Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Foam Fabricator

So, there’s been a lot of talk about Joe this election season. The Democratic vice presidential candidate is named Joe Biden, the Republican vice presidential candidate speaks passionately for Joe Six-Pack, and now both Presidential candidates have discussed at length the concerns of Joe the Plumber.

Well, I’m not a plumber and I don’t have a six-pack (or drink a six pack with any frequency), but my name is certainly Joe, I live in this country, I cut foam, and I don’t want Obama to raise taxes – partly because I’m out of shape and need to work on my six-pack (how does that affect taxes?) but mostly because I don’t think it makes good economic sense and would hurt my company’s ability to cut foam and employ others to help in that effort. Can I get some time with Obama? Maybe I’ll become a national celebrity. Maybe, I’ll even be that guy who single handedly gets the responsibility of deciding the election. What? That was just a movie? Oh.

In any case, let’s get serious for a second about this election. Is it over yet? Holy heavens. I am getting extremely anxious, and though I know God is sovereign and this world and its governmental structures are passing away, I can’t help but at least expose what I see as serious concerns. Feel free to pass any of this along – I’m not sure if I’m preaching to the choir sometimes. Mostly, I hope to reach the creators and supporters of things like this: Pro-Life Pro-Obama. This cause sounds good, but I’m not buying it.

Let’s make something perfectly clear: neither Barack Obama nor John McCain is Jesus Christ. Neither deserves our worship and neither is our Lord and Savior. That should be all I need to say. But, both deserve our respect, and both can handle our criticism. That is the beauty of this country that God has blessed us to live in, and that God calls us to steward. With that said, it shouldn’t surprise you that my concern lies not in a potential president that has yet to be washed by the blood of Jesus, though that is a concern with all people, but in a potential president that is morally questionable. You may say it is an exaggeration to identify Barack Obama that way. My entire point is that its not.

Politically, I do disagree with his tax philosophy, and the logic of Joe the Plumber’s argument is undeniable. If you raise taxes on small business owners who make more than $250,000 (or anybody who makes more than that), you will reduce the opportunity for middle class workers to have a job that may even provide health care, and hurt the very people you are trying to help; not to mention further an economic recession due to less discretionary spending. If you increase taxes for people who make more than $250K, you will also decrease the incentive to make that much, which is not exactly the attitude to have if you support the "American dream", and is not at all good for the economy at any level. Spreading the wealth is a form of socialism, no matter how you spin it. And there is a difference between the middle class and the poor - Obama doesn't make that very clear when he argues for those who need help. He is rallying a generation that is passionate about social justice and is desperate to see the end of poverty without doing much to convince anyone that he understands the real victims of injustice or will do anything to reduce poverty, or the things that lead to it. Instead he just speaks about helping a middle class that could work at my company and receive good health care if we had a job to give. For more on this check out my comments on Wake Up Nap Town (previous post).

I also disagree with his approach to foreign policy. I think he is naïve and inexperienced and his gut reactions to negotiations with Iran and in the immediate aftermath of the Russian aggression in Georgia were terrifying. I think he would withdraw from Iraq prematurely risking not only morale defeat among Americans but also tactical victory for our enemies. While I don’t necessarily believe that John McCain can balance the budget as he claims, it is definitely concerning that Barack Obama won’t even attempt to and will increase spending for things that the government shouldn’t need to do. I seriously question Obama’s association with people such as Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, not because it makes any difference politically, but because it reveals very suspect character judgment.

But even all of that is not a deal breaker to me. In other words, I would vote the way I’m going to vote, and wouldn’t be bringing this blog into the mix if I didn’t think the most concerning thing about Barack Obama is his stance towards the most important moral issue since the abolition of slavery. And so with William Wilberforce-like persistence, I’ll do my best to cry in the wilderness until someone hears, because we’re talking about a theological issue here. It’s about God.

First, let me define what it means to be pro-life, in my opinion: To be pro-life means to defend and practice life and love in all circumstances. For example, to be pro-life means loving, sympathizing with, caring for, and counseling those in crisis pregnancy situations. It means loving women before, during, and after decisions made regarding an abortion. It means encouraging and providing resources for alternatives like adoption. It means practicing forgiveness, hope, and love to women who struggle with the pain and confusion that follow the decision to have an abortion. And it means defending the defenseless in the womb who have been created in the image of God. It means not ignoring the horror of killing babies for the sake of a women’s right; while also considering a women’s right and avoiding the horror of killing babies. I obviously agree that to be pro-choice does not necessarily mean to be pro-abortion. Hopefully you can agree that to be pro-life does not mean to be anti-choice. ‘Choose Life’ is not just a fancy slogan – it’s the whole point. Why would you not choose that?

With that said, it needs to be understood that Senator Obama, from his voting record, policy plans, and direct quotations, is not just pro-choice but pro-abortion. To think otherwise is not only naïve but downright delusional. And that makes his judgment morally questionable, because at the end of the day, no morally serious person can defend abortion, just as no morally serious person could defend slavery. For me to say such a thing does not leave women out to dry, as my definition of pro-life should indicate. Women may be in the best position to choose, as Obama would argue, but we should never do anything but encourage them to choose life in all circumstances, and then love them in other ways. Future doctors, teachers, pastors, scientists, soldiers, and even politicians could become the pieces of human thrown away if we don’t get serious about this issue in THIS ELECTION. I have no doubt that history will look back at the issue of abortion very similar to the way it looks back on the issue of slavery, and the support of it will be equally appalling. As I said, there are better ways to love the women (and families) in crisis pregnancy situations than allowing them to kill the defenseless person in their womb. Let’s pursue those ways, and stop messing around with an issue of this magnitude.

If you are morally serious, you will read this essay: Obama’s Abortion Extremism , and then vote and act accordingly. As a sidenote, I was motivated to write Senator Evan Bayh on this very essay, and asked that he either reassure me of its error, or speak for me to those who can do something about it. I'll keep you posted. But it in the end, those who can ultimately do something about it are those who can cast a ballot on November 4. I thought this was helpful information to have for that cause. If you need me I'll be doing situps and installing a water soften-- I mean cutting foam.

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