As a Christian of strong faith, I am deeply troubled by the thought that “true Christians” must vote for George W. Bush. Bush is widely supported among Christians because of his openly-declared faith, but does that make him a better leader? Does that mean that I, as a Christian, need to vote for him? I am most certain that the answer is no.
The term Christian means one who is dedicated to being Christ-like. Conservative Christians assert that George Bush is the right man in the White House because his faith suggests that his leadership would reflect Christian ideals. However, if we examine Bush’s presidency against the model of Christ, there is little reflection of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. On July 20, 2004, George Bush did say that he wants to be a “Peace President,” but those are just words, and words without action do not represent truth. Jesus was very clear that His followers should care for the poor and least of the world. It is a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible. I ask you, what has been done for the poor in the United States? What has been done for the poor in the world? Sending American jobs overseas and attacking a country in the name of freedom hardly constitutes generosity.
War is common in the Bible –- it must be okay. But many voices in the Old and New Testament call for justice and non-violence. In Exodus, God takes on the cause of the oppressed (not the powerful). In Amos, the prophet rejects the economic violence of the rich against the poor. Let’s check in again on what Jesus has to say about violence: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:38-39, NIV). Some Christians validate war by saying that God does not apply the same rules to government as to individuals. They point to Romans 13 that says everyone should obey the government. Let us not forget that Paul, the author of Romans, was writing during the reign of the hostile Roman Empire. If he had spoken against the government, his life and ministry would likely have ended. George Bush would like Americans to trust him in the same way that Paul suggested we trust rulers, but we don’t live in the same world as Paul. We are empowered to determine our leaders, and God would certainly want us to use that power to put in place an honest and just President.
Therefore we must ask, “Has George W. Bush been honest and just?” In the third debate, Bush discussed his prayer habits, suggesting that he seeks the guidance of God. Now either God has become deceitful, or George Bush has an agenda separate from God. If God were to advocate war, God would certainly come up with a better way to get into war than by using false intelligence. You cannot follow current events and believe that George Bush has been straightforward and honest with the American people or with the world. As to whether or not Bush has been just, ask the families of Iraqis who have died without ever wishing ill-intent upon the United States. If George Bush is supposed to be a model Christian leader, why have Iraqi prisoners been abused under his watch? Would a just President really violate the Geneva Conventions?
These are all important questions and issues to consider when you support Bush on the basis of his faith. While George Bush may stand for a few Christian ideals, he certainly does not uphold some of the most fundamental. He has not shown that he can be compassionate towards even the lowest of society (remember that Jesus ate with the sinners, not the rich). He has not reached out his hand to care for the poor. He has failed to be a model of Christ in a world that could certainly benefit from genuine Christian love. If you think a vote for Bush is a vote for God, I suggest you check out the teachings of Jesus and compare them to Bush’s presidency. Four more years of Bush could very easily take us even farther away from Jesus’ teaching.
Christians, you do not have to vote for George Bush. It is okay to check John Kerry’s name on November 2!