Friday, July 04, 2008

Why I Will Vote for Obama (I have now corrected some pretty bad errors)

I have caught the fervor. I will vote for Obama. Here is my reasoning in three crucial areas.

1. Yes, he doesn't share my views on abortion, but so what? After all, aborted babies go to heaven. If they grow up, they might go to hell. Abortion on demand is the best form of evangelism ever invented. So, with Obama we'd continue to get over a million babies into heaven year, and Supreme Court Justices to insure that it goes on for another generation. Obama would push for more and more federal funding for abortions, which means we would be using state money for evangelism! How cool is that?! And I'm sure the ACLU would never call him on it. Yes, I know the Bible talks about "Thou shalt not murder" and caring for "the least of these," but let's not get legalistic and impose our Christian morality on others.

2. Yes, Obama would likely withdraw the military from Iraq and Afghanistan, thus leading to increased terrorist activities there and to their take over by terrorist governments. Well, it's not perfect world. Losing these countries to forces bent on destroying us is really good for two reasons:

(a) Doing this would free up funds here at home--along with Obama's massive tax increases--for state programs. We all know that you cannot trust free people use their own money wisely. No, people are greedy, but the state is giving. Profit is evil, but tax confiscation of profit is just. Why shouldn't a faceless bureaucracy do a better job with my money than I can?

(b) With increased terrorist activity in Afghanistan and Iraq, attacks on the US are much more likely. This would embolden Osama and his ilk to rain upn us as many 9/11-like apocalypses as possible. But do you remember how full the churches were after 9/11? Remember how many people were asking significant questions about life and death in the wake of 3,000 deaths? This spiritual openness trailed off as months and years went by without another catastrophe in America (thanks to President Bush's authoritarian policies at home and abroad.) But with Obama in The White House, terrorist attacks would increase. This would rally terrorists abroad and give them more freedom at home (since Bush's heavy-handed surveillance tactics would be annulled). Think of the possibilities for revival! San Francisco is shattered by a suitcase nuke and then repents of its long term and trend-setting immorality--just like after the San Francisco earthquake long ago. Marvelous are these thoughts. Let it stretch your faith.

3. The Bible does view marriage as being between a man and a woman. This has been the basic standard of civilization ever since the garden. Yes, but things change over time and we need to be flexible. While Obama has yet to plainly endorse same-sex marriage, he does oppose measures to legally define it in the traditional manner. He certainly would not impose his own, private, personal, religious views (whatever they are) on others. In fact, he may not even impose his own morality on himself. So, an Obama presidency would open the way for same-sex marriage to become a legal institution in America. Think of the benefits to open-minded people. Ministers who need gigs performing marriages would experience a boon! Couples wanting to tie the knot would be popping up everwhere. On top of that, these ceremonies would provide opportunities for evangelism. The minister could say, "Do you, Holly, want to take Penny as your lawfully wedded partner--and accept Jesus as your personal Savior?" But most importantly, with same-sex marriage inshrined in law, more and more Christians will drop their old fashioned principles about marriage (just as they have against abortion). This, in turn, will soften many homosexual hearts to accept the gospel (or what's left of it).


Well, since Obama is somewhat ahead in the polls and since many evangelicals are supporting him, I can breathe a lot easier and enjoy the Fourth Of July. America: land of the free and home of the Obama.

(Yes, this is a satire.)

20 comments:

Sarah Scott said...

Bravo! You have seen the light. On to change-- change into an Obama-nation! I feel the hope...

...hope that many read and consider this.

Mark said...

Hi Doug,

I find both candidates distasteful.. but I agree, Obama is exceptionally horrible.

There are some things that I would like to comment on, though. Not in defense of Obama at all, but rather in regard to foreign policy.

It is highly doubtful that a withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan would lead to increase terrorist activities, especially in the long run. This sort of reasoning is a normally a fear tactic that politicians use. First of all, to say that the occupation of Afghanistan (I'm not refering to going after Bin Laden, but rather the subsequent nation building) has anything directly to do with terrorism is quite off the mark. And similar sort of things could be said about the involvement in Iraq.

