How Can You Vote For HER?

Vote! from Flickr via Wylio

© 2005 hjl, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

NOTE: I write this is as my own opinion, not on behalf of any church or denomination. The link to this blog from my church’s website has been removed until after the election to alleviate any confusion. While pastors are not permitted to endorse candidates “from the pulpit,” there is no legal or other impediment to ordained ministers stating their personal views on political or any other matters. In fact, I am called to live out my faith publicly, which I will do in this post . . . .

Somebody asked me how I, a Christian and a pastor, could vote for Hillary Clinton. Here’s my answer. I don’t post this with the quixotic hope it will change anyone’s mind. I want to do what I always do on this blog; to show how faith impacts real life. I also hope unChristians who read this will see that Christians are not monolithic in their politics; you don’t have to subscribe to a certain ideology or party to follow Christ.

That’s not a bad thing for Christians to realize, either.

You can certainly disagree with my reasoning. That doesn’t make you any more or less of a Christian than I am. As we try to live out our faith in a perfect God as deeply flawed people in a less-than-perfect world, we are going to disagree and we are going to get it wrong sometimes.

What I will not do is to judge whether someone else is a follower of Christ based on their politics. I have seen memes and other posts on Facebook saying, “You can’t be a Christian and vote for _____.” Yes you can, no matter how you fill in that blank. Our status as followers of Christ does not depend on our voting right or getting anything else right; we are saved by what God  in Christ did for us.

Of course we should try to put our faith into action, including taking God into the voting booth. But we should also put our faith into action when we encounter someone with whom we disagree. As I will do for those who choose to respond to this post with disagreement . . .

I focus on issues. We can argue endlessly about which candidate is personally better or worse, but what really matters – well beyond the next four years – are the policies espoused by the candidates and their parties. So here are the issues that most sway my vote as a Christian . . . and as an American.

Stewardship of the Earth – We are called to be stewards of God’s creation. That does not mean to exploit it for our benefit, but rather to care for the earth and its creatures as God cares for us.  Sometimes that involves sacrificial safeguarding. I put this reason first because the damage done is often irrevocable . . . once national land is sold to developers, it’s not coming back. Once pristine wilderness is opened to mining and drilling, it’s not wilderness any more. Once tops are blown off of mountains to extract coal and streams are polluted and dammed by the debris, the ecology and topography are irrevocably spoiled.

I am old enough to remember our country’s burning rivers and smog-choked skies before clean water and clean air legislation. The Republican platform’s objection to environmental regulations would take us back toward those less-than great days for the environment. There is no incentive for “The Market” – which some Christians have made into an infallible idol – to protect the earth.

Unfortunately, there is a misguided strain of Christianity that teaches we may do what we wish to the earth because Jesus is coming back soon and giving us a new one. That is antithetical to the Biblical mandate we have as God’s caretaking hands in and of the world.

Science – There is no conflict between science and Christianity. Science is simply coming to understand the “how” alongside – not in opposition to – the “Who” and “why” answered by Scripture. To deny the overwhelming conclusions of the scientific community about things like climate change, vaccines, and evolution only makes Christians look silly and irrelevant . . . As does supporting a candidate and a party that embraces and promotes that denial when science inconveniently conflicts with business interests or the fundamentalist faith of the party’s political base.

Pro-Life – Because I follow Jesus, I am pro-life.  Jesus was so pro-life he was willing to die so we can live.

But I am not just pro-life regarding fetuses. I am also pro-life about actual babies whose families need assistance in order to have food and shelter. I am pro-life for all people when early intervention medical care will save or improve their lives, even if it means my higher taxes pay for someone else’s insurance or care. I am pro-life for prisoners on “death row,” not just because it is inevitable innocents will be executed in the name of “justice,” but also because I believe no one is beyond redemption.

But back to what you thought I was going to write about in this section – I believe abortion should be as rare as is possible. Making abortions illegal, throwing women and doctors in prison, is not the just – or effective – way to do that. Because I am pro-life, I believe in comprehensive sex education including accurate birth control information and availability. Certainly I believe abstinence should be presented as a good and viable option, but not in demonstrably ineffective “abstinence only” curricula.

Republican candidates talk about making abortion illegal with no exceptions, not even in cases of rape or incest nor to save the life of a mother. If that had been the law of the land when my wife terminated a pregnancy that would have killed her, she would be dead, sacrificed on the altar of misogynistic patriarchy cloaked in religion.

Christian Integrity and Witness – Christian leaders like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., are promoting a triumphalist Christianity  I do not believe Jesus would recognize.  They desire to use the government as an instrument of their brand of religion.  Unchurched young people in particular already stay away from Christianity because they believe (rightly in many cases) that Christians are hateful and judgmental. Supporting a hateful and judgmental agenda that denigrates and dismisses those who are different – whether they are immigrants or Muslims or LGBTQ+ folks – only reinforces the perception of Christianity as an exclusive country club for “people like us.”

When Christianity is dragged into an unholy alliance with the Republican platform, it is harder to communicate the real Christian message of love for the last, lost, least, and left out. When the point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan – that EVERYONE is my neighbor –  is completely missed by Christians, is it any wonder those outside the church misunderstand what Jesus is all about?

