Here is a copy of an email I sent this evening that is culmination of my thoughts of late. Why, as a committed evangelical Christian, I will vote for Barack Obama next week:
“I apologize that it has taken me so long to respond to your last email. I have given much thought to our exchanges in advance of the historic election we all face next week. Thank you so much for your kind words about this exchange and I am pleased that you see our children as thinking individuals. We try hard to instill a good work ethic and a strong mind in our children. We teach them to question everything, to ask what is the agenda behind anything they hear and wonder what is not being said in a conversation. I see promising signs that they both are going to grow up to be strong. loving, intelligent, Christ centered people willing to help others. I too, respect how much time you put into giving thoughtful understanding of the issues we face and I suspect we really agree on more than we disagree with.
The reason I have not had time before now to respond to your latest email is that both Matt and I have been very busy working on a new venture at our church called The Service Project. It is still in it’s development stage but even at this early point we are seeing amazing things. The general concept is to get the people in our church out of the pews after Sunday morning and into the community reaching out to those who have needs that are not being met. We also meet on a regular basis to inspire new ideas and spend time in worship. The ideas for service come from anyone in the congregation that has an idea that we can assist in. So far we are launching a clothing collection for children in a local group home that have been kicked out of foster homes and come only with the clothes on their back. We are working with local food banks to help stock shelves in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. We plan on an outreach to seniors in centers where they need people to visit and socialize with to combat lonliness and depression. We are tutoring in juvenile hall and we are planning on adopting a local beach in the new year. Most recently more people have come aboard and are starting a home repair service for single mothers, senoirs and othe low income families in our community, comprised of volunteer labor and minimal costs. I was encouraged to hear that Greer’s Jr High group has also become excited to get involved and they are looking for a service project they can start.
I mention all this, because this project speaks to my agenda when I present my take on the political issues and the choice we all make next week as we elect a new president. I realize every day when I wake up that I lead an incredibly blessed life. And although I often feel like I am working harder and harder and yet finances seem tighter and tighter, I also know that I am so much more fortunate than 90% of the rest of the world and even most of the citizens of this great country. I have spent my entire life living in an economy that encourages us to buy things we don’t really need to create jobs that eventually end up overseas where labor is cheaper. The fact is that every day when I get up I spend time wondering what I will wear and every evening I spend time wondering what I will eat and this tells me that I have more than I truly need and my focus needs to turn to those who have less and truly need more. Even though we qualify for the Obama tax credit I would not mind if we did not. I strongly believe the best way to stimulate our economy is to give money back to the people who need to spend it, the middle class. Our middle class, as large as it is, represents an enormous economic engine that can help us get back on track. These are the people that will reinvest this money back into the economy hopefully stablizing the housing industry and getting the banks back on track.
After that I think we all need to take a long hard look at our lifestyles. Almost everyone I know has more than one car per person in their family, multiple homes, large toys like boats and bikes. Do any of us really need more? I think we all need to turn our focus to those less fortunate than us. We need to have a health care system that is affordable for everyone, even if it means some reduction in the services we don’t really need or even utilize. We need to pay teachers more and focus on education, using tax dollars to encourage more college education.
We have already touched quite a bit on the one topic so very many Christians use as the litmus test for any candidate, abortion. You know my personal story and I stay committed to ending abortion but I also realize, the abortion question is really the wrong question. We need to focus on preventing the preganancy in the first place and providing resources to those who are pregnant but feel they cannot financially survive a child, or another child. The Republicans have for so long had a pro-life focus and have worked tirelessly to overbbturn Roe vs. Wade but where are their efforts support those women who make that very hard choice to have an abortion? I was so saddened when Sarah Palin had a great opportunity to discuss the issue of an unwanted pregnancy with her daughter Bristol, to hear no mention of adoption. Also it is one thing to for Levi Johnson to drop out of high school and work full time, but his economic resources are vastly different than the average teenage father. Our focus as Christians should be support pregnant women and reduce/prevent the pregnancy in the first place before we worry about legislation.
Also how, as Christians, can we be so concerned with life before birth but worry so little about it after the baby is born. I believe the number one moral issue we as Christians should address is poverty and starvation. When we as Amercans spend more on pet food than many third world countries can spend to feed their citizens. When our globalized economy and farm policies mean that food aid to countries like Haiti support American farmers while completely disrupting local Haitian farmers and fail to meet even the most basic nutrional needs of the people. When our defense forces are so streched in a questionable war that we cannot come to the aid of the Sudanese in the Darfur region, who are being attacked for their religious beliefs, uprooted and forced into refugee camps run without adequate resources. When we have starvation in our own country, a country where many of us throw away as much food as we actually consume. I think we as Christians need to lead the way.and sacrifice a little to help other and support policy changes to combat hunger and starvation the world over.
I could continue this explanaton of how my Christian morals shape my views on other topics like the environment and enegy, but I think you get the idea. And so with my focus, I currently see the Democratic party as being more in tune with trying to help those less fortunate than me. Are they perlect? No. Are there members of the party that I don’t agree with? Absolutely. But I see this party as more in tune with these goals than the Republican party which I see as focused on ‘let’s make sure we (the already rich and powerful) get what we deserve, and it will trickle down eventually’.
So there you have it. My manifesto on why I believe it is my civic and moral duty to vote for Barack Obama next week. Either way this is a historic election and very exciting. I hope everyone is headed to the polls next week if they have not already voted. And for all the bystanders of these emails, if you made it this far, thanks for listening and sharing in my deep deep respect for this great nation and the over abundant life that God has given to each and every one of us.“