October 27, 2016

Can You Vote for Evan McMullin?

The following is most of an email I sent to a friend. We had talked recently about my support for Evan McMullin in his run for President (check out evanmcmullin.com) and had a couple questions about how I process his positions on abortion and Same-Sex marriage. Here's what I said:


good questions.

Here is what his website says on Life:
"Our respect for life is the most important measure of our humanity. From conception to death - and any time in between - life is precious and we have a responsibility to protect it. A culture that subsidizes abortion on demand runs counter to the fundamental American belief in the potential of every person - it undermines the dignity of mother and child alike. Americans can and should work together to increase support and resources to reduce unintended pregnancies and encourage adoption, even if they may have different opinions on abortion rights."

There are a few things of note here. The first is what seems clear is a respect for life. "Our respect for life...From conception to death..." That is important, because on the Democratic side Hillary supports full fledged, no holds barred, abortion on demand. Gary Johnson holds a fairly similar stance. Donald Trump, though, isn't better. He has no real position on the issue, which is why it boggles my mind when people call him pro-life (see this piece).

However, the position laid out, while obviously better than the other candidates, isn't where I would obviously want it to be, i.e., defining abortion as murder and applying strict penalties to abortion providers. But there is a note of pragmatism in his position that I do appreciate. Part of why anti-abortion things haven't gone our way as much as we would like is due, in part, (and in my opinion) to the fact that we have an all-or-nothing approach. My opinion is all or nothing, I don't believe a cogent argument can be made for abortion under any circumstances, but I also think pro-lifers have to start working with people who have different opinions on abortion itself and put less emphasis on laws (though the laws remain important, and frankly I think the fact that murder is illegal should make abortion de facto illegal) and more on crisis centers and adoption. Obviously over the years people, mainly Christians, have done this, and I think the results have been fantastic. It simply needs to expand, and if possible this should become the face of Pro-Life, rather than angry activists. All of that to say, I wish his position were stronger, but it's better than where any current candidate (with the exception, I think, of Darryl Castle) stands, and it is a position that can be worked with. Of course it could also simply be sly policy talk, which would be typical of Republicans. But he seems to be a pretty committed Mormon, so I'm guessing he legit does disapprove of killing babies.

On the topic of SSM, I pulled this from an article in the Santa Monica Observer,
'McMullin has stated that although he believes in "traditional marriage between a man and a woman", he "respects" the United States Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and thinks it is "time to move on" from the issue of same-sex marriage. He also stated that he would not make appointments to the Supreme Court with the intent of overturning Obergefell.'

And this from his website on the topic of Religious Liberty:
"Religious liberty is freedom of conscience, inherently connected to actions and expression; it’s the grace to let others pursue their convictions and the willingness to welcome a marketplace of diverse ideas. This freedom is central to the American experiment, and it should be protected, not disparaged. At a time when global religious persecution is at record highs, America must prioritize the defense of this core human right in our diplomatic efforts. Our moral authority to defend religious freedom abroad relies on the vitality of religious freedom here at home. Our government should not target religious groups for discrimination or marginalization based on the obligations of their faith, but instead recognize that religious diversity and robust pluralism are foundational sources of strength for our nation."

I actually agree largely with his position here. I don't think pushing for the overturn of Obergefell is going to get anywhere, even if the court's decision ere overturned, Americans now largely accept and endorse SSM, so it wouldn't do anything except put states back in a position to decide for themselves. And they would simply, then, pass laws in alignment with the Obergefell decision. [I do think that would be good, on a Constitutional basis, but as far as the marriage effect, I think it's pointless.] Christians, mainly Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, lost the cultural battle, and badly. I think the path forward for the church is to actually rebuild our own understanding of marriage, which is incredibly weak and anemic, which is why the world found it so uncompelling. Most Christians function with the same concept of marriage as simply a contract or agreement made by two people who love each other to live together and share certain physical, financial, and perhaps emotional parts of their lives. And why should those outside of heterosexuality be denied that?

Without Christians understanding and practicing a type marriage that functions as a compelling picture of Christ and the Church, we can't expect our own children to see marriage aright, let alone a wider culture, including it's judges and lawmakers.

So basically, he's where I am at politically. I don't think same sex marriage is even a spiritual reality the way one man and one woman is, but I also don't think that is a political battle worth fighting until some major things change in our culture. I think that most likely things will have to get a lot worse, we will have to see all of the negative effects of our sexual insanity, before the culture writ large begins to seriously consider whether what they're chasing makes sense.

So to sum it up: on abortion I wish he were better, but I can deal with him because he is better than the others. On SSM, I basically agree with him.

And overall, I'm essentially pessimistic on the future of America, and optimistic for the church. Anyhow. I'll be done now.


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About Me

Follower of Jesus. Husband of one. Father of four. Pastor at Remsen Bible Fellowship (remsenbible.com).