Is it a sin to vote for Barack Obama
and the Democrats? When you examine Paul's warnings in the New
Testament, this question is a no-brainer.
With the recent proclamation of a Green Bay bishop that
Christians who vote for someone supporting the gay or abortion
agenda is putting their soul in jeopardy, there's been an increase
in the amount of email in my inbox asking my take on whether it is
a sin for Christians to be Democrats. I think a lot of people
assume this is a difficult subject for me to address. I hate
to disappoint them, but it's not.
I recently read an article from a self-proclaimed "Christian
Democrat" explaining why they would be voting for Obama, and to a
larger degree, supporting the Democratic Party. I am
intentionally not linking to the original article for a
reason. The article was full of the very kind of
"fine-sounding arguments" that Paul warns us in Colossians to be on
guard against. Given the sorry state of biblical Christianity
in America, I know that several of these arguments could easily
ensnare and trap a lot of confused Christians -- and I won't
willfully provide a potential stumbling block to any believer.
It should be an axiom for Christ followers that while our faith
should inform our politics, our politics should never inform our
faith. But this particular author, as is often the case with
Christian Democrats, has made an a priori commitment to supporting
the Democrats and then seeks to find faith-based reasons to justify
it. But here's the uncomfortable truth such individuals must
confront: while it's certainly true that not every Republican is
worthy of our support as Christians, any individual who runs under
a platform that justifies the legal slaughter of innocent life made
in the image of God is an unacceptable choice. Period.
Reading the list of supposed justifications for why Christians
can turn a blind eye towards this outrageous offense, I imagine
these Democrat apologists writing similar essays in the 1930s of
how the Nazi Party was doing great things for infrastructure and
social welfare programs in Germany. "Never mind that killing of the
Jews thing," they would essentially argue. That's the
underlying current of the Christian Democrat defense -- "never mind
the killing of the unborn beings made in God's image thing." That's
not to say that Democrats are Nazis, of course. It's to say
that there is something dreadfully wrong with your priorities and
moral compass when you try to find ways to excuse genocide.
As a believer, I cannot imagine justifying that to God.
It's interesting, isn't it? Christian Democrats used to find
ways to justify their support of a party that promoted slavery. Now
they do the same for a party promoting abortion. Tragic.
Beyond that, how lost we are as a culture when Christians in
name will actively, vocally, and apparently proudly support a man
(Barack Obama) who just a few short months ago called on his
country to rebel against God's own definition of the institution of
marriage? This isn't about how we treat those who practice
homosexuality. This is a case where Barack Obama declared that God
is a bigot -- or at least that His prescription for what
constitutes family is bigoted. Jesus affirmed marriage as a union
of a husband and wife; Barack Obama suggested such a narrow
description was discriminatory. Both can't be right.
As is typically the rationale, the entire case this particular
Christian Democrat writer made was essentially economic. They
abuse the biblical text and pretend that its instruction on
personal generosity and benevolence is somehow a command for
believers to usurp political power and begin compelling charity
from the wealthy (even though, of course, compelled charity isn't
charity at all). Jesus taught us to give to the needy out of
a sense of love and compassion, not out of a begrudging obligation
to the law of the land. Further, through its overtaxing and
redistribution schemes, government often imperils our ability to
give and support charitable causes.
But all that is lost on those believers convinced they must find
some reason to excuse their loyalty to the Democrats. Take,
for instance, this side-splitting line from the column I read: "To
put it simply, I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party is
doing more than the Republican Party to care for the 'least of
these,' however imperfectly." Ah yes, how enlightened. Although the
author didn't explain how record numbers of food stamp recipients,
expanded welfare rolls, and more government dependency is "caring
for the least of these."
Since LBJ declared a "war on poverty" through compassionate,
liberal government policy, we have greatly increased the number of
those in poverty. As Paul Ryan recently pointed out, in the war on poverty, poverty is
winning. Why? Because government is not an institution that
God ever intended to be an agent of compassion. The only words of
Scripture that discuss the role of government describe it
explicitly as an instrument of justice. Playing favorites, robbing
from some to give to others in the name of compassion - i.e.,
government-sponsored theft -- is not in any way reconcilable with
biblical values. Christian Democrats should visit an Indian
reservation to see the face of big government "compassion." That is
where the Democratic Party policies are leading our entire
civilization. Caring for the least of these? All evidence to the
We live in scary times. I reflect often on the words of Timothy:
"But the time will come when men will not put up with sound
doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather
around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching
ears want to hear ... they will turn aside from truth to
Reading words like those of these Christian Democrats only
convinces me further, that time has arrived.
Two quick addendums I would add to stave off the inevitable
backlash of red herrings and strawmen. First, I don't mean any of
this as a personal attack. It is merely an assessment of what I see
as a dangerously confused worldview. Christian Democrats often
attempt to blend biblical authority with humanist philosophy, and
it doesn't work. God is either sovereign or He's not.
Surrendering to the Lordship of Christ means dying to yourself --
every part of yourself, including your politics. It's a time
Second, none of this is saying that Christians should vote for
Mitt Romney. That is an entirely separate question than whether
they should vote for Barack Obama. Christians who accept the words
of Scripture will not do the latter.
Peter Heck (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a public high school
government teacher and radio talk show host in central
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