And secondly, I think its pretty clear that generally speaking in the middle/near/etc. east, a decrease in foreign involvement has always led to less hostilities and terrorism than vice versa. Osama's main recruiting advantage is hostility to America. Some of this hostility is present no matter what is done, but some of it certainly is aided by seeing American forces in their streets every day. Staying in Iraq/Afghanistan might make temporary strides against terrorism (though I would doubt that plausible possibility), but I'm quite sure it will do nothing than forment more future hostile towards us ('us' being Western people in general).

While certainly less socialistic than Obama, on economics/tax/liberty other areas, John McCain isn't some sort of solid leader. Remember, he said Hillary would make a good president, which in my mind qualifies him as lacking dignity (saying anything to look good) or sense (believing something so foolish). McCain's also voted against tax cuts repeatedly and he's used federal bueracracy to threaten people who don't support his initiatives.

If I were American, I think I'd opt for NONE OF THE ABOVE until the Republic party can field a non-statist candidate.

Tom Hinkle said...

Please tell me where Obama has ever said he wanted to pull troops out of Afghanistan. You can't, because he hasn't. Please make your points on the truth, not misinformation. If you follow the news at all, things are getting worse in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, supposedly our allies (ha-ha), and we have our troops diverted in a country that doesn't want us there but doesn't seem to be doing much to train their own troops to take over. I guess you want that McCain 100-year occupation. It saddens me that Christians have supported an illegal and immoral war while supposedly being "pro-life."

And you conveniently forget the fact that abortion has not been made illegal despite the fact that 7 out of 9 Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican administrations (and if you think getting a GOP guy in there guarantees a pro-lifer in there, remember GWB first wanted Harriet Myers appointed instead of Alito.)

Gay marriage is a non-starter for most people who are more concerned about a poor economy and spiraling gas prices.

Doug Groothuis said...

1. Of course, the attack on Afganistan addressed terrorism. Ben Laden was hiding there at the time and the Taliban supported him!

2. If we pull out of Iraq and/or Afganistan too early, this will destabilize the country. Whether or not you agree with these wars, this is the reality on the ground. Iran would do everything possible to influence Iraq. Iran is a terrorist state. This is not fear-mongering; its true. By the way, we should fear terrible outcomes.

3. Not voting at all is not wise at all. You chose the lesser of two evils; it's a fallen world.

4. Obama, like all liberals today, is for cutting the military and bringing back the troups. A year and half ago, he announced he wanted all troops back from Iraq by May of 2008. He would not support an adequate effort in Afganistan either. He is too far to the left for that. Liberals simply do not understand the evils of Islamic terror. See David Horowitz, "Unholy Alliance."

5. If same-sex marriage is a "nonstarter," this only indicates the general debauchery of the country. But the vast majority of American oppose it. It is a small cadre of deconstuctionist judges who support it.

6. The old canard that liberals alone care for the poor, doesn't fit the empirical evidence. They talk of all manner of government programs, but they typically don't deliver. Remember "the war on poverty"? It fostered generational dependence and cultural decay. Charles Murray and John McWorter (African American) have both written on this. (And, no, I do not accept Murray's "bell curve thesis." That is another issue.)

Thomas said...

Doug:

I appreciate that you responded with some detail to Tom's remarks, so please indulge me. I would very much appreciate it if you gave me specific responses to each of my questions. No need to fully elaborate--just enough to show me that you are nuanced in your thinking and have thought carefully about the topic.

1. What again makes you think that supreme court justices will enforce a pro-life agenda. The only connection that they would uphold a pro-life law. But they haven't and 7 of the 9 justices were Rep. appointes. I fail to see this connection.

1a. Why not outlaw the pill and IUD's? aren't they abortive? Please be consistent.

2. "this will destabilize the country", but what kind of destabilization? You speak with so much confidence. Don't you think you should use the subjunctive a bit?

