An interesting debate is emerging for the Christians and really any American, who want to be involved in the political process for the 2012 elections. Are economic issues the driving force or should moral & ethical issues be the focus. A recent editorial piece by Scott Baker of the Blaze “Growing Evangelical Clout Shapes Political Debate With 2012 Looming” raises this question, but is this really a choice?

When I read this piece a couple thoughts crossed my mind: Is one more important than the other? Can they actually be separated? As Christians, should we advocate on moral issues? After all we are not trying to convert anyone to Christianity through politics, nor are we trying to set up a theocracy or establish a Christian nation.

I know many Christians are turned off by the political process and some might become too involved in the political process, but in our role as citizens of a republic if we make no choice we are making a choice, so it is incumbent upon us to be wisely engaged. How do we do that?

When I hear the debate about economics vs. social issues, I always think of the verse from Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity”. It is interesting to me that life and prosperity are linked and death and adversity are linked. God gave the Israelites a choice. If they chose life (vs 19) they would live and prosperity would be part of that choice. Is God is promising or at least indicating that prosperity will follow a national choice for life and that adversity or destruction will follow a choice for death?

I have always thought that the most important issue facing any nation or any government was the issue of life. To the extent that a nation values the life of each individual citizen, to that extent they will be blessed. If a nation is not willing to protect the lives if it’s citizens it forfeits legitimacy and destroys its most valuable resource. We intrinsically understand this to be true when we call for the ouster of dictators such as Sadaam Hussein, Idi Amin or more recently, Moammar Gadhafi. These were/are men who abused their authority as rulers because of their abuse of their citizens. In the U.S. we say that our President governs with the consent of the governed, and on a basic level that is true of any government or at the very least by not killing its citizens. That is a chilling thought in light of the 50M plus children killed in utero since 1973?

As Christians we know the value of life, we know that each of us were knit together in our mothers womb and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that we are His workmanship, created for good works that we should complete them for Him. The non-believer may not know that and may not even care, but the truth is true not just for Christians. If we want to seek the welfare of our nation, we will advocate strongly for life. If we as a nation choose life, prosperity is likely to follow. The reverse is not a guarantee.  

So I think I have the answer to my first question. Life & the moral issues are more important than the other in God’s economy. The choice of life precedes the prosperity that follows. We should push for and endorse and advocate the moral issues first and foremost, while at the same time being careful to not push for or endorse or advocate for Christianity. Our advocacy on moral issues (life, marriage, promiscuity, etc.) must be on the basis of natural law. We do not want a theocracy as that is unhealthy for the church as well as the society but the discussion of natural law and the dangers of a theocracy will have to wait for another day.

It is interesting that prosperity is linked to the choice for life. They can be separated but they are also closely tied together. Even though there is this close relationship there is definitely a primacy with life. Prosperity surely follows the choice of life, but life does not follow if we pursue prosperity because the scripture is equally clear that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. For those friends of ours who think economics is the primary issue, we can appeal to this by pointing out the economic benefits that ensue from correct moral choices and national policies.

Back to Scott Bakers piece then it would then be inappropriate to focus on fiscal issues in the 2012 elections and to put the moral and ethical issues on the back burner, as some (Mitch Daniels/Haley Barbour) would like to do. The issues of life and prosperity are linked, but prosperity follows life and does not lead. For more than one reason, it is important for us to never cede this ground.

First and foremost, as Christians we do not cede this ground because we want to obey God and please Him and every human is an invaluable treasure, given by God to this nation for the welfare and blessing of the nation. He is the one who told us to choose life.

While that is the highest reason for protecting life, as representatives of Christ in this world we want to seek the welfare of the community that we are a part of. The best way to seek the welfare of this nation is to advocate, agitate and argue for a strong life ethic. We want the nation to experience the blessing that each unique individual is and what they have to offer to the society as a whole and so we emphasize the importance of life for the welfare of the nation. Prosperity follows the choice for life.

How do we choose life? Eliminating capital punishment? Eliminating war? Eliminating poverty? Eliminating discrimination? Eliminating homophobia? Sometimes we complicate the issue by bringing in separate and unrelated issues, but for anyone serious about the issue of life, we need to think about who is currently killed in this nation with virtually no protection from the law. Those would be the most innocent victims. We will need to start there if we are going to begin to stand for life. The unborn are increasingly vulnerable and we need to do all we can to change that. As Christians we should be the conscience of the nation and we should press for leaders that will honor and respect and protect life. Who will de-fund Planned Parenthood. Don’t sit on the sidelines and don’t put these issues on the back burner for the “more pressing economic issues”. Life trumps all.