Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past decade, you have probably heard Christians being criticized for being “one issue voters” or for trying to “legalize morality.” Even though both Christians and non-Christians defend their beliefs, Christians are often viewed as offensive, stubborn, and close-minded. That being the case, in this harsh political climate, how should Christians respond?
Most U.S. citizens recognize that voting on a single issue is rarely a good idea. Even still, we all can imagine scenarios that would drive us to that extreme. If the tax rate were to increase to 75%, for instance, I dare say that most of us would become single-issue voters. Obviously, a single issue is not the problem, but how important that single issue is. In regards to any political issue, we must determine how significant the issue is. (In the case of abortion, our conclusion affects over 1,000,000 lives per year.)
In regards to the second criticism, we should never shy away from voting for our beliefs. Whether protecting women, children, minorities, or personal property, everyone votes for morality to some degree. It is absurd to think that we can discard our morals and visit the voting booths as if we were blank slates. Whether we vote for morality or the lack of morality, none of us can exclude morality from political discourse.
Unfortunately, when it comes to politics, Christians sometimes take dogmatic stances on moral issues without really knowing why or without being able to defend their position. Many Christians take a position and argue it endlessly, but flawed arguments simply lead to confusion, anger, and division. Sadly, abortion is one of these issues.
This being the case, as we journey through the political season, here are some basics why we as Christians should care about the beginning and end of life:
God is the giver of life. (Genesis 1-2, Colossians 1)
God creates and develops life, even within a mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13-14; Jeremiah 1:5)
Nations do, in fact, legislate morality — for example, laws against murder. (Exodus 20:13)
Whether we are babies, children, adults, or seniors, we depend upon God for life. (Isaiah 42:5; 1 Timothy 6:13; John 3)
Ending life prematurely is not a permitted option. (Deuteronomy 5:17; Amos 1:13)
God alone determines the end of life. (Genesis 2:17, 3:19; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27)
These truths should not lead us to cold, heartless, or close-minded political bickering. (Picketing along the side of a road with hateful messages is not the way of Christ’s kingdom.) With techniques such as this, it should not surprise us that the media mocks us and that we have had limited success over the past few decades.
Instead, we should exemplify love and engage others on these issues — sharing with them the beauty of creation, the value of human life, and the good news of God’s grace. After all, if we devalue others in the effort of valuing life, we contradict our message. In our efforts to protect the defenseless, then, may we communicate the importance of life with love, joy, hope, gentleness, and grace.