3. Cutting the military. What budget do you propose? And if you feel so comfortable with keeping government expenditure high, I assume that you are in a high enough tax-bracken in which you pay your fair share of governement costs (3 trillion/300 million) = 10k per person, so 20k for a family of two. Or are you just subsidized, e.g. on welfare by wealthy tax-payers, and you feel comfortable demanding budgets that you don't pay your fair share of. Put your cards on the table: do you collect welfare or are you able to actually foot the bill of more military spending?

4. Why not outlaw divorce, or fat people? They, like gay marriage, are proscribed? Why do you make a distinction?

5. There are better statistics about the liberal/conservative divide on giving. G. Will wrote an article on that.

6. What do you disgree, empirically, with Murray. Be specific and provide a citation from his book--not from another source.

Mark said...

Doug,

Regarding your points:

1. I mentioned in my post that the intial imperative was to go after Bin Laden (who is a threat to the USA), but that I was speaking of what happened after that (the focus on Bin Laden was very short lived). But in reality the mission was moreso to eliminate the Taliban (which is not a threat to the USA) and rebuild Afghanistan's infrastructure.

I feel there is a great deal of ignorance about the Taliban and the Northern Alliance (also known as "United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan"). Keep in mind that Iran, apparently a terrorist nation as you mentioned, was the main supporter of the Northern Alliance before 9/11. And US allies (to some extent) such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan all were supporters of the Taliban before 9/11. The Northern Alliance and Talbian are in a region squabble, and aren't really that differential ideologically. They have found themselves in different sides of a power struggle right now, though.

Just a few short years before this whole mess started, the U.S. was negotating with the Taliban (who were just as supportive of Bin Laden's terrorism) over an oil pipe line. And Iran was backing the Northern Aliance. I personally have trouble keeping up with who is the bad guy in all of this. Speaking of Iran, what tangible national security threat have they posed to the USA? (exempting those targeting the USA's adventures in the Middle East)

2. Your claim that exiting will destablize the country may be true, but if there is no legitimate reason to be occupying a country or if the war is illegal, then it logically follows that staying is not an option, even if leaving turns out for the worse. And if it is true that things over there are not getting better, staying there longer will not make them better. If the presence is unjustified the whole argument about needing to stay there falls apart (the argument that we are bound to stay there only works in disputes where both parties essentially have the same foreign policy just dispute some incidental details--such as the Republicans and Democrats, both generally supporting the concept).

3. I agree that its a fallen world and that ultimately all voting is choosing between the lesser of evils. However, there is a threshold, perhaps sometimes hard to pinpoint. From my estimation, if the Republican party knows that you will always get peoples vote regardless of what they do or what candidates they put forward, things will get even more sour than they are now. The "I vote for you because the other guy is " just KILLS a two party system. It naturally leads towards the parties floating together until they become undistinguishable. You can see that happening with the Republican/Democractic parties. If the "Party X" knew that many people would abstain from a vote if they put forward a bad candidate, I think things might gradually change for the better..

Ultimately, I think it is sort of subjective though. If you can stomach voting for John MacCain in good conscience, all the more power to you. So, I'm not criticizing that decision, though I don't agree with it. I'm just saying there needs to be a point where you would abstain to vote, otherwise you're voting very unconscienctously (I'm not completely rejecting pragamatism in voting, just claiming there has to be limits, and personally my limits would not include a "character" such as McCain).

Anyways.. Don't mean to be burdensome here :< Just thought I'd share a few thoughts.

Doug Groothuis said...

I only have time a quick response.

1. I am not a utopian about abortion. Repealing Roe v. Wade (which is far more likely by judges appointed by McCain than by Obama, but not guaranteed) means putting the question back to states, which will vary in their laws. This would be better than what we now have: judicial tyranny based on a botched decision.

I don't expect many or any states to outlaw all abortions or birth control that kills young embryos (although I find these to be immmoral).

My own state has the Personhood Amendment on the ballot this fall, which would consider personhood to begin at conception. It got over 130,000 signatures, 30 or so gotten by me. (I didn't sign it 30 times; I was a petioner.) It is the first time this kind of thing has gotten on the ballot. May it pass. I will do what I can to help.

