Christian, Right or Wrong

Addressed to Christians:

There has been a disconcerting outpouring of negativity in response to the election of Barack Obama, and while I expected a certain amount of it, the vehemence of the tone was a surprise. I can understand being dismayed at his economic policies (though I personally agree with them to a greater degree than I did with McCain’s), or feeling he is inexperienced, but that doesn’t excuse the behaviour I have witnessed in the last 24 hours.

Barack Obama, regardless of whether you voted for him or not, regardless of whether you like him or not, is our brother in Christ. He claims to be Christian, and the only one who could possibly know otherwise would be God. Yet I have seen brothers and sisters calling for his death, decrying his existence, and mourning the next four years as if the world was coming to an end.

It shames and appalls me, that Christians would call for the death of a fellow Christian simply because they disagree with his political stance. The justification offered, however, is that they simply don’t believe he is Christian.

One might ask, “How have they reached this conclusion?” Obama himself claims to be Christian, we can’t see into his heart and know the truth one way or the other, and so we must take him at his word. But that line of argument is, to be honest, completely beside the point.

He is a fellow human, the president-elect of the United States, and we have been called to love others as Christ loves us. I am by no means a pacifist, and if we must defend ourselves, I support military or physically violent actions to do so, but Barack Obama isn’t attacking anyone, not physically anyways. He isn’t threatening to kill the citizens of the United States of America. He hasn’t set himself against the Church. So what is the justification for threatening and belittling him?

Insufficient. It doesn’t matter what the excuse is, the behaviour is simply wrong. Barack Obama is my brother in Christ, and I will treat him with the same love and respect I do all of my brothers and sisters. I don’t necessarily like everyone in my family, but they’re still my family, and our president is no different. I didn’t particulalry like President George W. Bush, and I made my fair share of jokes at his expense, but I also prayed for his health and wisdom. I recognized that he was a decent person trying to do the best he could, and that his motivation was to help this country. Regardless that the best he could was pretty poor, he wasn’t malicious. He is my brother.

Barack Obama is part of our Christian family. It’s time for some members of the Church to wake up and remember what it’s like to serve Jesus, who loves even the least of us.

Victory

For the first time in a long time, a candidate I supported has won. To be honest, though, I would have been pretty happy with either candidate, and I was pleased to see some of the 2000 era John McCain in his concession speech tonight. I am hopeful for a bright future in this country, I anticipate an increase in multilateralism and improvements in international relations, and I’m excited to look forward to what we might expect.

I’m proud to have voted for Obama today, but I’m even more proud that I voted and that voter turnout was so high. I don’t care who you voted for, I’m just proud that you voted. Thank you for exercising your responsibility as a citizen of the United States of America, and for contributing to our democracy.

It’s time for bed, but I have a feeling I’m going to have trouble getting to sleep tonight. What a monumental, historic, and exciting occasion 😀

Exit polls are funny

We’re watching CNN at FnC while Brian talks (he was willing to have it running silently in the background so people would come instead of staying home), and it’s been really funny to see the results popping up.

Iowa has been projected for Obama with 0% of precincts reporting. It’s absurd. But to help balance that, Utah has been called for McCain… also with 0% of precincts reporting.

Even better are places like New Mexico, which has been declared for Obama despite the fact that only 6% of precints have reported in and McCain is currently beating Obama by 2 to 1.

We know how horribly inaccurate exit polls are, so why do they keep reporting on them?

It’s a “Jump” to Conclusions Mat!

I just read this comment on a blog talking about how Obama is smearing McCain on his stance towards immigration. The article is irrelevant, but the comment annoys me:

Posted by llz 07:01 AM, 09/28/2008
great job kevin your article is (w)right on the money. when liberals post angry comments you know someone is writing the truth.

No. All you know from “liberals posting angry comments” is that people (whom you think are liberals) are posting angry comments.

It doesn’t mean the article is true, it just means he made people angry, either because they disagree with his opinion or because he was lying. It doesn’t really matter which, I just find myself annoyed when a conclusion doesn’t follow from the evidence or statement.

I’m sure there’s some Latin term for that, but I don’t feel like looking it up. I think I’ll just call it “ignorant.”

Evolving Standards of Decency

Crossposted from the FnCCollege Blog

New Jersey passed a law today banning the death penalty and, at the same time, commuting the sentence of 8 individuals on death row (who will now serve life sentences in prison), including Jesse Timmendequas. His name might be unfamiliar to you, but you may have heard of Megan’s Law, inspired by Timmendequas’s rape, beating, and murder of seven year old Megan Kanka in New Jersey.

I’ve written and talked about capital punishment in a variety of settings, and usually the conclusion is this: we are in favour of the death penalty in response to certain crimes or in certain circumstances, but we feel that the current justice system and/or society is flawed and therefore is incapable of applying the death penalty honourably, equitably, and justly. The argument that it is better to have 100 guilty men escape than to sentence 1 innocent man to death is a powerful one. However, Jon Corzine, the governor of New Jersey, does not exactly make this argument (though he references it elsewhere in his comments). Instead, he states that we must ban execution because it is “inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.”

I don’t even know what that means. I have no idea what to do with the statement. Especially coming from a state like New Jersey, so renowned for its political corruption… but even setting that aside, I don’t know what he means by “evolving standards of decency.” What is it that has changed recently that would demand the end of the death penalty? What standard do we have now that we did not before? Personally, I feel that the death penalty, though it fails completely as a deterrent, is extremely effective at preventing an individual from committing crimes that they have proven they will repeat yet again, as was the case with Jesse Timmendequas who had twice been convicted of sex crimes — on 5- and 7-year-olds — before he murdered Megan. Govenor Corzine feels that the death penalty is not an appropriate moral or practical response to crime, even the crime of murder, and I’m OK with him having that opinion. I just don’t understand his reasoning.

I don’t have a conclusion to this issue, but I want to present it for thought. My mind is going to continue turning this phrase over and over, that execution is “inconsistent with evolving standards of decency,” and try to 1) figure out exactly what he means and 2) decide if I agree or not.