Should one issue determine who we vote for?

Someone asked me why abortion should be the only issue that determines how we vote. It seemed silly to them that in an election when so many issues are on the table that we would decide things based on just this one issue.

But is it silly? Consider that there are many other “single issues” that would be enough to disqualify a candidate from our consideration. If a candidate agreed with us on free trade but wanted to bring in Sharia law, we wouldn’t vote for them. This one issue would be enough to rule them out. And we couldn’t vote for them even if all the other candidates were worse.

We also wouldn’t vote for someone who approved of slavery. We wouldn’t vote for a Communist, an anti-Semite, or a homosexual activist. So there are many “single issues” that, by themselves, would be enough to disqualify a politician from our vote.

The reason it might seem silly to let the single issue of abortion disqualify a candidate is because abortion happens outside of our view, and because it has been with us for so long. It’s understandable that we will have lost sight of the horror.

To regain perspective it might be helpful then to consider how we would react if this same sort of devastation was being wreaked on other, more visible, groups.

For example: what would we think of a candidate who stood with us on every other matter but who thought there should be a right to kill Natives – as many as 100,000 each year?

Or what if a candidate said that they were all for a proposal to wipe out the town of Chilliwack this year, and then Red Deer next year, and the year after that Thunder Bay, and four years from now Waterloo, all cities of roughly 100,000?

Would either of those be candidates we could vote for?

Clearly not. When we restate their monstrous abortion stand in more visible terms we know such a candidate is simply too evil to support.

What then can we do? There aren’t many pro-life candidates so who can we vote for? If God has given you a CHP candidate, or a pro-life Conservative candidate in your riding then take full advantage. If you have neither of those options then please do still go out to the polling booth, but not to vote for any of the candidates. Instead take the opportunity to express as clearly as you are able, by spoiling your ballot (perhaps by writing “No pro-life candidate available across it”) that none of these candidates are qualified to represent you. It is a small thing. But it is what you can do.

However, the day after the election, that is when Jesus’ “Parable of the Persistent Widow” (Luke 18:1-8) can help guide us – this is first and foremost not a parable about how best to engage in political action, but it is that too. When faced with an unjust judge the widow simply persisted. And she got justice not because she won the judge over, and not because the unjust judge was replaced by someone who actually cared about right or wrong. No, she got her justice because she would not shut up. In a country in which there are no electable pro-life leaders, this is what we can still do – speaking up persistently, ever hopeful that God can make use of our persistence to help the unborn.

And, of course, we must also remember the real point of this parable, which Jesus told to encourage us to persistent in our prayers to God. Casting our vote is important, but it is only a small, one time, thing. Our God is big and ever near us. And He wants to hear from us – He asks us to persistent in our requests to Him. So let us pray for the unborn and for our country without ceasing!

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  1. Vaclav

    March 9, 2019 at 5:23 am

    It’s time that we Christians re-think our Pro-Life Strategy when it comes to voting. I read your article with great interest, however I firmly believe that the strategy you recommend is doomed to failure.

    Einstein, in one of his most famous quotes, said that, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” In this comment, I am talking from a Canadian perspective, but the parallels in the US are exactly the same.

    It was well-known that our previous Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was a devout and practicing Christian. We all hoped that at some point in his majority mandate, from 2011 to 2015, he would enact some form of Pro-Life legislation. In fact he did the exact opposite! He said that once-and-for-all the abortion debate was closed in Canada. I was astounded.

    However, it makes political sense. Most Canadians (and Americans for that matter) favour a Pro-Choice agenda. It would be political suicide to make abortion more difficult in Canada. So what is someone like me to do when I feel betrayed by the very people I helped elect? Vote for the CHP (as you suggest)? What chance do CHP candidates have to be elected? That strategy reminds me of my child holding its breath to get their way. Not much chance of that happening.

    We have this preconceived notion, and people like you feed that delusion, that Conservative (or Right-leaning) candidates will do something about the scourge of abortion because they seem to be Pro-Life in their rhetoric. If they want to get re-elected, the simply will not even touch that issue, as we have seen both in the US and Canada.

    In addition to perpetuating the ruse of being Pro-Life, Conservatives are also well know as the Party of lower taxes, fiscal restraint and balanced budgets— or at least that’s what they would have us believe. Tax cuts mostly favour high-income earners and cost-cutting in areas such as education, health care and social programs usually affect the low-middle income earners the most, in usually devastating fashion. Just look at the recent cuts to social programs, education, funding for parents who have Autistic children and up-coming slashing of health care by the Conservative Ford Government in Ontario. These policies make life for the majority of the population much more difficult.

