* Local News: The decisive vote for the Mississippi Personhood Amendment is just one month away. It is the hope and prayer of Jackson Presbyterian Examiner that this important pro-life legislation will pass. To learn more about Amendment 26, which defines unborn children as “persons”, please visit http://personhoodmississippi.com.
Is the economy a serious problem that deserves to be taken seriously? Absolutely. Is it the most important issue on the cultural and political spectrum today? Jackson Presbyterian Examiner says no. Why?
History teaches us that when nations elect leaders solely on their ability to improve the economy, sometimes they end up with tyrants. Germany elected Hitler as chancellor in 1933 why? Because they knew he would be a war-hungry, Holocaust perpetrating dictator? No, because he promised to repair Germany’s broken economy. In 1933, after years of economic desperation, that was all the German people needed to hear. They elected him and, to an extent, Germany’s economy improved. Of course, everyone is his or her right mind would now deeply bemoan his election.
This is not to in any way insinuate that any of America’s current political leaders are comparable to Hitler. It is only to illustrate the damage that can be done to a nation when the economy is the priority that dwarfs all other priorities. When this happens, it becomes all too easy to turn a blind eye to a leader’s wrong stances on other issues.
Yet poll after poll shows that the economy continues to be the number one issue nearest and dearest to Americans’ hearts. Whoever is elected president in 2012 will be elected on his or her credibility when it comes to fixing the recession.
Father Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life, once used an analogy that Jackson Presbyterian Examiner has alluded to previously. Pavone, who works closely with Dr. Alveda King (Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece), said to imagine a candidate whose policies on the economy, immigration reform, taxes, education, the environment, etc… were all excellent. Then imagine, Pavone said, that this same candidate happened to also be a supporter and perpetrator of terrorism. Wouldn’t that one strike against the candidate overpower everything in his or her favor? Of course it would.
Evangelical Christians are sometimes criticized as being “single issue” voters. Of course, no one should stick to one issue to the neglect of all of others. However, it’s true that some issues really are more important than others. The fact that thousands of people are now jobless is horrible. Yet the fact that thousands of babies die everyday in the U.S., and have for decades, is even more horrible. Human life is more important than money.
Despite this article’s headline, the question of when life begins is not fundamentally a political question. It is a moral question that cuts across party lines. Believing that unborn babies are people and therefore have a God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness doesn’t make one a conservative or a liberal. In reality, though, if abortion is ever to be restricted or ended, this will occur via the political process. Hence, it’s necessary to elect candidates who are committed to ending it. Until and unless that happens, Roe V. Wade will never be overturned, barring a miracle.
Churches, as tax exempt institutions, of course, cannot and should not tell members who to vote for. That’s not their role, and churches that become overly politically entrenched, doing everything they can to endorse, without “officially” endorsing, often lose focus on the gospel. The church is the Body of Christ, not just some political lobbyist organization. All governments on the face of the earth will eventually cease, but the Body of Christ remains forever.
All that being said, churches can caution members about, based on candidates’ positions, what kind of people, in general, not to vote for (i.e. any candidate supporting abortion). The church can say, scripturally, that voting for a pro-abortion candidate (or cause) is supporting someone whose worldview is fundamentally opposed to the gospel. A line in the sand has to be drawn.
Can Christians in good conscience vote for non-Christians? Certainly; after all, this is a representative democracy, not a theocracy. We live in a pluralistic society, one in which people are free to hold to a host of opinions about moral, political, and theological questions. That’s a good thing. However, because this is a life and death matter, there’s not room for dissension on abortion. We cannot in good conscience vote for pro-abortion candidates or causes.
In an age where Christianity is being marginalized more and more in the broader culture, one would still expect to find Christian ethics promoted on Christian radio, right? Surprisingly, Hallelujah FM, 95.5 of Jackson, has been running ads against Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment, which will be on the ballot in November. How any professedly Christian radio station could oppose the amendment is unconscionable. The main criticism leveled against the amendment is that it could infringe on people’s access to birth control. It’s as if, in addition to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the Declaration of Independence had specified birth control as one of humanity’s most fundamental inalienable rights.
Birth control isn’t what the amendment is really about, but even if rumors that Amendment 26 would outlaw birth control (which is untrue) were true, this wouldn’t invalidate the amendment. Whether birth control is ever permissible is not the point of this article. Some churches oppose it, while others allow it. However, if given the hypothetical choice, hopefully Christians would rather swear off all forms of birth control for the rest of their lives rather than see even one more unborn baby’s life taken. So the birth control scare tactic simply isn’t enough to delegitimize Amendment 26. The fact that even Christian radio stations have bought into this indicates the extent to which we’ve allowed the popular culture, rather than Scripture, to shape our worldview.
Jackson Presbyterian Examiner would like to encourage voters in Jackson and throughout Mississippi to re-think which issues are really the most important. If a candidate is not pro-life, it is certainly reasonably for voters to dismiss him or her, regardless of whatever good points there are in the candidate’s favor. To vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion is, if not to condone abortion, to at least say that there are other more urgent issues that outweigh it. There aren’t.