Abortion and homosexuality are legitimate ethical issues for Christians to consider. But only within the last quarter-century has the broad field of Christian ethics, for some, been almost exclusively defined by these two issues.
So it is not surprising that religiously and politically conservative individuals and organizations shape every political debate now in terms of these two issues.
In the Oct. 9 issue of the Georgia Baptist Convention newspaper, The Christian Index, one pastor echoed this point to his congregation in intentional defiance of IRS regulations that forbid endorsement of candidates by churches that benefit from tax-exempt status. He endorsed Sen.John McCain from the pulpit as part of the Sept. 28 “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”
“I am clearly not waving McCain’s banner and would not call him the embodiment of Christian morality,” said Jody Hice, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, Ga. “But on the two issues most important to believers in this election — abortion and the definition of marriage — I believe he is closer than Obama.”
The opposite page in the Index carried a “voter issue guide” produced by WallBuilders.com and “approved” by the falwellian Liberty Counsel and Liberty Legal Institute.”
The guide places “Yes” or “No” answers below the names and photos of the two presidential candidates. Of the 14 political positions listed — nine relate to either abortion or homosexuality.
Aside from one each about cloning and education, the remaining three deal with drilling for oil, removing troops from Iraq and whether or not the candidates oppose a ban on assault weapons.
There is nothing about preemptive war, racism, poverty, infant mortality, the environment, immigration, care for widows and orphans or many other ethical issues. One can only assume that is the result of limited space.
The guide, readers are told, is provided as “a public service to our readers without an endorsement of either candidate.”
That clarification is helpful. I just wish biblical texts had been included so I can find more clearly what Jesus said about assault rifles and drilling for oil.