LGBTQ+ Brothers and Sisters – It is diabolically ironic that many of the people who accuse Muslims of using their religion to taint the law want to deny LGBTQ+ folks the right to get married and live without being discriminated against because, you know, religion. Some of the people I care most about are members of the LGBTQ+ community, so this is personal for me . . . to roll back the civil rights advances of the past few years as the Republican platform advocates would directly hurt people I love.

Speaking of personal, this last reason is deeply personal . . .

Obamacare – My daughter has Crohn’s Disease. It was diagnosed when she was 15. She will never get well. Prior to Obamacare, she could be – and would almost certainly have been – denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition once she was off our policy. So, yes, the preservation of Obamacare is personal.

But it is more than that. My daughter has infusion treatments every six weeks that cost between $14,000 and $40,000 each time. Thank God my wife has excellent insurance through her job, or we would be in dire financial straits. EVERYONE has a right to that kind of insurance . . . EVERYONE has a right to know that a catastrophic illness will not result in a catastrophic financial family meltdown.

When I volunteered at a homeless shelter before Obamacare, many of the families – fathers, mothers, and children – who ended up there had lost everything due to overwhelming medical bills.

I know Obamacare is not perfect (I would personally prefer a single-payer system), but I will vote for the candidate who proposes to fix it, not throw it out with no viable replacement in sight. Anyone who thinks the opportunity to “buy health insurance across state lines” or to have “medical savings accounts” would help the truly desperate doesn’t know any really poor – or really sick – people.


Thanks for reading. Feel free to disagree, to argue . . . or to share. America – and the church – are stronger when folks can discuss differences  without denigrating and degrading each other. I look forward to your civil conversation. . .

About pastordavesimpson

I'm an unexpected pastor. Why unexpected? Because no one is more surprised than me that I'm a pastor. See the "About" page on my blog for more info.
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26 Responses to How Can You Vote For HER?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I see that you stayed away from the less than desired personalities involved in this election! I agree wholeheartedly with your points! I have already voted and did so with some other reasons in mind. After reading your blog , I see many more reasons to support my decision! Thanks for sharing them!

  2. Jack Donachy says:

    Well written, thoughtful.

  3. I think you are my second soulmate, next to my husband. I totally agree with your ideas and explanations. Thank you for staying it so well! 🙏🏼

  4. Randy Rainey says:

    Wow, I can actually follow your reasoning and am grateful for the help in thinking over my choices both nationally and locally in the voting system. Thank you

  5. Karen says:

    Reblogged this on Sisters of Christ and commented:
    My Unexpected Pastor Hubby takes us into the voting booth with him for a brave and probably unpopular witness.

    I am very proud to share this post

  6. So am I, as I have seen the feelings and time he takes to study and teach…

  7. Robyn says:

    I agree with you. I’m a member of Christian Democrats of America, and you are not alone in supporting her. Thanks for publicly adding your voice, and willing to share. I will be re-tweeting it.

  8. Thanks for saying the things I feel buy don’t know how to express so eloquently. I especially liked your first comment about pro-life, “Because I follow Jesus, I am pro-life. Jesus was so pro-life he was willing to die so we can live.”

  9. Brian Paul Louis says:

    Thank you. I just can’t imagine that anywhere in America, someone is putting this much careful thought into justifying a vote for Mr. Trump.

  10. Kellie says:

    I am truly impressed by your thoughtful rationale. I am voting for Hillary Clinton because of all of the reasons you have stated and so many more. I feel strongly that we need someone in office who has worked hard for the American public her entire career. She gets it! She, like every single other person in the world, is not perfect…and I’m not voting for her because she is “the lesser of two evils.” I am voting for her because she has the temperament, experience, grace, intelligence, kindness, and ability to lead our great nation…the GREATEST nation on Earth…to even brighter days and build upon the many wonderful accomplishments that President Obama has achieved during his eight years in office. I’m also excited about the fact that if she is elected, she will be our first woman president. What greater way to promote equality in the US and around the world than to elect a highly qualified woman to the highest office of the GREATEST nation on Earth??!! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

  11. Michele Hamilton says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful, reasoned, and brave response.

  12. Jeremy Potts says:

    Very well written, and I especially like how you invited others to disagree civilly. So often it seems that people just talk past each other around politics and can’t really hear.

  13. Karen McGuffin says:

    If I could find a pastor like you here locally..
    I’d be back in church each week. I’d be involved, l’d look for opportunities to serve within the church.
    Sadly, that’s not the case. However, I will keep looking…

    • Wow, thank you Michelle. That is very kind of you to say. I pray you will find a church home where you can be fed and involved. I don’t want to turn this into a commercial but you can find churches in the ELCA – my denomination – in your area on the elca.org website (there’s a link at the top that says “Find a congregation.”) Blessings on your search!

  14. Amy says:

    I don’t necessarily identify as Christian. I was raised so and believe in Jesus’ teaching but have struggled in adulthood to get past many of the harsh viewpoints of many who cloak themselves in Christianity to hold what I would call decidedly “un-Christ-like” attitudes. So, this is lovely to a not-quite-atheistic questioner. Thanks for that.

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