concerning Dr. Bouteneff's article on how the Orthodox should vote, I've entered a discussion already in progress. Besides the Touchstone blog comments that I listed in that original posts, I later found a debate going on on here
, and Matt also posted this reply
If you are an Orthodox believer who leans Democrat or a "reluctant Republican" (as Dr. Bouteneff and Ann said they were), bear with me. I know these political discussions seem to take us out of the hard-won peace that we share in the One True Church and deposit us into the loud squabble that we want nothing to do with. But as I said earlier, this seems worth more consideration.
Here are some questions that I raise:
1 - Which party does the most to promote and protect religion? Not just Christianity, but all religion?
2 - Think of the groups and organizations which have systematically (not accidentally) done most to undermine Christian beliefs in this country. Is it Planned Parenthood? ACLU? The Hollywood elite? Gay rights activists? Whoever it is, which party do you think they're affiliated with? (If you don't like my list, come up with your own. I'm pretty certain the answer will be the same.)
3 - If you don't feel that Christians are embattled at present, consider the advancing trends in cloning, euthanasia and stem cell research -- which candidate would you expect to take real action against these threats to life as God intended it?
4 - If you think that abortion and capital punishment cancel each other out, as Dr. Bouteneff suggests, which one is clearly opposed by the Orthodox Church? And which has taken the most lives and left the most impression on American culture in the past 20 years?
5 - If you also believe that the Democrats' wealth redistribution, repudiation of capitalism and embrace of social programs demonstrate the more Christian approach to the poor, consider who is more able to give fairly and charitably to the poor -- faith-based organizations and churches or the enormous bureaucracy of a national government? To quote Matt
In an imitation of love, socialism replaces private charity. It permits the rich man to say, "I don't have to help the beggar, the state will take care of him." In fostering this attitude, socialism not only hurts the poor, but it hurts the rich. It makes the rich man think he is not personally responsible for the welfare of the poor. But the rich man's salvation depends on how he responds to the beggar. On the Last Day he will wish he had emptied his pockets for the homeless and hungry instead of thinking the state would take care of them.
6 - The Democrats adherance to environmental issues seems laudable, but since that is virtually never linked to a Christian view of man as God's steward of creation, is it too surprising that this sort of man-made version tends to lead to the extremism of animal-rights groups like PETA?
7 - Lastly, let's consider the most difficult question of all: the invasion of Iraq. If you think that we shouldn't be there, is it because we weren't attacked first? If so, remember 9/11. Though Osama bin Laden orchestrated that, Middle Eastern instability and anti-Americanism had been growing more and more vitriolic, and attacks more frequent and well-executed throughout Clinton's presidency, though we never returned fire. Is it likely that it was all the work of one person, and is it likely that it would have gone away on its own? President Bush has carried the battle off our homeland and into the Middle East and has been deemed foolish for doing so. But given what we saw on Sept. 11th, what were our options? More to the point, what are they now? We can wish desperately that war had never happened, but which will bring more lasting peace to America, Iraq and the world -- immediate withdrawal or a free and democratic Iraq? And if it's the latter, and if the democracy in Iraq seems to be struggling now, which candidate do you believe is better able to bring it and us through the next four years?
Those are the questions I think to ask. I really hope that they don't seem merely argumentative.