Why I'm a "values voter" and went for Kerry.
• I got the 8 in 10 stat here, but Christianity Today has a much better breakdown of the "values voters" numbers here. (Also see Slate on why James Dobson must choose either church or state.)
• At the risk of making it look like I'm tooting my own horn (my wife will tell you I do enough of that after we eat at Chipotle), I wanted to pass along some of the e-mail responses I got as a way of exhorting fellow left-leaning Christians to keep the faith. I was stunned that of the over 40 e-mails I received, all but a half-dozen were positive (My favorite negative one was this: "I guess at our local paper in metro Detroit, we ran out of liberals to write columns so we are starting to recruit them from neighboring communities.")
Here are a few fellow bleeding hearts:
- I would like to tell you how heartening it is to know that there are Christians out there who think the same way as my family. After the elections, I did not want to go back to our church and be associated with people who limited their Christianity to 2 issues. It seems the whole country is full of them. I know God is sovereign and in control but I am struggling with the fact that an incompetent person is once again at the helm. ... Let's not stop praying for our country.
- Thank you for putting so simply ... what I have been feeling these many long months about the "Christian values" issue. Somehow it's all gotten twisted around. ... I am passing your article along to others who share my feelings. Regards, Another "2 in 10er"
- I myself am a Christian - attend church every Sunday and Wednesday and actively involved in other church activities- that voted for Kerry. I even felt like the black sheep among my fellow Christians, and questioned myself and prayed on this issue. To me the two big issues that swayed Christians are small issues and are being approached in the wrong way. ... I want to thank you for making me feel that as a Christian, that I did not neccesarly vote wrong when I voted for Kerry.
• Some of the negative responses I received said there was a contradiction between my points that values always affect voting but that church and state should be kept separate. I should have clarified that. The difference is this: the institutions of the church and the government should be kept apart (so James Dobson should not seek to be a power-broker in the Republican Party, as he is, and President Bush shouldn't be a figurehead for certain religious groups, as he seems to be). The church must speak truth to power without becoming part of that power. But individual citizens couldn't separate their values (whatever they are) from their voting if they tried.
• I was a little reluctant to publish this op-ed, since some consider it bad form for a journalist to disclose her voting preference (others appreciate it; but since a sizeable majority of those in mainstream media vote Democratic, there isn't much suspense to begin with). If I were a news reporter instead of a features writer, I might not have done it.
My reluctance came from the likelihood that some readers will now dismiss everything I write about anything, since they have successfuly identified me as a member of a vast left-wing conspiracy, an evil empire whose corruption of my cerebral capabilities is so complete that I am unable to put together a single sentence without submitting to it and extending its nefarious influence.
Meanwhile, those who agree with me may presume that I bat for their team and have abandoned any effort to locate wisdom among people with different views. They, too, are wrong.
If you think that either of the above is true, I despair of persuading you that my articles about language and other topics should be read in their own context and on their own merits, rather than as undercover dissemination of an agenda that will either degrade or transfigure America. So I leave it up to you.