Decision '08
Our choice of president is less important than our integrity.

Election time again and, once more, we face a big decision. No, not the decision about our vote. That one is big, but this one is even bigger. It's the decision about our integrity.

I watch in amazement as every four years, well-meaning Christians who are otherwise committed to values of truth and controlling our tongues descend into the pit of partisanship, smears, and tale-bearing. You know how it goes. You have genuine concerns about the other guy (or gal) and so, with few qualms, repeat whatever was told to you by someone in the parking lot or that you heard on the talk radio show or read on that extremely well fact-checked source, the Internet. Of course, all the stuff the other side is saying about your candidate? Yellow journalism and lies.

People who balked at the Left's mention of George Bush's alcoholism repeat at the drop of a hat Obama's admission of drug use in his younger days. And people who on any other day are likely to decry the sexism of American politics suddenly become concerned that Palin went back to work too quickly after giving birth and that she can't be both VP and a mother of a special-needs child.

We believe whatever our side says, refuse to even listen to the other side, and generally put critical thinking aside.

I'm sad to say that over the last few months, I've seen good Christians who genuinely love Jesus repeat tale after tale (many later proven false or exaggerated) about both major tickets in this election–all with the intention of making others think less of the one being talked about.

Didn't we use to call that gossip? And, actually, wouldn't we still call it gossip if someone in our church was saying similar things about someone else in our church? Can anyone tell me how it's any different during an election? I understand these are important decisions about public officials, and character matters. I know. I just think that's all the more reason to be careful, to check the facts before repeating the tale. Character matters in both the ones being voted for and the ones doing the voting.

Read something about Obama on a Republican site? Great. Before you believe it, check out how the Democrats are explaining it. And vice-versa. Or better yet, bookmark an objective site that holds the feet of both candidates to the fire on issue of truth and spin.

Does John McCain really want to apply "Wall Street de-regulation" to health care? No.

Did Obama really vote against funding our troops? No. According to FactCheck.org:

McCain has made multiple false representations of Obama's tax proposals. Obama has made false claims about McCain's stance on Social Security. Both McCain and Obama have traded some whoppers about their energy policies, about Iraq, and about Iran, and about supporting troops.
October 17, 2008

Displaying 1–10 of 20 comments

Tom

October 22, 2008  12:30pm

I am impressed with this article as well as the comments. I have been disappointed in many Christians when it comes to politics. I feel that the Dems have allowed the party to be overrun by the fringes of society and basically remained silent for the sake of "party unity". Also, the GOP has fooled Christians to believe that they are for us and have clinged to our beliefs in trade for votes that do not align to our core values of defense for "the lesser of these". As scripture says, we should all "examine our own hearts". It does our souls no good to agree with wrong when the "right" person says it and to deny the right when the "wrong" person says it. God's eyes are on our motivations as well as our actions.

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Alison

October 21, 2008  11:08am

As a matter of integrity, I cannot vote for either of the two main candidates. However, I respect the right of others to cast their vote for McCain or Obama, although I may not understand why.

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Bil_

October 20, 2008  1:18pm

I appreciate the article on integrity. I read with great trepidation (albeit, unfounded) the comments above. I am reminded in my spirit that we ought not sell our inheritance for a meal. Great article causing somber reflection.

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pam

October 20, 2008  10:34am

it is strange that will all of the discourse about election candidates and everyone so concerned about being careful to not smear a candidate. Or even the concern over views lining up with our Christian beliefs how we don't see that this is how many Christian treat pastors and leaders in their own town. Take everything that Bob applied in his article and you could/should apply the same standard to how people talk about church leaders. What we are seeing evidenced in the political arena is no different than what is taking place in towns and cities around the US. It is the reason so many have been feed up with church and with politics. The result is simply a lot of angry and disconnected people. If we are true to operating in the love of Christ then we have to seek both the truth and the spirit of the individuals we are looking to lead us. Whether it is in our local church or in our nation.

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mike rucker

October 20, 2008  9:28am

My observation is that most Christian Obama supporters are overly sensitive and easily offended if someone points out reasons not to support him. just the kind of generalization and slap that bob is writing about, melody. the thing i have gotten 'overly sensitive' about is the fearmongering tactics of john mccain and sarah palin, plus what i'll graciously call 'spin' but is in fact outright lying. and the inability - or deliberate intention - of you to go in and try to sort through the smear and find what the real underlying facts are is what i consider to be biggest threat to our country. you can read about it on my blog if you care to - 'campaign 2008's critical issue'. mike rucker

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Melody

October 19, 2008  7:20pm

I would just like to point out that conservative Christians have never been partial to McCain. Given that, they see two very different Americas in the future and are compelled to cast their vote for a candidate who at least isn't diametrically opposed to their values. My observation is that most Christian Obama supporters are overly sensitive and easily offended if someone points out reasons not to support him.

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Gregg

October 18, 2008  9:33pm

In regard to the article, integrity is important. The stuff going around from both sides and from Christians is frankly annoying if not down right sinful. (Although I have about had it with fact check web sites too - they seem almost as bad)The whole thing is pathetic. Integrity however, is in the process but also in the vote. The vote and who we vote for is not separated from our integrity. And yes a single issue can decide it. How crazy to say otherwise. If one candidate holds that all native Americans should be deported to Siberia, since that's where they came from, or executed I suspect most would vote single issue rejecting that candidate even if they stood for justice for everyone else.

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Gregg

October 18, 2008  9:15pm

J Joyce makes a rather silly argument. Supporting candidate who supports abortion is supporting abortion. In addition to the character issue of the candidate, that support is a direct line to an evil practice. The argument about other policies and so forth promoting and causing more abortions is at best convoluted and at worst a rationalization since there is absolutely no way to quantify it. One can argue both ways that these other policies, whatever they are, promote or don't promote the conditions for more abortions to occur. There is no convoluted argument when abortion itself is supported. Babies die intentionally.

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Tyler

October 18, 2008  12:28pm

well said Bob, well said.

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Jill

October 18, 2008  11:48am

Bob, I just want to gently correct your use of the words "special needs child." If we are going to talk about language here, then we need to use the correct term, which is "child with special needs." He is, after all, a child first.

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