“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God…” Romans 12:2
Many Christians I know vote based on a single issue, usually abortion. Now I don’t want to get into the pro-choice, anti-abortion, debate. I understand that if the point of conception is the beginning of life, pro-choice does not feel like a viable option. But I believe that the question for a Christian-motivated voter is not as simple as a candidate’s stance on abortion. The question should be: How Christ-like is my candidate?
What is Jesus’ ministry all about? Jesus spoke often about lifting people up, helping them, loving them. (Luke 10:30-37) He admonished materialism. (Luke 16:13) Jesus asks Christians to not only help those who cannot help themselves but tells parables about helping those who are CHOOSING to do unfit things. We are to love people first.
How can a political candidate love people? Well, if a person is anti-abortion, a candidate also being anti-abortion is a way of loving. However, what about a candidate’s stance on the death penalty? Aren’t we to love the prodigal son? (Luke 15) Do we to emulate the father in the story or the older brother? Who does our candidate reflect?
What about the candidate’s stance on health care? Aren’t we supposed to have compassion for the sick? (Mark 1:40-45) Is the child who can’t get proper treatment for his asthma due to financial or logistical reasons less important than the unborn child? In the United States, our maternal death rates are abysmal. Who is voting for the moms? Which candidate is putting forth ideas to take care of pregnant women? Mothers?
What about minimum wage? Corporate regulations? Who is the ONLY group at which Jesus gets mad? Not the prostitutes or the lepers. Not even the disciples who eventually betray him. He raises his voice in the market at the temple. The buyers and sellers and cheaters. The ones who use a place of worship to make money. (John 2:13-16) So what is each candidate doing to support corporations with Christ-like values? Or even if corporations cannot be Christ-like, isn’t the Christian way to stop companies from hurting people? Is the candidate standing up for the people working for corporations? The people effected by the corporation’s policies? (Luke 18:18-25)
Or is it easier to vote based on “saving a baby” than any of these other Christian issues. Because babies are cute and innocent? Original sin aside, God didn’t only chose the innocent. Many of those chosen to carry on his message were not very kind people. Look at the conversion of Saul to Paul. (Acts 1:1-18) Is the man on death row less deserving of our love and forgiveness? What about voting for the candidate that is extending maternal care and maternity leave? Is it less important to support the mother of three children than a child in her womb? What about access to prenatal care? Isn’t that as important to the health and safety of the baby as not having access to an abortion?
Does God favor the unborn children over the living children? Over the mothers and fathers of these children?
I can’t answer these question for anyone. But I can challenge all Christians to pray about these choices and to study Jesus’ ministry and the candidates with an open mind. I’m not asking anyone to become pro-choice. I’m asking that each vote that is taken in the name of Jesus actually takes Jesus into account.
There are ten commandments. And there is the greatest commandment:
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
Instead of worrying what our neighbor is doing, maybe we could love them and do more for them. And then ask if our candidate will do the same.
About the writer: Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in Philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and Christian liberal by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog except when it’s serious about life, parenting, marriage, culture, religion and politics. She has a muse of a husband, two young kids and a readership that gives her hope for humanity.