    So if I’m a parent in one of those families and happen to have an autistic child, I now have to spend tens of thousands of dollars from my own budget to get the basic therapy for my child to develop the basic skills to live a simple life. What impact will that have on the well-being of any other children that I may already have? and most importantly, how do I feel about bring in a new child into the family?

    So what am I advocating? Surely not a vote for those Liberal heathens who are overtly Pro-Choice? Well let me tell you a few things. While I am against that Pro-Choice stance, Liberal governments are usually less likely to slash social programs, health care and enact tax-cutting legislation to benefit the rich. Conditions for low to middle income earners generally have a better social safety net than Conservative agendas making living conditions much better for low to middle income earners. This makes the birth of new children much more likely than in the slash and burn cost-cutting policies of Conservative governments.

    Let me make a prediction. There is a “March For Life” on May 9, 2019 which I will be attending. I will wager that we will hear from many Conservative candidates supporting our cause and no Liberal or or very few NDP candidates. Many will be fooled into believing that these Conservative candidates vying for our votes in October will actually be doing something about the abortion issue if they form the next government. Don’t be fooled! In fact what I can guarantee you is that they will enact pro-business legislation that will, at the same time, cut social programs making life more difficult for families and actually contribute to and increase the abortion problem. And, as in the past, they will do nothing to address the abortion issue.

    As Christians it’s a terrible to be in this situation. But unfortunately it has become a choice of the lesser-of-two-evils. Anyone who believes that vote for a Conservative candidate, or for that matter a CHP candidate, will change anything in this abortion file is either naive at best, delusional or deliberately misleading you.

    • Reformed Perspective

      March 9, 2019 at 8:15 am

      You’ve argued that when it comes to a choice between Liberals and Conservatives, then the Conservatives are not, as so many Christians suppose, the lesser of two evils because their pro-life stance is only a pretense.

      I largely agree that the Conservative Party uses pro-lifers without listening to them.

      But my article was about whether there comes a point at which a party is simply too evil to vote for. Is there a point where the lesser of two evils is simply too monstrously wicked to consider voting for. And I argued yes. If all the candidates in a riding were for slavery, we wouldn’t vote for any of them. If they all wanted to bring in Sharia law, the same. And I was arguing that the fact we don’t put the same importance on abortion only shows that we aren’t really dealing with – we are flat out ignoring – what abortion does to 100,000 Canadian citizens each year.

      My argument was that when every candidate advocates mass murder, then this is too evil to endorse.

      You speak of a mistake Christians keep making – putting their hopes in the Conservatives. I agree we keep making a mistake, but it is of a very different kind. The mistake we keep making is we think our end goal – our highest end – is to effect change and achieve power. And so we evaluate everything in light of that goal – and we pick the lesser of two evils because then at least we had a say in who took power, and the change they will effect will be a little more to our liking than the alternative.

      While taking power and effecting change is a good goal, it can’t be our ultimate. Our ultimate goal is to glorify God. And when we view elections in light of that goal, then we understand that it gives God no glory to vote for and elect monstrous evil. Then we understand that there is value in denouncing evil, even if it might not seem to have a chance of effecting any meaningful change, because it will present God’s Truth, and give Him glory. Then we would consider running ourselves, so we can speak that Truth at each public debate, fully knowing we have no chance of winning. Or we would write “no pro-life candidate” across our ballot, knowing it is a message that only a few people might see, but better that message than one more vote tally standing behind the name of Satan’s own candidate.

      Don’t misunderstand, I am not arguing against Christians acting in as impactful a way as they can – Christians are called to be as effective as we can. But our effectiveness has to be a means by which we glorify God. We need to be clever, wise, strategic, and seek power, but all of those have to be means by which we glorify God, and not ends in themselves.

      Our mistake is turning the pursuit of power into our ultimate goal. We’ve made it our god. And so, in the name of effecting some sort of change we turn our nose on spoiling our ballots, or on “wasting” ballots on candidates who will never win. In service to our “god” of effectiveness we are willing to vote for even the most monstrous of evils. And I say, no. Some evils are too evil. And when we are talking government-sponsored murder on a Hitlerian scale, it should be clear to all that we’ve reached the level of too evil to consider.

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