Beyond politics as usualBy Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach Mennonite Central Committee
A quick search of the Web sites of the two major presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, shows the following statements on defense:
“As president, ___ will strengthen the military, shore up our alliances and ensure that the nation is capable of protecting the homeland, deterring poten-tial military challenges, responding to any crisis that endangers American security and prevailing in any conflict we are forced to fight.”
“We must rebalance our capabilities to ensure that our forces have the agility and lethality to succeed in both conventional wars and in stabilization and counter-insurgency operations. ___ has committed to a review of each major defense program in light of current needs, gaps in the field and likely future threat scenarios in the post-9/11 world.”
Is it difficult to match the candidate with the statement? (The first is from McCain, the second from Obama). But given the polarized ads on TV, the differences are not as obvious as one might expect.
In a little more than two months, this country will vote for its next president. Many other votes will be cast for local, state and national offices.
As Christians, we must be careful not to associate ourselves too closely with one political candidate or party. If we do, we will inevitably be disappointed.
Our primary allegiance must always be to Jesus, whom we claim as our Lord. That allegiance means that we look to God — not a political leader — to be the one to ultimately bring about change in our world.
But that does not mean we should not be engaged in the political process. As U.S. citizens, we must remember it is a privilege to be able to voice our preferences. Women were not able to vote until 1920, and African-Americans were not ensured the same right until 1965.
Nor should we assume that it does not matter whom we vote for. The opening quotes illustrate that candidates may have similar positions on an issue. But there are also often very real differences between candidates.
We must sort through the political rhetoric to see where these differences lie, and then make the best decision possible in light of our faith and the teachings of Scripture.
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