Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Robertson and Giuliani: The Evangelical Election Year Crisis
Well, its official! By his official endorsement of Rudolph Giuliani, televangelist Pat Robertson tells American evangelicals it is worth voting for a candidate who favors the murder of unborn children in lieu of the fact that his position on fighting terrorism means the continued existence of a nation that murders unborn children.
Make no mistake, in some evangelical circles, nationalism now trumps truth, which means that evangelicalism as we know it no longer exists!
Others have already spoken eloquently and prophetically to this issue; chief among them Russ Moore, who in a recent radio program rightly contends that the abortion issue is important enough to withdraw one's support of a candidate. But many are stating that this politically-charged endorsement is appropriate. AFter all, Rudy seems at present to be the only candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton in a general election. Giuliani himself has recently been hawking himself on Christian conservatives by encouraging them to think of him as an "80% ally" as opposed to a "20% opponent."
So the question remains: is it ever appropriate to cast a vote for a pro-abortion candidate? Should evangelicals resort to "single-issue voting" and subsequently risk losing elections to lesser candidates? Such a question was the focus of the gubernatorial elections in my state of Maryland last year. Personally, I went into the voting booth with this issue heavy on my mind. I didn't want the present governor to take office. He would raise my taxes, forward a secularist agenda, and expand the influence of government over the nuclear family. In the end, the realization that neither gubernatorial candidate respected human life enough to grow a backbone with regard to abortion meant I was forced by conscience to abstain from voting for a governor in Maryland.
Friends questioned my judgement in this matter. After all, wouldn't more votes for Robert Erhlich have assured a government friendly toward evangelicals? Is the issue of abortion really that important?
To answer this question, we must back up from the trees a bit to see the proverbial forest. Are there single issues that would automatically disqualify a candidate from serving in public office? For a tangible example, let's assume that five year's from now, in the 2012 election, evangelicals have another "darling" candidate. Let's assume this candidate has a strong pro-family record, and takes positions that are, overall, largely attractive to Christian conservatives. But there is one caveat with this candidate: he believes our nation should re-institute slavery.
Tell me, would you dare vote for such a candidate?
In the end, the problem with a racist candidate is essentially the same as that of a pro-choice candidate. Both groups are categorically denying personhood to an entire class of people. The former bases this denial on the degree of pigmentaion in the skin; the latter on how far one has progressed through the birth canal. The result, however, is the same: a group of people created in the image and likeness of God are being defined as less than such.
To be sure, being "pro-life" by itself does not neccesarily qualify one to hold public office. However, being "pro-choice" by itself fundamentally disqualifies one from serving. Practically speaking, this means that in the event of a Clinton-Giuliani contest in the general election, Americans would have no qualified candidate for which to vote.
Countering this argument, Robertson contends that there is a more important issue than Giuliani's pro-choice position, and that is national security. We should elect a candidate who will protect us from the "bloodlust" of Islamic terrorists. But is the "bloodlust" of abortion providers any less of a threat to our national identity? Apart from a philosophically fundamental belief in the sacredness of human life, our "security" will only serve to protect a house of cards.
Of course, the emphasis of nationalism over truth began years ago, when evangelicals decided to prostitute themselves out to the Republican party rather than seeking to influence both parties with principles of righteousness. The end result is seen in this year's presidential candidates. Truth is, if Rudy Giuliani is the best candidate Christian conservatives can see fit to support, then perhaps our nation deserves a Hillary Clinton presidency.