Pastor Richard's Blog

Political Partisanship Does Not Always Align Perfectly With Beliefs

Sometimes I feel like a square peg in a round hole . . . or maybe I’m a round peg in a square hole.  I just wonder why it is so hard to find people who share my belief that all of life is sacred at every stage of development and only God has the right to end a human life.  Is that so wild a thought?  Does that belief make me a right wing reactionary or a left wing wacko?  

At the most basic level, I believe that God created men and women in His image and breathed into them the breath of life.  He then gave to men and women special responsibilities to care for each other and for all of God’s creation.  So, in practical terms, what does this mean for me?  It means that I believe that:

•    Life begins at conception and is a unique and special gift of our Creator.
•    The staggering number of children in North America living in abject poverty is acrime against God.
•    The death penalty is indefensible.  God gave life and only He should take it.
•    We don’t have the right to bomb every country we don’t like while ignoring the so-called “collateral damage” in civilian deaths.
•    The destruction of the environment and the human cost to those around the globe who are most vulnerable is a Christian issue of the highest magnitude.
•    The materialism and wastefulness of those of us who live in the one-third world is a sin against God and the One who “had nowhere to lay His head.”
•    Racism and sexism is, at its root, a heresy which denies the full humanity of all God’s children.
•    Euthanasia is simply one more way that we, as humans, have trivialized the value and sacredness of human life even at its end stage.

So, what does this mean in practical terms?  At the very least it means that I want my stand on public policy issues to be grounded in biblical norms and not partisan politics.  It means that my loyalty to Christ and the Word of Scripture must take priority over my loyalty to any political party.  It means that I want the norms that guide my politics and ethics to flow from the Bible rather than Adam Smith, free-market capitalism, or corporate and shareholder profit.

My pro-life convictions mean more than this however.  They mean that I must also let the Word of God provide the balance to my social convictions.  In other words, what is God most concerned about?  Is it the millions of unborn children being discarded through abortion?  Or is it the malnutrition and deaths of millions of children as a direct result of the destruction of the environment and western affluence?  

What is God most concerned about?  Is it the legal execution (in the United States) of people who have sinned again our social values or the casting aside of those who through age or illness we regard as an inconvenience?

What is God most concerned about?  Is it the endless wars that seem to be the new norm for western nations or the affront to human dignity that are the twin sins of racism and sexism?
The answer is, “All the above!”  Over against those voices that would urge us to focus all or most of our attention on a single issue, I believe that God is calling this generation of believers to a consistent, ethical stance that I (and others) categorize as Completely Pro-Life.  

I recognize that such a stance will likely produce harsh attacks from both the left and the right.  One side will attack us for our stand against western affluence and capital punishment and the other side for our defense of the unborn.  So be it!  If I must continue to be a square peg in a round hole, then that is the price I will pay in order to remain faithful to my understanding of the biblical witness.  As Christian ethicist Ron Sider has said, the test of this generation’s Christian conviction is whether we will have the courage to let the Scriptures shape our agenda rather than competing political ideologies.  Are there other square pegs out there who will join me?