If the past few weeks has taught me anything, it is that Facebook is a terrible place to have a reasonable discussion about politics. This is not just because it is a limited medium that fails to capture inflection and tone of voice. I have learned that people can be very unreasonable. This unfortunate tendency is no doubt partly to blame on the fact that people online can generally say whatever they want without consequence. We say things from behind a computer screen we would never say to someone’s face.
I have also learned that people have a breathtaking level of naivete. One fellow with whom I had a (somewhat one-sided) discussion said that there is no moral vote this election year. I reminded him that elected leaders help to shape the moral course of a nation. The kings of ancient Israel serve as a prime example. Solomon permitted the worship of foreign gods. Jeroboam gave the religious system in the Northern Kingdom a complete overhaul. Ahab took Ba’al worship to new heights after marrying his Phoenician wife Jezebel. And today at the biblical city of Dan, visitors walk past one shrine after another dedicated to the pagan gods of Canaan. The king was to have a personal copy of the law for himself (Deut. 17:18-20). This does not appear to have been the case during much of the Divided Monarchy. The people suffered as a result.
My discussion partner roundly disagreed with me, offering a simplistic list to back up his point. He listed the past five or six US Presidents, their number of years in office, and one simple phrase: “no change.” Quite obviously, this man was a poor student of history.
Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, the current administration not only has failed to defend it but endorses its repeal. Gay marriage is now perfectly legal in a number of states. Further, the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill proposed in 2011, would repeal DOMA and require the US government to recognize same-sex marriages.
Also in 1996, Clinton vetoed a bill that would have made partial-birth abortion illegal. Despite having passed with overwhelming support in Congress, there were not enough votes to override the veto. Clinton vetoed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 1997 as well, with Congress once again falling short in the Senate of having the votes needed to overturn the veto. Mothers can abort their child after he or she has a heartbeat, fully formed and functioning limbs (the cringe and “Ooooh!” following a sharp kick attest to this fact), and the ability to respond to outside stimuli. The only difference between the unborn and any other person at this point is location. Inside the womb vs. outside the womb. That is a rather poor determiner of what it means to be human.
But the sanctity and value of human life continues to plunge. We have only to look to the Netherlands for a shocking example. At least three percent of all Dutch deaths today are by euthanasia. Reliable statistics are hard to come by, however, and many deaths by euthanasia are not reported as such. The most disturbing aspect of this is that in 1995, a survey discovered that doctors had euthanized about 900 patients without their consent. The survey added that in 15% of these cases, the doctor euthanized the patient simply because he or she felt it was in their patient’s best interest. It would seem that in some parts of Europe, executioners wear clean white coats.
Elected officials do help to steer the moral course of a nation. It’s time that we recognize that fact instead of making excuses to vote for politicians whose values go against God’s Word.