This is a response my husband wrote to the piece attributed to Huntley Brown.
Thanks for forwarding me Mr. Huntley Brown's thoughtful piece. I respect his call to Christians to view the presidential voting decision as Christians rather than based upon the color of one's skin. For Christians, such an approach would also demand us to ignore the "talking points" and "scare tactics" that the political parties and campaigns may employ from time to time.
Christians Supporting Obama
In fact, many Christians like myself are taking the same approach suggested by Mr. Brown and voting for Senator Obama. Here are some links that explain why this is the case better than I can address with my writing:
YouTube - Matthew 25 - Source of Hope - radio ad
Matthew 25 Network
Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need | Barack on Faith
In short, there are many issues that Christians need to be concerned about, including poverty, peace, housing, jobs and health care. He spoke of this in his highly regarded speech to the Call to Renewal Conference. Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need | Faith
As a delegate for Senator Obama to the Democratic National Convention, I attended the "Faith Caucus" in which Christian and Jewish clergy discussed these issues. This discussion was led by a Pentecostal preacher who was a member of the Obama campaign team. All of these people of faith were supporting Senator Obama, not because of the color of his skin, but because of the content of his character and his plans to address these many issues.
Partial Birth Abortion
Mr. Brown is not speaking the truth concerning Senator Obama's position. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is misinformed. Senator Obama has stated publicly on more than one occasion that he will sign into law a ban on partial birth abortions. So Mr. Brown's graphic description of the procedure and statements to the contrary come across as uninformed scare tactics. The real debate is over the "health of the mother" exception which Senator Obama supports and his opponent does not.
Pro-Life for Obama
Since Senator Obama is "pro-choice", he will never be able to completely satisfy "pro life" voters who may choose to vote based upon this single issue.
However, there are "pro-life" Christians that are supporting Obama. ProLife - ProObama
This is based upon his commendable efforts to find common ground on this issue to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. It is also based upon the recognition that a new approach is needed to break the current political deadlock on this important issue. Calling people "baby killers", as I have heard in a local church, does nothing to reduce abortions.
Senator Obama has broken with Democratic presidential candidates of the past by arguing that "no one is in favor of abortion", sponsoring the Prevention First Act, and including unwanted pregnancy reduction in the Democratic Party Platform. Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need | Women for Obama Issues
Thus, Obama is a candidate who seeks to reduce unintended pregnancies in the US which hopefully will reduce abortions in a meaningful way. This is an area that the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" groups can work together on. Frankly, this approach and facilitating adoptions may be more effective as a practical matter than a reversal of Roe v. Wade. Abortions did occur in the U.S. prior to that 1973 decision, but we can help women avoid them in other ways irrespective of the fate of that case.
War & Peace
For me personally, there are no greater issues where even our "Christian" politicians fail us than issues of war and peace. Although our brave soldiers should be commended for their service, our national leaders who pushed for the invasion that started the Iraq War should be ashamed. It was sold to the American people based upon deception that was rebutted by the CIA's own National Intelligence Estimate.
While some Christians put aside their Christianity when it comes to war, its effects are too devastating to be ignored. In Iraq alone, thousands of innocent men, women and children have lost their lives or loved ones. Millions of Iraqis have been turned into homeless refugees or been forced to leave their country. Refugees International: The Iraqi Displacement Crisis
While his opponent has not articulated an "exit strategy", Senator Obama has a plan for bringing our occupation of Iraq to a responsible end. Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need | Iraq
This concept of a phased withdrawal has been embraced both by the Iraqi government and even recently by the Bush Administration. IRAQ: Latest draft of the U.S.-Iraq security agreement | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times
Senator Obama showed unique judgment and courage in speaking out against the war before it started. Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need
That tells me that he has the critical judgment and wisdom necessary to avoid unnecessary wars and its devastating consequences.
I frankly find the "liberal" and "conservative" labels to be unhelpful. Is it "conservative" to support continued spending $10 billion per month in Iraq?
Is it "liberal" for Senator Obama to oppose gay marriage based upon his Christian beliefs?
Is it "liberal" for Senator Obama to support the expansion of President Bush's "faith based initiatives"?
Those are in fact his positions. Yet Mr. Brown didn't mention them in his letter, even though they are unpopular with so called "liberals".
Rev. Wright & His Former Church
This part of the letter appears to pre-date Senator Obama leaving his former church and rebuking his controversial former pastor. While Mr. Brown argues against Senator Obama's character based upon some of the outlandish and divisive comments of Rev. Wright, he sidesteps the real test of Obama's character. Did the well publicized isolated sermons of Rev. Wright turn Barack Obama into a hate-filled, angry or racist man?
There is no evidence whatsoever of this misguided "guilt by association" attack. In fact, Senator Obama is well-known by observers of politics for his approach of bringing diverse people together for the common good, to focus on issues, not personal attacks, and to "disagree, without being disagreeable". Notably, he has run his campaign for President as an American for all Americans, not for any one select racial group.
For those who have not been following Senator Obama's campaign closely, these aspects of his character and candidacy may have been ignored. But he made them clear in Philadelphia when he addressed the Rev. Wright controversy. Obama Race Speech: Read The Full Text
Subsequently, in announcing that he was leaving his former Church, he reiterated the obvious. That the divisive comments of Rev. Wright were diametrically opposed to everything he stood for. Had Mr. Brown read Obama's best-selling book from several years prior "The Audacity of Hope", this would have been clear to him too.
Fortunately, Rev. Wright is not the candidate for President. The candidate is Barack Obama and his proposals in no way reflect the divisive comments of his former pastor. Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need | Policy Issues
Finally, I must object to Mr. Brown's argument that only one of the Presidential candidates has the "value system" that can be supported by Christians and, by implication, supported by God.
We live in an imperfect world. Much like ourselves, both of these candidates have their own transgressions and short comings. To the extent we view value systems based upon life experience, both of these men have fallen short in their own ways. That is no surprise.
To the extent this is viewed through their proposals, they are both a mixed bag. Both of them have some worthy policy proposals. Both have plans that Christians can admire. And both have plans that Christians can criticize.
Some Christian voters will be more passionate about feeding the hungry, providing help to the homeless, or helping those without health insurance. Others will be more passionate about war and peace, caring for the downtrodden, even those in other countries. Others will be passionate about protecting the unborn or advancing the sanctity of life.
We can all find ways of speaking out on those issues that are most important to us as Christians, including voting for our presidential candidate of choice. But to suggest that one candidate is necessarily the only "Christian" choice is very misleading.
No matter who we vote for or who wins the election, let's come together and remember that we are one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.