By Brett Younger
Maybe you have seen brochures with titles like "2012 Election Christian Voter Guide." These "non-partisan" guides tend to focus on abortion and gay marriage as though they are the only issues for Christians. We need to care about issues that don't seem important enough to either major political party.
Caring for the poor is a religious issue. While both parties argue over the middle class, no one is putting forth courageous policies that offer a real chance to poor families.
War is a religious issue. Jesus' call to be peacemakers and love our enemies would seem out of place in either party's platform.
Telling the truth is a religious issue. After each debate, media outlets print lists of lies each candidate has told. Both lists are too long.
Neither of the major parties is making a serious effort to consider how free trade might alleviate hunger or how scrupulous concern for justice in the international arena could alleviate anger towards our country. Corporate ethics, capital punishment, and the environment matter to Christians because our faith has something to say about honesty, revenge, and creation.
When Dorothy Day was criticized for what observers saw as the inconsistency of her "radical" political life and "conservative" religious life, she responded: "I don't act politically on the street or worship in church to fit in with people who are radical or people who are conservative. I read the Bible. I try to pay attention to the life of Jesus Christ. I try to follow his example. I stumble all of the time, but I try to keep going along the road he walked for us. I belong to a church, and when I made the decision to join it, I knew my whole life would change. For me, everything is religious -- politics and the family and work, they all are part of our obligation: to follow our Lord's way."
Imagine the good our country could do if Christians followed our Lord's way and took God's concern for the poor, peace, and honesty into the voting booth. What wonderful things would happen if our values were derived from the life of Jesus Christ rather than politics?
Sincere Christians can choose to vote for President Obama or Governor Romney -- for reasons rooted in their faith. We can and do disagree on how to enhance human rights, protect children, promote racial reconciliation, and support gender equality. We may also share frustration that our politicians tend to appeal only to individual interests, national interests, and special interests. Faith leads us away from narrow partisanship to act for the good of all people and live with concern for others.
On November 6, I will get up early to cast my ballot. I will vote with appreciation for that privilege and some disappointment at the choices we've been given.