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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The End of a Campaign

Last night I spent the last few hours at Congressman Todd Akin's election night party. Although the outcome of last night's election was not what any of us in that room would have hoped (except, of course, for a few of the media representatives lined up with their cameras), there is nowhere else that I would have chosen to end this campaign season.

As I have mentioned before, I met Congressman Akin about 20 years ago. I was 12, and he was serving in the Missouri State legislature. But I was completely unaware of that - to me, he was simply Mr. Akin, the father of a few children I knew from Sunday School. For years, that was all I knew of him. By the time I graduated high school, I was aware of his career in government. But when I saw him in the hall at church, talking to my parents or holding the hand of one of his young children, he was still just a regular guy to me. A Christian man who I knew despite his governmental obligations would be standing with the rest of us every pro-life Sunday. A man who obviously placed his faith and his family first in everything he did.

So in 2011, when he announced that he was running against Democrat Claire McCaskill, I knew that I would have to be involved. From the day the campaign kicked off, I have attended events with my children in support of Todd Akin.

This year, after the now infamous Jaco interview, someone referenced a quote made by former Senator Jim Talent about Congressman Akin: "I don't know what it is, but God protects that man."

Some applied that statement to his career, inferring that God's protection was what led to victory in a tough primary or strength to get through a long election season. But I got the feeling it was something much deeper than that.

Last night, Congressman Todd Akin concede a long and hard fought race to Senator Claire McCaskill. He began as he begins everything, by thanking God.
“..it’s particularly appropriate to thank God, who makes no mistakes and who is much wiser than we are, and so I say to God alone be the glory and honor regardless of how He decides to organize history.”
And he went on to thank his family, supporters, and friends. His speech outlined his view of government and his view of the governed, and I was reminded again of Senator Talent's comment, "God protects that man." It occurred to me that my original assessment had been right. God's protection of Congressman Akin has exactly nothing to do with winning elections or strength through long campaigns. God protected what was important: instead of protecting Todd Akin so that he could get to Washington DC, he protected Todd Akin from the effects of working in Washington DC. The words he spoke last night were the words of a man who has spent 12 long years in Congress and has, only through God's grace and Divine protection, returned to his family the same man he was the day I met him 20 years ago.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The #War Goes On

Tonight many of my conservative friends are talking about taking a day, or at least what's left of tonight, to reflect. They are talking about resting, decompressing, and maybe having a drink or two or seven. Their plan is to return to the battlefield tomorrow.

As a parent, I am left without that option. I walked onto the battlefield the moment I got home. But the landscape of that battlefield has changed drastically in the last few hours. Because of what happened tonight, I now have to raise girls in a country that values free birth control over millions of innocent lives. I have to explain to my son that growing up to serve his country could mean being cut off from any means of support for the sake of political expediency. And I have to explain to all of my children that what could have been their college fund will be instead paying for "free" cell phones, food stamps, and presidential vacations.

My husband will go back in just a few hours to his own personal battlefield, along with his parents and siblings. He will fight to the death to keep the dream that led his great-grandfather to escape the Russian Revolution from being swallowed by the dream of Obama's Marxist father. And every minute of every day of that battle is an uphill march. And at every turn, there is another regulation waiting for an opportunity to run that dream into the ground.

Four years ago, I was afraid of what Barack Obama could do to America. And since then, many of my fears have been realized. The government has taken over healthcare. The "entitled" population stands ready to outnumber those facilitating their lifestyle. Religious liberty is less important than a law student's ability to get free birth control. And America, instead of striking fear into the hearts of her enemies, incites laughter among those who wish to see us fail.

Today, I no longer fear Barack Obama. I am terrified of an electorate that believes liberty can survive his agenda.

And so the battle goes on. Now.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why Voting SHOULD Be Religious Experience

I hesitate to write this today, but at the same time there is no better day than today. I have been thinking a lot the past few days about what it means to be a Christian and to be involved in American politics - and not just what it means if you work in politics, but what it means to simply walk into a voting booth every two years (or, in some cases, every four). What does it mean to be a Christian and vote Democrat? Republican? Third Party? Understand that in no way am I saying that if you're a real Christian you can't be any one of those things. Voting as a Christian I think has far more to do with positions on the issues than party identification.

So which are the important issues? The short answer is that all issues are important in some way. But the ones that I find myself thinking about in every election are the ones I will dig into here.

First, abortion has to be addressed. All life is precious in God's eyes, regardless of the circumstances under which it began. As Christians, we are called to respect life and to protect it. In the United States, our ability to protect life is embedded in our right (and responsibility) to vote. In some cases, that means voting for a candidate who supports a rape exception because the alternative is someone who wants abortion legal through all nine months. I personally don't agree with the rape/incest exception - it accomplishes nothing beyond allowing one victim the choice to create a second, and there is neither healing nor justice in that. But particularly in the case of this Presidential election, we are faced with a choice between Mitt Romney (who supports a rape exception) and Barack Obama (who has previously referred to an unplanned pregnancy as "a punishment," who voted against the "Born Alive Act," and who championed a law that violates the religious freedom of people morally opposed to abortion by forcing them to provide coverage for birth control and abortifacient drugs). In a perfect world, there would be a candidate who believed what I do. In the absence of that, I will take the man who will at least support most measures designed to protect life. I believe it is our job as Christians to ensure that the highest office in our nation not be inhabited by a man who so blatantly disrespects the precious gift of life. 

I know that some of you are already thinking this: but abortion is only one issue of many. That's true. But abortion is one of the biggest social issues in America today (same sex marriage being the other main social issue) and it is one that has been railroaded to the forefront by the likes of Sandra Fluke, Congressman Todd Akin, and others. And here's why it is so danged important: it is not only a social issue. Because the federal government (i.e. you and every other taxpayer in the country) funds organizations like Planned Parenthood, every abortion performed by Planned Parenthood is, in some small part, paid for by you. Because of the policies of the Obama Administration, the religious liberties of organizations such as the Catholic Church are being overrun by laws designed to make federal funding for abortion services more readily available. And the upshot is really this: if you claim to value life and you vote for a politician (on any level) who does not, you make the rather damning statement that you value the other things that politician stands for (such as economic strategies or social programs) more than you truly value life.

When it comes to other social programs - such as welfare, food stamps, the now infamous "Obama phone," Medicare, etc - there is a temptation for many Christians to support such programs and their ever swelling bureaucracies because the Bible tells us that we should care for those less fortunate. But the Bible calls us each as individuals and as church bodies to care for those less fortunate. Nowhere does it say "Give to the government so that they can do unto others for you."

Does that mean that it's wrong for the government to help people? Of course not. But the government has no money with which to help people unless it first collects money via taxes. Social programs in this country exist because the government already takes money from some people and gives it to others. You may have heard of a system of government that worked like this before - it's called socialism. And you cannot advocate for socialism (even in small doses) by referencing a Bible that demands "he who does not work, neither shall he eat."

Not only that, but when we as Christians advocate such programs, we essentially demand that the government do our job (care for those less fortunate). The problem with that is it allows us to become complacent - if our taxes are already covering it, why should we then do more, right? But it also reduces the amount of help that actually reaches the less fortunate, since the government has to first pay the bureaucrats that run the program before they can finance the actual program itself. But if you buy a bag of groceries and take it to a food pantry, every cent goes where it is needed.

For me, voting as a Christian means that I am a conservative independent. Others may not reach the same conclusion. But I challenge you all to educate yourselves on the issues, and be sure that your candidates stand for the important things first.