Why I Am Voting For Obama

It should come as no surprise that I’m voting, and voting enthusiastically, for Barack Obama.

My vote is entirely for the man himself; I believe that the fruit he has demonstrated in his long public career and particularly in this campaign is consistent with his professed faith in Jesus Christ, and I believe that the compelling issue for me as a Christian is to vote for whoever will do the most for those Jesus called “the least of these.” The poor, the elderly, the sick, the disenfranchised, the immigrant, the worker and her family, and those on the margins of society will do better by every measure under an Obama administration, and it matters to me because it matters to Christ.

That said, I’d like to also explain why I would never vote for McCain or Palin, or anyone else who willingly benefits from the hate-mongering, fear-ridden campaign of destruction and innuendo heaped on this country by the Religious Right. I’ve written before about my disgust with Focus on the Family President James Dobson’s “Letter From An Obama America, 2012,” in which hysteria and jaw-dropping lack of discernment and maturity pose as a pastoral warning to Christians, and I believe that should anything happen to Barack Obama, the Right, and particularly the Christian Right, will have his blood on their hands.

I don’t want John McCain anywhere near the power of the Presidency; I don’t want Sarah Palin anywhere near anyone else close to the power of the Presidency. He has proved to be erratic and unwise; she has proved to be an opportunistic climber with an astonishing lack of knowledge of world and domestic affairs. Neither of them have put forth a cogent plan to help this country — not in foreign policy, not in domestic policy, and certainly not in anything resembling the dignity and gravity of the offices to which they aspire. I’m sure they’re decent enough people, but he isn’t stable enough and she isn’t smart enough to be on the national stage, and if I were a Republican, I’d be looking hard at how it came to this. McCain will likely end his Senate career with a whimper, but the Barracuda has already indicated that her intent is to barrel back into the Presidential fray in eight years. I pray our country learns in that time to seek leadership from those who are worthy of their trust, not simply from those who say “Jesus” at the right prompting.

Barack Obama has been sinned against by every person who continues to forward emails suggesting that he’s a Muslim (as if that were in itself a disqualification from office), a citizen of Kenya, a terrorist, a baby-killer, a fan of mandatory homosexuality training for kindergarteners, a Socialist, adulterer, gangbanger, vote-stealer, or some other dangerous, shadowy, Unknown Of Whom We Must Be Afraid. It is absolutely possible, and absolutely inexcusable, to bear false witness with the push of a “send” button, and it’s shameful for Christians to shelve mature discernment and dive instead into waters of gossip, malice, and division.

Shame on the Church that promotes this, and more shame on the Church that countenances it. I’ve never felt more lonely-in-community than I have in this election, and I pray not only for an Obama victory, but for the man’s safety and prosperity. May God have mercy on those who have sinned against not only Obama but their own brothers and sisters by participating in the Religious Right’s orgy of division and bigotry, and may He be especially merciful to those clergy who let it happen without feeling particularly “led” to do a damned thing about it.

It’s absurd to repent for having gossiped against a co-worker, humiliated or insulted a friend, maligned a neighbor or caused division in their congregations while continuing to seek Dobsonite holiness in testifying falsely about a man who claims Christ as Savior. I have loads of respect for people who, having studied the issues, choose not to vote for Barack Obama. That’s responsible democracy in action. But shrill hysteria from a Church whose Lord admonishes it to “fear not” and to “stop lying about one another” has left, in this election season, a rotting stench that offends our God and nauseates those who most need the fragrant aroma of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I mentioned “the least of these” earlier, those on the margins of our society. What would our nation look like if the Church decided one day to examine its heart to see why and how they’ve been left out, and in repentance and humility worked to extend the blessings of Christ to each and every one of them — and expected its government to do the same?

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