I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a good chunk of my uber-conservative friends are single-issue voters (read: abortion). In descending order of importance: abortion, taxes, guns. That prettymuch defines conservatism as far as a lot of people I know are concerned. Not that there's anything wrong with having strong views on those topics--I certainly do--but like to think I have a much more nuanced approach to expressing them and determining whose policies and agenda will be most congruent with my own.
As I expressed in my voting post, I went through a lot to really try to figure out which candidate best aligned to my views. It's not all about guns and gays.
So why are Christians so reluctant to look around? While I understand that most non-Republican candidates and officials fail the abortion litmus test, are there so many other things that make them any more despicable human beings? I don't think liberals have a monopoly on deplorable behavior--lest we forget, in the last couple of years, we've had to endure a number of scandals coming from the Right. So, before we get on our conservative high horse, I think it's important to note that we all have problems and shortcomings, regardless of our race, religion, gender, or political party:
- Republican Senator Larry Craig propositioned an undercover cop in airport bathroom
- Republic Representative Mark Foley (Chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children) sent underage Congressional staff pages sexually explicit messages for past 10 years
- Ted Haggard, Leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and Adviser to George Bush publicly admitted to crystal meth use and paying for male prostitutes (which got turned into a Law and Order episode)
- Bob Allen, Florida state representative and Chairman for John McCain's presidential campaign, paid an undercover cop $20 to allow him to perform oral sex on the officer
- Glenn Murphy, Jr., National Chairman of the Young Republicans who advised Republican candidates to use homosexuality as a wedge issue, spent the night at a young man's house; the host woke up to find Murphy giving him oral sex
- Republican Senator David Vitter linked to prostitution ring
- 10 years of Catholic priest molestation trials and tribulations
Bush has had an extraordinarily hard time as President. He inherited a bubble economy propped up by unrealistic housing growth and within 9 months of assuming office, had to deal with a terrorist attack on our soil.
However, reluctance to make decisions himself and instead leaning on his war-hawking, super-secretive Vice President led us to unpopular, unending wars in two countries, a boatload of legislation that strips away American freedoms (Patriot Act), executive orders for secret CIA prisons and interrogations, and a detainment facility where people are held indefinitely without trials. Not exactly the hallmarks of good Christian leadership. What an odd double-standard we Christians have--as long as he's not aborting babies or accepting oral gratuities in the White House, he's a good President?
Not that I want to use this as an anti-Bush soapbox. On the positive side, Bush been a leader in humanitarian aid to other countries and has protected more natural resources than any other President in history (despite his very pro-energy politics). He's lowered taxes for a lot of folks I know (myself included), too.
Christians seem eager to quote that "the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord" when they get a President that they didn't want, but collectively, we sure are a complaining bunch. When the Israelites grumbled in the wilderness, God sent snakes. It may seem like overkill to us, but it drives at the heart of the matter--trust in God's way. While we say "the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord," we complain that God's hand isn't holding the heart that we wanted.
Regardless of who was elected, it's our duty to pray for them. We're all on the same team here. I can't believe that Christians are so hung up on the litmus issues that they'd rather see the right person for the office fail and feel personally vindicated than see that person succeed and be shown incorrect. What good is vindication when you can't pay your bills or feed your family or your president is seen as incompetent by the rest of the world? It's a pretty hollow victory.
Food for thought.