Thursday, January 31, 2008

Becoming More Moderate

My friend Rick posted an interesting bit about his thoughts on the current presidential race. Unlike Rick, I've always fancied myself a Republican, forged from the political fires of the Ronald Regan years and the early Rush Limbaugh. Republican leaders were who I most closely identified with and tended to vote for when I voted (I vote in every election now).

But like Rick, I find that my views are becoming decidedly more moderate. I'd like to think this comes from age/wisdom. I think it all began with a discussion with a coworker on capital punishment, something that, until then, I had been a firm believer in. He got me thinking about it quite a bit and I eventually changed my stance, though not for his reasons. As a Christian, I suddenly realized that putting someone to death for some heinous crime eliminates any possibility, no matter how remote, that the person would hear the gospel and receive Christ as his/her Lord and Savior.

It's not just capital punishment. I find my stance on many things changing. I do think government has a role in the lives of the people it governs--to provide them every opportunity to live the "American Dream" and of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Stepping in to help after a devastating hurricane, unemployment insurance (for a reasonable amount of time), and providing for the common defense.

I'm at the point now where I prefer not to label myself "Republican" or "Democrat." I'll cast my vote for who more closely shares my same views of government. There are no perfect candidates--frankly, I would be very nervous if one came forward who was perfect. So George, you might not smile as big as you did from Rick's post, but know that I am at least considering casting a vote the Democrat's way. Fair enough?


Martha said...

Great post Steve. I totally agree with your comments on Capital Punishment and Gov't assistance. My thoughts on the Death Penalty have focused more on the innocent people we are seeing now who are being set free who have been on Death Row. The type of defense people have is pretty much tied to how much $$ they have and I don't feel that is right.

And while I am not a big welfare/govt handout fan, there are people who do truly need assistance and who don't take advantage of it. Those are the kinds of people I don't mind tax $$ being spent to help. I'd also much rather spend more $$ on education and early childhood intervention/care than on welfare and jail.

Rick said...

Martha's just loopy, but we all knew that. :) - for me, I had also been staunchly conserv-repub. But a few years ago, heading into my spiritual/relational/political transition, I found myself taking the signs out of my yard because they were divisive, and changing my language so I wouldn't be as dogmatic on the dogma of all this. I don't know if it's a "good" place to be or not, but it's the place I find myself in these days. As long as folks are thinking and processing, I'm good with that.

Alan said...

As for me, Steve, some child rapist and murderer like John Couey, can come to Christ in the 7 to 12 years he sits on death row. That should be plenty of time to make the commitment, as far as I am concerned. Great comments.

James said...

Out here in the Pacific Northwest we call welfare "wages." We take the effort and spend the money to rehabilitate sex offenders by putting them in halfway houses next to schools, to get them acclaimated back into society. And we have a congressman who misses the good ol' "Sadaam days." People here are far too conservative!

George said...

I AM smiling, Steve. Not because anyone is switching sides or moving to the middle, but because the notion that "Republican = Christian and Democrat = unChristian" is obviously becoming a thing of the past. Not that you guys/gals ever thought that way, but it seems to have been an undebated belief in the South and in our churches until recently. I'm very happy to see my Christian friends publicly promoting the notion that Being a Christian and supporting a certain political party are not synonymous. That's always been my point. If there was a candidate or party who appeared to have all the right religious answers, I'd actually be much more wary.

Martha said...

Well said George. I've actually had people tell me that they thought all Dems were going to hell - and that they heard that at their church. I don't know what was worse, that someone at their church said that or that they were stupid enough to buy into it.