Tom Hinkle said...

Doug, you said:
" He would not support an adequate effort in Afganistan either. He is too far to the left for that. Liberals simply do not understand the evils of Islamic terror."

Again, he has stated repeatedly that we should have concentrated our forces in Afghanistan, not Iraq. Obama has never said he would pull forces out of Afghanistan. The stereotyping of "liberals" is not enough reason to base your argument on what is basically an untruth. And don't get me started on David Horowitz.

pgepps said...

3. Not voting at all is not wise at all. You chose the lesser of two evils; it's a fallen world.

I must disagree. Many (most) people have no intelligible or articulate framework for making intelligent judgments about which evils are lesser, let alone about the good. Their voting insures the incoherence of our political processes, the sort of constituency-carving that makes up The People comprising the interests sanctified by the information elites.

1) Not voting because you don't know how to make such decisions is wise. In what domain of life is making some judgment, any judgment, considered wiser than reserving judgment? In what Proverb?

2) Not voting because you don't see a clear difference between the alternatives, or a clear reason to believer your vote matters, is wise. After all, you may be right: your vote may be meaningless, in which case you ought not legitimize a farce. Or you may be wrong, in which case number one applies.

Generally, I would say a wise man needs to be given a reason to vote. There is such a reason in this election; however hard to stomach McCain is, Obama is indigestible altogether.

But let us not make voting a sacrament. Either you can see a reason to vote, this time, or you can't. And a wise man behaves accordingly.

BJ the Tornado said...

Doug,

lots to discuss, but I'll address your claims on Obama regarding Iraq & Afganistan (I agree with you, as you know, on abortion -- and Obama's positions therein are indefensible).

First, it seems you have done something you don't like very much when other people do to you: you claimed a position for Obama that he does not hold. He has stated, repeatedly -- including back when the first vote for war in 2003 happened -- that we should focus our efforts and our forces in Afghan. He has said we should not pull out of Afghan and, in fact, with freed up resources from Iraq we should focus efforts there even more so than we are currently. So... you got him wrong there, and I think you should correct that (important) point.

As for your theory on Iraq. Well, I could not disagree more strongly in your analysis. I am convinced that our presence IN Iraq has created far, far more terrorists than it has prevented. There are more terrorists in the world today because of our presence in Iraq. The longer we stay, the more this will continue (at least I'm convinced of that). With your knowledge of Islam and how they view the world, I'm surprised you don't see this.

Moreover, pulling out of Iraq would not "embolden" the enemy (at least not much, I don't think). In fact, it could settle down Islamic resentment against us. It would not be counted as a victory for them and would be even hard for their propaganda machines to claim. For what was our goal in Iraq? Well, it was to free the people from the evil dictatorship of Saddam and help them set up a democratic government. We did both of those. They are now a free people with free, democratic elections. We accomplished those goals. They are a free democratic nation. It is time for us to leave.

(Of course, if the goal was to fight the war on terror or to stabilize the middle east... well, we absolutely abysmally failed at that.... We were directly counter-productive in those aims. Again, I am convinced the world is less safe from terror because of our actions in Iraq.)

So I don't think your satire against Obama hits home for me... at least not on the Iraq & Afghan points. It seems, in my view, he's got the right outlook here. And so your satire only makes it appear that YOUR theory on Iraq is the one being mocked.

I respect McCain a great deal. I think he's a good & honorable man and I stand firmly behind him on fighting the evil of abortion. But I think he is dead wrong on Iraq.

Dezene Huber said...

You wrote:

"Doing this would free up funds here at home--along with Obama's massive tax increases--for state programs. We all know that you cannot trust free people use their own money wisely. "

While I agree with many of your items, this one lacks logical consistency.

Note, please, that your taxes are already going to a massive government program - the Iraq war.

So, if you don't think that the government can be trusted with your money, then you shouldn't support your money going to the war effort.

