The sad truth is that religion can provide reasons for just about anything. Indefensible things – from anti-semitism to environmental carelessness to apartheid to oppression of Palestinians – have been defended with religious reasons. So, religious voters will no doubt find religious reasons – bad and good – for voting for both candidates.
I am against “religious litmus tests” for voting. For example, I think it’s unwise for people to vote for or against anyone because he or she is Evangelical, Catholic, atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, etc. I believe it was Jerry Falwell (not someone I normally quote!) who said that if he had a heart attack, he’d be more interested in the surgeon’s skill than his religious affiliation.
On the other hand, I do believe faith is integral to all of life, so I am not one to advocate leaving one’s faith outside the curtain when one enters the voting booth. The issue is how our faith affects our voting.
On my blog I have given five reasons why I’m voting for Barack Obama. All of these reasons flow from my faith as a follower of God in the way of Jesus. In short, they are …
1. Peace: I believe that Barack Obama is less likely to bring us into another war than John McCain is. My faith biases me towards nonviolence and peace.
2. Poverty: I believe that Obama will show greater concern for “the least of these” than his counterpart, and that matches with my sense of God’s priority.
3. Planet: Obama’s environmental plan is stronger and more central to his campaign than McCain’s. Care for creation is central to my faith.
4. Leadership character and integrity: My respect for Obama-Biden has grown through the way they have led their campaign, while the opposite is true with the McCain-Palin ticket.
5. Life: On the issue of abortion, I believe that Obama has a better chance of reducing abortion rates through improved health care and economic support than McCain does through criminalization.
Another key issue which also flows from my faith is unity. Election rhetoric has doubtless increased division in our already divided nation, and so I’m looking for a leader who has the best chance to heal our wounds, to help us get beyond a culture wars mentality, and to pull together to face our challenges and seek the common good. The Obama-Biden ticket seems far better poised for this important task than the McCain-Palin ticket, but it will be hard for anyone.
And there are many other reasons as well, but these are among the most important ways my faith leads me to vote for Obama-Biden next week. (Check out brianmclaren.net for the full posts.)