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May 1, 2008 / beidson

Would You Vote For A Pro-Slavery Candidate?

For those of you who think that we ought not be single-issue voters, let me ask you a question: Would you vote for a presidential candidate who supported the right to own people as slaves?  What if he/she was strong in foreign policy, economics, military, education, health care, etc.?  Would being proslavery matter then?  Of course it would, and that’s because some issues are so important that they trump every other issue.  Issues like these, such as slavery, are issues of fundamental human rights, and as such, should guide our political views and voting habits.

Of course, slavery isn’t legal anymore in the United States, and we can be grateful to God for raising up brave and courageous individuals who fought against this evil, many times at the cost of their own lives.  But the issue we face today, the right to abort an unwanted child, is even more significant.  This issue surpasses slavery because it discriminates at a deeper level, not of skin color, but of the dignity and value of human life itself.  It’s one sort of evil to do injustice because of a person’s color, but it is an altogether greater evil to do injustice to those who are too small to even stand against such evils.

What ought we to think of the “good Christians” in the 19th century who voted for presidential candidates because they were excellent communicators and good at balancing budgets, yet supported the right of white plantation owners to buy and sell slaves?  In retrospect, we can see the inherent hypocrisy that should have been so evident to these Christians, and yet they didn’t see it because they were so ideologically and economically blinded to the evils of slavery.  To them, slavery was just another issue.  Tragically, they did not understand that it was the issue, an issue that transcended economics to the degree that human life transcends lifestyle.

What is at stake with abortion rights is much more than feminine autonomy and liberty.  Abortion is the issue of our generation, an issue that trumps all other issues.  It did not matter that Hitler could organize an army or balance a budget or advance his political agenda because, in the end,  he did not regard the value of human life, even his own.  What our ancestors should have been asking themselves is, “Sure this candidate has a great plan to stimulate our economy, but what does he think about the value of black slaves?”  In the same way, we ought to ask ourselves how current presidential candidates line up on the issue of abortion.  What do they think about the value of human life, and do they regard it as an issue of fundamental human rights?

What we must understand is that abortion is more than a political issue.  It is a deeply moral issue, one that transcends politics and privileges, so much so that we ought to be alarmed by the politician who trumpets his/her policies on environmentalism but wants to remain neutral on abortion issues, as if to divide between the sacred and secular, the right to abort being a secular concern.

Abortion does not stand alone in isolation from the rest of our worldview.  A politician who supports (or is neutral toward) a woman’s right to abort sets the trajectory for all other sorts of moral evils in generations to come.  A politician who thinks that the mother’s right to choose is greater than a child’s right to live will continue to make other political decisions that lead to the destruction of human life.  It may be that if we continue along our current path, our grandchildren will be choosing between two presidential candidates who both have different agendas on foreign policy but agree that citizens should choose to end thier lives at age 70 rather than burden working class America.  This is a very real possibility, and as such, ought to be a very real concern to us as we look ahead to November.

If Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. had not stood against the cultural tide of their times we might very well still be experiencing the moral evils of slavery, but thankfully, they did not set aside this issue for more pressing concerns.  To them, it was the defining issue because it transcended every other issue.  White slave owners will not stand innocent before God because of the ignorance of their wrongdoing.  The fact is, if they had really understood the Scriptures and resisted contemporary political practice, they would have liberated their slaves themselves rather than wait for political revolution.  And they definitely would not have voted for a pro-slavery candidate, regardless of his political abilities and agendas.

This is not to say, however, that abortion is the only issue, as if we should not consider other issues as well.  Indeed, it would be foolish and sinful to vote for a pro-life candidate who was also pro-slavery.  But all things considered, abortion ought to stand out front as the leading political/moral issue of our time because of its fundamental nature.  And we must not be duped into pledging allegiance to any political party because of its position on abortion.  We must consider the individual and determine, from the Scriptures, if they are worthy of “bearing the sword.” 

What should we do if there are no pro-life candidates to choose from?  Should we choose the lesser of two evils?  That might make sense if you’re considering the national budget, but it cannot be the case when considering the rights of unborn children.  If there are no popular pro-life candidates, then I see no other option than to vote for a less popular, pro-life candidate, even if he stands no chance of winning.  I realize that this issue is not as black-and-white as I have just painted it, but then again, it is.  After all, would you vote for a pro-slavery candidate?


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