You can't have it both ways.

cslewis3147 said...

doug-

absolutely brilliant, I found your post through Challies...I posted your insightful post with a link and credit to you on my blog, I thought it was so good. I will take it down if you like and leave the link, just let me know either way...good work.

Nathan said...

Doug,

I am curious how your complaints over the potential of higher taxes and more government involvement meshes with Paul's perspective on government in Romans 13. Paul uses the word "render" when he speaks of paying taxes to government, indicating that we are only paying what is due to the state. Paul doesn't put a cap on it and so it would be the Christian's responsibility to pay and then honor the government regardless of the percentage of taxes due to the state.

Nick Jesch said...

In response to Nathan's bit about -render-: in that little vignette, Jesus commanded His followers to render unto Caesar what IS (that is, rightfully belongs to) Caesar. This is decidedly NOT whatever Caesar asks or demands. If Caesar demands our daughters to fight in his wars, we are forbidden by other passages of scripture to comply. Just as Nebuchadnezzar required EVERYONE to bow down and worship him and the Hebrew boys refused, there are times we are to refuse rendering whatever the ruling government demands. I might attend the local motorcar dealer and DEMAND he render me that red roadster. He would be in the right to refuse such a request. However, once having PAID for it, it is rightfully mine and such a demand MUST be honoured. The present level or tyrannical and confiscatory taxation extant in the United States is far outside the realm of what IS Caesar's. But then, WE have allowed this situation to develop, remaining mute as civil government usurps control never allotted to it. Thus, we deserve the present tyranny, and will until WE rise up and throw off the yoke. This will not happen until WE again assume OUR OWN God-given spheres of authority. Personally, I find BOTH offerings for president beyond appalling. The only difference I can see between them is that Obama is far more so, and in far more critical areas. I sincerely wish I COULD vote FOR a good candidate, rather than vote AGAINST an unconscionable one. But then, I've not stood for office myself, so how can I complain overloudly?

Nathan said...

Nick,

Obviously, Jesus never intended us to disobey Him in order to obey our government. Jesus made the point that part of our duty as a Christian is to pay taxes to our civil government.

You make the statement "The present level of tyrannical and confiscatory taxation extant in the United States is far outside the realm of what IS Caesar's." I"m curious what percentage of taxation of our income is "rightfully" the government's in your eyes? What is the maximum percentage at which the government is allowed to tax us? Is it 10%, 20%, 30%?

pgepps said...

...and so the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees debate motes and beams, and the eyes have it.

Paul's usage "render" doesn't settle the question of to whom or how much is owed. In one sense, "owe no man anything, except to love one another" and "do not be taken captive again" and "are you free? seek not to be made a slave" all suggest (as do many other parts of Scripture) a portrait of the Christian's overriding loyalty to Christ's Kingdom and the good each must be free to do in His name (social good beginning at the church, Gospel proclamation within the authority of the church, all as the Spirit leads the believer's conscience by the Scriptures to enter into these goods). If I keep contracting ever-increasing debts and entanglements with the kingdoms of this world, how am I to be free to provide hospitality, to give to those who have need, to move about seeking the spread of the Gospel without being a burden to others?

Further, it is plain that government does not achieve the ends of Christian sharing and giving of resources, in any respect. Look at the instructions to the churches for the generous, hospitable, spiritually enlightened care of the needy (including a voluntary but commanded reciprocity). Don't kid me, or lie to yourself, when you think governments of this world, under the power of the evil one (see 1 John) who has the power of death (see Hebrews), who turn from ethics to eugenics, from "deserving poor" to "six generation of idiots are enough," from Oliver Twist to Margaret Sanger, in a heartbeat, are to be preferred to we "who will judge angels" and who are not even to take our earthly disputes with other believers to profane courts....

In this context, how can we see ourselves obligated to support the increasing debt that some would load on us? How could we support increasing involvement of the government (the profane and meddlesome) in our lives (the conduct of the Kingdom of Christ) and our churches (the embassies of a Power more alien than any foreign government to the ways of our nation, or others)?

