A friend recently asked me to expound on my opinions of the core issues in this year’s election, and this is my attempt to do so. I don’t have anything at all insightful or even helpful to reveal, mostly I’m just confused and sad about this entire election season. But I do think it will be interesting in years to come to look back from the seat of (hopefully!) a little more maturity and wisdom and remember my thoughts from this very confusing year of 2016….
If we seek to do what’s best for our country and protect our way of living and (possibly) our lives, then we probably need to build a wall sky-high, deport illegal immigrants and not let in any more refugees. If our goal is to love like Jesus, however, then we need to throw open our borders and start ministering to those in need (I’ve already written extensively about this, so I won’t repeat myself now, but you can read my thoughts on this HERE.)
If our goal is to protect ourselves and those around us then certainly we must uphold the second amendment. I believe the second amendment was created specifically to give citizens the right to defend themselves against their own government, if needed, and that if we’re truly going to protect that right, citizens must be allowed to own the same weapons our soldiers have access to. But is “protecting ourselves and those around us” a worthy goal? Part of me says “yes” and another part of me believes that opinion reeks of fear. At the same time, the desire to restrict gun access also reeks of fear so I guess we all have that in common. There is one glaring problem I see with gun reform that I have yet to see liberals acknowledge, though: The reforms proposed by Clinton would give the government the power to deny citizens their rights based on arbitrary and subjective opinions (for instance, the current proposal would keep anyone who is on the [secret] terrorist watch list from purchasing a gun. The very fact that this list is secret means that those on it are unable to defend themselves or clear their names. Also, those under FBI investigation would be prohibited from owning guns and I don’t believe the government should have the power to deny a citizen his/her rights simply because they think that citizen “might” be a threat. Interesting to note that Clinton’s own policy would make it impossible for her to purchase a gun while under FBI investigation, while simultaneously running for president of the United States.)
I’m going to go way outside the Christian script here, but I’m really beginning to wonder whether love would allow for legal abortion. Here’s the thing: those who seek to protect the second amendment and want to build walls and keep out the refugees do so (understandably) because they want to protect their way of life. Yet those same people would deny their neighbor the right to protect HER way of living by denying her the opportunity to seek abortion. If our goal is to create laws that force people to act according to Christian principles, then certainly we ought to ban abortion. Yet this is not the God I see throughout the pages of the bible: a God who gave His children free will. It seems an odd contrast to me that the very people most in favor of protecting their way of life by building the walls and keeping out refugees are the people most vehement about denying that same opportunity to women seeking abortion. After all, if we’re willing to allow millions of refugees to die simply because they might be a threat to our way of life, how can we condemn a woman seeking to do the same? At least they can justify their position based on the belief that the child is not yet a “person” What excuse do we have?
On one hand, I am completely, utterly, unapologetically against raising taxes. On the other, I must face the fact that the church has failed the commission Jesus gave us to care for the poor and somebody has to do it. I believe that the church needs to stop acting as if it’s the government’s job to take care of the poor. Until then, raising taxes is probably the only helpful (although not nearly good enough) answer.
Same Sex Marriage
When the church figures out how to fix her own disastrous divorce rate, then we’ll get to have an opinion on this. When I can figure out how to love my husband the way a long-time family friend has loved his for almost 30 years, then I’ll have an opinion on this.
How then, shall I vote? I have no idea. Do I vote according to what I believe would be best for my country, or its citizens, or the world at large? I don’t think what is best for one will be best for the others. Do I vote with the goal of protecting my country or with the goal of implementing policies I believe are morally and ethically right? Because unfortunately, this election year, those things aren’t mutually inclusive. The closer we get to the election date, the less I feel capable of making any decision at all. Maybe the best thing would be to go to the polls, close my eyes and simply point. That would probably be just as good as anything I can come up with.