conscience, it would be wrong, wrong, wrong.

You echo some of the same sentiments I posted more than four years ago in How Would Jesus Vote?. Jesus is my King. No vote will change that.

Anyone else who serves in authority of any kind has a very limited term of office.

laymond said...

Keith, I would not vote for "EVIL" lesser or greater, before I would vote for the "lesser" of two evils, I would not vote. I will vote for Obama because I do not see him as evil, I see him as what the country needs after the past 8 years of republican rule which has guided us into a ditch both morally and financially. Let me also say I do not see McCain as a person with evil intent, just misguided as to what would be best for the country. Let me stop with this statement, when we vote for what our conscience tells us is evil, we are voting against God because God is good.

Lee Hodges said...

Laymond, I am surprised and disappointed that you would stoop to such a low blow. The phrase "lesser of two evils" is a figure of speach and in my understanding does not mean evil in the truest since of the word, and if you knew anything about me you would know that. A man of your character and age should know better. I personally take offense to the fact that you would imply that my personal character as a Christian would be willing to be bent and to support evil.

laymond said...

Lee, I am not the one who said he was voting "FOR" the "LESSER of two EVILS". I have never understood why that phrase is more acceptable than just saying, "I am not voting for anything, I am voting against something" I believe many of the McCain votes will be against Obama, not because they believe in McCain.
(maybe like your vote)

laymond said...

Lee, I don't mean to beleaguer the point, but who stooped first?
You said "You can tell a lot about a candidate by who supports his agenda. Here’s the list: The vast majority of Hollywood, the most liberal of liberals in congress, while having himself the most liberal voting record in the Senate, and who but the left would question that the new media in all its forms is bias in their support for Obama."
I would suppose anyone who would vote for Obama would be lumped into the mix, extreme liberals such as myself and Keith. I believe the stooping began a little earlier than my comment. I do apologize if your feelings were injured, but I am plain spoken, and call a spade a spade.

Anonymous said...

Oh Laymond

You see Obama as what this country needs huh. What has the man done that you think needs to be done to our country besides organizing communities? Why is our economy hurting right now? The housing crisis is the major factor right now, hopefully we can agree with that. This problem has been brewing for over 20 years when regulations were sent out from congress to give loans to people who were NOT qualified for them. Owning a house is not a right.

Add to that many other Americans living beyond their means and getting too much house.

Bush is not the problem with the economy.
If you think raising taxes for more social programs while cutting our military, rewarding laziness and punishing productivity, expanding our government, and increasing the number of abortions is "good" for our country. Vote Obama.

Regards,
Jason

laymond said...

Jason, I wouldn't even pretend to know as much about politics as I can tell you do by your writings, I thought at first you might be a republican, but your last comment calls that into question, you say all these problems started over twenty years ago, so there was a republican in charge at the time this debacle started, if it was over twenty years ago it would have been Reagan, and republicans do not blame Reagan for anything. I can't see you as being a democrat from what you have said here. so independent is pretty much all that is left, how come you are not voting for Ron Paul?

Keith Brenton said...

Okay, you boys go ahead a duke it out if you want to - but keep it in the back seat. As I've told you before, "Don't make me pull this blog over to the curb."

It's all fun and games until somebody loses an ethic.

Lee Hodges said...

God Reigns, nuff said!

laymond said...

except on this blog, Keith reigns :)

laymond said...

I only meant Keith can snuff out your comment with the stroke of a mouse :)

Anonymous said...

Laymond,
With the state of both major political parties maybe I am a independant. However I would never vote for a extreme flaming liberal.

If you think raising taxes for more social programs while cutting our military, rewarding laziness and punishing productivity, expanding our government, and increasing the number of abortions is "good" for our country. Vote Obama

Jason

laymond said...

Jason, let me tell you a big secret, I live in TEXAS and I have no doubts Texas will vote republican, but I am old enough to long for the "good old days" when my vote did count for something other than satisfaction, back in the days of Kennedy, Johnson, and Ann Richards, Gov White, when we used to kick the republicans around pretty good here in Texas, now I have to depend on foreigners to elect a democrat president, like people from Arkansas, New York, California, New Mexico------

Anonymous said...

Kennedy would be horrified that the radical leftist of New York, San Francisco, and Chicago have taken over his party. The Democrat party left Kennedy long ago.

They are the blame American for every atrocity in the world first party.

Look at Detroit, New York, California, New Orleans as your testing ground for Liberal policies going untested. They are begging for Federal help and economies are crumbling faster than any place in the country.

We can't tax our way out of this. You don't know how happy I am that you live in Texas.

Jason

Keith Brenton said...

Jason, am I to understand that you believe Jesus to be a conservative Republican and totally in agreement with all the planks of that party's platform?

Laymond, am I to understand that you believe Jesus to be a liberal Democrat and totally in agreement with all the planks of that party's platform?

If not, then what is all the fuss about?

This may be my blog, but as Lee points out, God reigns.

Is He incapable of working for the good of all people - not just Americans, not just one political party of Americans - through even the most corrupt and/or inept government?

laymond said...

Keith I was ready to quit but you ask for it. No I don't believe Jesus formed the democratic party, but that said, I do believe that we democrats follow the teachings of Christ to a greater degree than the Republicans, We believe we are to share what wealth God was kind enough to bestow upon us, we believe we should take care of the poor, whether they are physically, or mentally able to care for their selves, we believe we should allow others the same freedoms we have, to choose in their lives the path to follow and not pass laws to make them believe in what we believe in, we believe all of God's people should have equal rights to exist in peace with others. we don't believe in killing thousands of innocents just because we disagree with their leaders. we don't believe God picked the United States over all the rest of the world to become the New Jerusalem, I could continue but I believe you get the idea behind what I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

LAYMOND

There is a reason Planned Parenthood gives him a 100 % rating. There is a reason the homosexual community supports him. There is a reason Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Hamas etc. love him. There is a reason he said he would nominate liberal judges to the Supreme Court. There is a reason he voted against the infanticide bill. There is a reason he voted No on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. There is a reason he voted No on banning partial birth abortion. There is a reason he voted No on confirming Justices Roberts and Alito. These two judges are conservatives and they have since overturned partial birth abortion. The same practice Obama wanted to continue.

THAT WHY I WONT VOTE FOR THAT MAN

laymond said...

I don't talk to people with no name :)