Surely, we would be obligated to "render" lawful taxes. But we are hardly obligated to support increasing them, or to pretend that they are moral, right, acceptable, or tolerable simply because, as lawful, we must "render" them.

And as for the mistaken reading of Christ's use of the coin, it is child's play to hear the Master's message, here: They were arguing over the use of the coin, and ignoring the more significant matter. Showing them the imago of Caesar on the coin, Christ reminded them (if they had ears to hear) of the words they chanted every time Genesis 1&2 came up in the synagogue's Torah reading, made even clearer by their Greek reading in the LXX, of their being created in imago dei, stamped with God's likeness as the coin was with Caesar's:

They were to render to Caesar the trivia, the coins, and to God the materially significant, their bodies.

If Caesar's coins come to be needed to feed God's bodies, we'd better consider how many of them we accept--and how many we obligate ourselves to "render." Both are worthy of consideration.

And any politics that makes it harder to "just walk away," to live peaceably with all men, rendering honor and custom, while being as little entangled in the affairs of this life as possible, dwelling as it were in tents, becoming strangers and aliens--any politics that tends toward our increasing engagement with the state, that tends toward totalitarian, corporatist, statist controle (think "welfare" and "entitlements" and "managed care" and many another encroachment)--such I name as inimical to the Kingdom of God on earth, in the lives of His church.

Doug Groothuis said...

Two responses to objections:

1. There is no inconsistency. The state has the power of the sword (police and miltitary). See Romans 13:1-7. The question of the state controlling the rest of society (through the redistribution of wealth, massive social programs,etc.) is something else entirley. There is no private military. However, the private sphere is the best place for charity, business, etc.

2. Paul says to pay taxes, but that doesn't justify gigantic taxes going to inefficient and/or unjust beaucracies! We have a say on who we elect and what the tax policy would be (unlike in NT times). I suggest a smaller state and less taxes overall as being more fair and just. Remember Ronald Reagan anyone?

Bill said...

Reagan took the U.S. from being the world's largest creditor to the world's largest debtor nation and left us with a $3 trillion dollar debt.

Lily said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Now I have a fresh example to use in my class when I introduce satire and Swift's "A Modest Proposal" to my 11th and 12th grade students.

On another note, it IS sad how many of my evangelical acquaintances are swallowing the Obama lie hook, line, and sinker. Naturally, these are the people who pose as Christian "intellectuals" and pride themselves on their open-mindedness. Not openminded enough, of course, to take the time to read "Truth Decay," as I have often recommended. Alas.

Preston said...

Mark, I am going to repost something here that you said, and then comment on it:
"And secondly, I think its pretty clear that generally speaking in the middle/near/etc. east, a decrease in foreign involvement has always led to less hostilities and terrorism than vice versa. Osama's main recruiting advantage is hostility to America. Some of this hostility is present no matter what is done, but some of it certainly is aided by seeing American forces in their streets every day. Staying in Iraq/Afghanistan might make temporary strides against terrorism (though I would doubt that plausible possibility), but I'm quite sure it will do nothing than forment more future hostile towards us ('us' being Western people in general)."

--Now... my comment. Please tell me where our soldiers were, what streets and in what country were our soldiers, when Osama decided to recruit and train people to run airliners into our landmark buildings and kill so many Americans on our very own soil? Please tell me in what way did Bill Clinton (since he was in office during the time Osama was training these guys to attack America) instigate these terrorists to feel hate toward us enough so that they would come over here and attack us?... Because the very thinking that you have adopted is exactly the ignorance that puts us in a vulnerable position. What type of person do you have to be to figure out that it's possible that some people are so evil that you don't really have to do anything but exist for them to want to destroy your life? I hope you will seriously think about how you like so many Americans are buying into the hype that Bush and Republicans are the ones sewing fear. All it took was an attack on American soil for me to know that it was a real possibility. Apparently you need a missile right up your a** to get you to realize that terrorist don't need a reason to attack you.