Why Christians should have voted blue

Originally published in the Portland Press Herald in December, 2004.

By Jim Correale

In the fallout since election day it has often been said that many who chose to re-elect President Bush voted “against their economic self-interests.” Karl Rove and Co., the thinking goes, convinced a majority of the electorate that the Democratic Party does not share the “moral values” that form the bedrock of life in mid-America. In fact these core principles, molded in the Judeo-Christian tradition and passed down through generations of Americans, have been ignored by the current administration. Voters, it turns out, were also persuaded into voting against their moral self-interests.

The US invasion of Iraq was the biggest issue in the election, and one would be hard pressed to come up with a bigger thumb in the eye of “moral values” than a war. The commandment that instructs believers not to kill is rather unambiguous, yet the president — who has said, “The God I know is one that promotes peace” — sent American soldiers and weaponry to invade a foreign land and, as a result, nearly 1,400 coalition military personnel, most of them Americans, have been killed, while estimates are that between 15,000 and 100,000 Iraqi civilians have perished in the conflict as well.

No one is shedding tears for Saddam Hussein. The world is certainly a better place with him out of power and in jail. However, launching a war without direct provocation is entirely inconsistent with basic Christian doctrine. War is hell, and George W. Bush is responsible for the hell unleashed in Iraq.

On the domestic front, administration policies have furthered the gap between rich and poor that is the source of so much injustice and misery in the US and worldwide. Greed is one of the “seven deadly sins,” yet it seems to be the guiding doctrine of the current White House. Jesus went so far as to say that it is very difficult for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of heaven, but the president, who claims to have turned his “heart and … life over to Christ,” does not seem to embrace the ideals of the man he claims to worship.

The Bush tax cut, which heavily favors the affluent, is a completely unchristian plan. In the Bible, Jesus clearly prefers to hang out with — and help out — the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the desperate. Current administration policies have the government turning its backs on those people, in favor of big corporations and wealthy campaign donors. Worker safety, consumer protection, environmental prudence — these, and many other, fundamental values have been left behind in the greed stampede.

Many of those appointed by the president to government posts are working hard to disassemble the regulatory infrastructure that protects citizens, and those appointees are doing so to make life easier for the corporations that they used to work for and/or that they will work for once they leave their public sector jobs. A look at almost every top position in this government nets the same result: an administration that is filling the trough for wealthy friends and then preparing to dig in to the feast themselves.

“What Would Jesus Do?” is a popular slogan among Christians, seen on items from bracelets to bumper stickers. If followers of the Nazarene were to take that question and apply it to the decisions of the Bush presidency they would find that many of those choices were not very Christian. The president talks the Jesus talk, but he has not brought a true Christian presence to the Oval Office. Citizens who share the values that Christ preached should not have voted for Bush.

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