Various people have written how they get annoyed at people who vote for Bush just because he’s “Christian”. Which is perfectly valid. Especially since both candidates profess to be believers. What worries me is the thinking behind that sentiment. No one’s voting for Bush because he’s Christian, to think that is missing the point. Fundamentalists are voting for him because he seems to display more Christian values in his policy in regards to particular social issues. You can quibble with whether this is accurate or not. What worries me is that people – Christians – don’t even seem to think this matters.
What I mean is the attitude that Kerry might not display the moral values in regards to policy that certain Christians would like to see, but that doesn’t even matter. All that matters is politics. And that bothers me. Partly because it’s a reflection of this pervasive idea in modern society that compartmentalization of roles is OK, that character has no bearing on anything as long as someone is effective. So like we should not even care about Clinton’s private life because that’s completely distinct from his public effectiveness. I think Clinton was a fantastic politician. I also think he had rotten character. And sometimes I feel like the last person on earth not cynical enough to believe that character actually matters in leadership, not just effectiveness.
Actually, I used to be on the other side about this, I’ve written a lot on this page about how I think policy wise Christians should only have in mind what might facilitate the spreading of the Gospel. So basically, don’t worry so much about making laws reflect Christian values and worry more about saving souls. My thinking’s kind of changed a bit based on reading some Christianity Today articles and talking to Henry. I now kind of think that morality does matter, that God gave man moral standards not just because it involved eternal life but because it makes life better, and that the more we deviate from that standard, the worse society gets. So Christians should very much care about moral issues.
Basically, all I’m saying is, and it’s just my current thinking on the topic, it might change, but yeah, I think Christians should care about moral issues when it comes to politics, and the attitude that it’s irrelevant with this election troubles me. You can’t just dismiss people who vote for Bush because he’s Christian. That’s not what they’re doing. You have to examine the candidates’ moral values. I think they matter.
That said, it’s an open question which most displays Christian values. Andy Crouch wrote this column in the most recent Christianity Today that I resonated with. He basically says that Biblically, justice and righteousness always go together, very frequently in a political context, and neither is complete without the other. Totally oversimplifying things, today, Democrats better demonstrate justice, and Republicans better demonstrate righteousness. So which to choose? I have no clue.